Friday, September 28, 2007

What a Difference a Developmental Stage Makes

I dropped Finn off for his first full day in Pre-K today. And I can tell you honestly, because I'm all about the honesty (except that post where I kind of made things up and that other one where I kind of fudged the truth and that other one where I did a rather thorough edit and rewrite after I published the post, but other than that, complete, utter, uncompromised honesty. You know, except when I don't. Do. That. So much.)

Where was I? Yes. I can honestly tell you, Whoa. That wasn't what I expected.

You remember that first day when we dropped Finn off at mother's day out--like, four years ago? And we went out to the car, and, you know, sat. For about two minutes. Belting out to ColdPlay's The Scientist. Before we went back in, picked him up, and said, "Maybe we'll try this again next week?"

Oddly, this was a little like that.

I expected to rejoice, because Pre-K is the beginning of a long educational internment, that just means more independence and theoretical free time for me. And more independence and opportunity to earn swing cred for Finn.

It's all good. It can be.

No, it should be.

Yes. Should be.

And when we entered his room today, it wasn't all abandonment and anxiety. At least not on his end. But what about me? What about my needs? I'm not ready to be a mother to a Pre-K-er. I mean, I've only been doing this toddler thing for two years. I was just getting the hang of it. I was just beginning to enjoy it.

So when I entered his room today, I expected--before the full-scale rejoicing--a little clinginess. A little reluctance. But instead I heard this:

"Finn, can you pull this sword from the stone?"
"Finn, do you mind wrangling these couple of snakes and saving the Pre-K classroom from the wrath of the gods?"
"Finn! You only have one sandal on. You can save us from the evil tyranny of Pelias!"
"Finn, can you wield your Jedi mind tricks and score us some more pancakes?"
"Finn, you're my hero!"

Okay, so that last bit was my attempt to get a little sugar before I left. Largely, largely ignored.

And then I was just an afterthought. A tangent. The mother of some lauded hero that is foresaken tothe lure of adventure.

So I shirked off, with a tablespoon of dignity, and headed to the car, where I, and yes I do think in these verbs, bemoaned the loss of my child's Oedipal complex.

And turned on the ColdPlay. You know, just to help the sadness stick.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I Wrote a Review. Yes, Another One.

Want to read it?

My editor--and I do drop this to toot my horn, I like self-tooting--thinks it's my best review to date. (And here comes the not-so-cloaked plea for compliments through the lost art of self-deprecation), I don't know that I agree . . . .

It's Good to Be Four. Well, Today.

Four is not always a fun place to be. It comes with stomping tantrums when it's denied a second bowl of ice cream. It cries and screams (SCREAMS!) when you're driving through rush hour traffic and won't turn around and hand it a Transformer. Right now. Right now. RIGHT NOW!!!

(Four lives most of his day with the caps lock on.)

But today, Four was good. Because Four is sweet. And Four is funny. Four likes to make jokes. Like this attempt at a knock-knock joke:

Four: I'm at the door and I want to you answer. Ding. Ding.
Me: Who's there?
Four: Crushed tomato in a mankie.
Me: Crushed tomato in a mankie who?
Four: Crushed tomato let me in it's cold out here. [Followed by sidesplitting guffaw.]

Or this:

Four: I've got something I want to whisper in your ear.
Me, offering ear: Okay . . .
Four, giggling: Wait, I've gotta tell you something.
Me: I'm ready.
Four, laughing hysterically: I've gotta tell you.
Me: And I'm eager to hear it.
Four, no longer able to contain himself: I gotta say . . .
Me: Yes?
Four, farting: I farted!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

It Has Been a Long Time, My People

I've been struggling with trying to find something to say. And it's not about being "worthy of blogging about"--because as you'll remember from past posts, I don't really discriminate. All topics are welcome. Even those there crappy ones.

I've just felt kind of empty of late. (Oh no, you say, here it comes. "What" that might be, you can't pinpoint, but your finger is on your mouse/trackball/trackpad and you are prepared to bounce if you need to.) No, not that kind of loss--well, yes that kind of loss, but that's another post. I've felt at a loss of words, in a quite literal way.

So what do you do? I have no idea. What I do is read. No words coming out? Got to get the words coming in. So I read the Red Tent. I read The Runaways. And I have actually started to make a dent in that large pile of New Yorkers whose collective weight threatens to break my coffee table. And I've kept my mouth shut, lest some of them good words find a way out.

(Oops. Well, at least the good ones are safe.)

Store. Horde. Peruse. Muse.

Like a literary squirrel.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Finn is not a teenage girl.

To some, this statement is more than obvious. (I can't help out you other folks who are staring at the scream, mouthing your astonishment.) He's a boy--that's proved time and again by his willful pursuit of danger and dirt and doodle bugs (which are really pill bugs, but I can't let 37 years of deception go). And his status at a mere four years clearly attests to his fouriness. So that's a near convincing evidence.

Where it gets confused in his keen fashion sense (Mama, that doesn't match!) and his budding love of hip kicks. (He picked out some camo flipflops that I think are downright compelling.)

Where the line absolutely doesn't blur (outside of gender and actual years accomplished, as if those weren't incontrovertible) is in his very much non-love of the phone. His not interested in talking to his gamma. He runs, screaming, into another room when I call. The enchantments of disembodied voices hold no sway with him. And where I can't say this is a disconnect for mama (former teenage girl) and her boy (I, too, am not a fan of the phone. Don't believe? Call me. Now. I won't answer), I can say it gets a little, well, hurty, when I'm out of town and call and can't get the kid to talk to me.

I have theories for this. And they all put me in a good light. (I have a thing, a conviction, really, about theories being actual egoboosters.)

But I do have to say, I miss my baby.


I've been spending the past week with my sisters, who I only get to see about once or twice a year. They choose to live in a traffic-heavy and humid-infected area and my poor, little Midwestern sensibilities just can't handle such drama and weather-induced plumpiness. And I do swear, because of the 120% humidity, I've swelled up to about two times my original size.

(And that has nothing at all to do with the cheese steak, refried beans, and pineapple upside cake I've been scarfing. Absolutely nothing. At all.)

But all that sitting and waiting in unreasonable and uncivilized heat does result in a certain scarcity of clothing--and revealing of skin.

Yesterday, I followed my scantily clad sister into our mom's house--unlike the rest of this town who insists on a 40 degree drop from outside to inside, my mother believes in temperate equilibrium. (Her house is damn hot.) My sister held open the door for me, her freckled arm extended behind in unconscious welcome, something I've discovered that Southerners do much better than Midwesterners, who are more likely than not to let the door slam your forehead. And I say that with the authority of experience, folks.

It's a gesture I've been on the back end for, it must be, thousands of times. You know, in the South. And the one simple movement of etiquette that I have missed the most since I moved away. Sure, it's an afterthought, it's not like someone actually standing back to let you through a door before them, but it's an awareness, an acknowledgment, I suppose, that you are there, that you are part of someone else's space, that you are for a brief moment a part of their life. And it matters. However briefly, however cursory. It's continuity, a line between you and someone else marked by their extended arm.

So there I am, reaching out to take the door that my sister is passing through, that she holds open for me to catch, and I see it. A constellation of freckles and moles on slightly browned skin. The skin of another arm that I would hold in my hand and memorize, trace, trying to capture the history of each imperfection, the mottling of each sun-kissed follicle, knowing that soon I would never be able to connect those dots. The skin of my father.

I remember, right after my father died, looking at myself in the mirror, trying to find his face, trying to find something in me that would remind me of him--a lilt of my right eyebrow, the brown of my eyes. I have his temperament, his impatient passion, but you can't find that in the mirror. And memories are just so stubbornly visual. When it comes down to it, I am my mother's child. I've got her family's red, straight hair, their fair skin.

But in that one moment, in that line between my sister's arm stretching back and mine stretching forward I saw, in both, the skin of my father. The freckles (one on white, one on wheat), the moles--and the history, if not always of place, that connects me to her.