Memory is a tricky thing. Trying to remember something is often like transferring water from one bucket to the other using a sieve, and the older the memory, the longer the distance between buckets. When people see us with our little boy, they always say, “Treasure this time, because they grow up so fast.” There are already things about his short life I don’t remember and have to be reminded of: his first word (“kitty”), his first slice of pizza (an important event in our pizza-loving household), when he started to walk (ten months).
This post is intended to jog my memory of certain events so that they’re not lost forever. At the time they were funny or meaningful in some way. Days, weeks or months later, they will lose their luster, and soon I’ll forget them.
We were playing with Legos the other day. At his age, he has the larger Legos (Lego Duplo). His mother had built a little boat, and he was building a crane. I sat and watched: there are only so many Legos to go around, and it’s fascinating to watch the two people I love most in the world doing something creative.
Suddenly, he got a look of great concentration on his face.
I asked, “What’s wrong, kiddo?”
He turned to me, said urgently, “I have to make poopies!” and ran to the bathroom.
We laughed about that for the rest of the day.
This morning, as I was putting his bag by the garage door so we wouldn’t forget it when I took him to preschool, I heard him call out, “Daddy! What’s this?” I went over and saw him in the bedroom hallway, pointing to something at the threshold of his bedroom door.
It was a snake. A very small brown snake. It was something that should not have been there. Its very presence was not just unwelcome, but surreal. I’m not particularly afraid of snakes, but you don’t expect to see one indoors at 7:20 AM.
“Well,” I said, keeping my voice calm, “It’s a snake. That’s definitely a snake.”
“Why’s it there?”
“I don’t know, but it’s got to go.”
The snake was very much alive. Its tiny tongue flickered out, scenting. After a few minutes of follies with my wife trying to wrangle it into a plastic container with a sheet of printer paper, I picked it up with oven mitts and tossed it outside.
Nobody knows how it got in.
On his Leapfrog there’s a game/book thing called “First Day of Kindergarten.” It has songs and activities and such, and it describes the first day of kindergarten for four students. One of the students is a Latina girl named Pilar.
Several months ago, as a joke, I called him Pilar, and he said, immediately, “No me Pilar!”
So it became a game, of sorts, where during a conversation I’d call him Pilar, and he would always come back with, “No me Pilar!” Always. Even if I said, “Oh, sorry, Pilar,” he’d retort with “No me Pilar!” Same tone of voice, same response. Every time.
Yesterday, I called him Pilar, and he said, “I’m not Pilar.” It was kind of sad. I couldn’t get him to say, “No me Pilar.” He knows how to say it properly now. That’s over.
However, he still says, “yogret” instead of “yogurt.” So there’s that.
There’s nobody he won’t say hi to. His mother and I are introverts. Polite, courteous, but we keep our cards close to the vest. He’s the opposite. He needs attention, especially from strangers.
When we were at the beach, there was a young woman walking along, reading aloud from a book that wasn’t the Bible. She seemed very intent on what she was doing. It’s a little strange to see someone reading aloud in public. If she’s carrying a Bible, you automatically assume she’s in some form of prayer. If she’s carrying Divergent, well, it’s odd.
For reasons of his own, he got up from the mud castle we were building in the wet sand, ran alongside her, and said hi until she noticed him. She took her face out of the book, smiled genuinely at him, and said hi back.
In that moment, she went from being a little off, a little disconcerting, to beautiful. Then he came back, we waved to her, and she continued her walk.