Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I Lost My Heart

"Mama, Mama! Dey tooked my heart and hid it!"
It's midnight and Toddler ("Toddler" at the time--it was the night before his birthday) had finally seemed to fall asleep just 45 minutes earlier.
"Your heart?!"  Where did he learn about literal hearts? I wondered.

Toddler began to wail, "I can't find it Mama!  My heart is gone.  Dey tooked it out of my stomach and ran away wif it!"
For a moment, I tried to figure out where he had seen anything like this, or what could have inspired it, but soon I just picked him up and cuddled him in his bed.  "No, darling, your heart is right here," pulling his own little hand to his chest, "can you feel it?"
"What.  Is Dat?"  He asks with his funny pauses.
"It's your heart!  It's going ba-bump ba-bump ba-bump"
"Can I see my heart?  Can I look at it?"
"We can't see it, it's underneath your skin.  But we can feel it."
"Can I take off da skin and look at it?"
"No honey, we can leave it as it is, it will be fine."
"Can I hold my heart?  I want to hold it!"
"No, honey, it stays inside your chest."
A long pause.
"Dey tooked my heart, Mama.  Out of my chest."
"Oh sweetheart, your heart is right here, you can feel it, remember?"
"I need to hold my heart, Mama.  So it can be safe."
"Your chest will hold it and keep it safe, Honey."
And we fell asleep with my hand on his, and his hand on his heart, both our hands listening for the reassuring ba-bump ba bump.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Thrice 'Round the Sun Have Sailed We Three

I had a handful of sand, an entire beach of it, really, three full years straining slowly, endlessly, beautifully through my fingers.  All I can ever seem to hold on to are a few precious grains that stick.

Cuddling Toddler on the couch.  He has fetched all the pillows in the house he could find and put them on the couch to make a nest that has just enough room for the two of us.  The TV (formerly showing the train simulation of the Keikyu line) is now off and the silence is warm. The sun is an indirect glow and there's little for the senses to note but the brightness of our smiles lighting, the sound of pillows rustling, and a strong smell of feathers.  Feathers are everywhere from wrestling the pillows.  The moment is a bird.

"He was a little clingy today. I had a bit of trouble getting things done towards the end of the morning" said  Toddler's morning with him at work (We are blessed to be able keep him with us now and then while working when we've no days off for a while, if there are no meetings!!).  "I'm a little cleany, but a little dirty, too!" Pipes up Toddler, "I gots some dirts on me." He explains emphatically, almost defensively, as though being too clean would be bad of him.  It makes me wonder if he's noticed how much we love when he comes in the house after playing outside, covered in dirt and leaves with his pale skin turned dark brown with the sleepy earth where he's built at least 100 roads and told even more stories.  A thousand curly-blonde images float by and are gone before my mind's eye can even gasp "Oh, so darling!"

"DMP THUMP" is the sound of Toddler falling off the tall back of the couch onto the wood floor.  He lands on his feet and peeks over the couch, wondering if I'll scold him until I ask him in a calm voice (not wanting him to burst into tears) "Are you ok?"
"Yes!"  His blue eyes spark again and his smile lights and again he's off running.

Toddler had his third birthday last week.  When we finally got to wake him with a jubilant, "Happy Birthday!" He quickly sat up, opened his eyes wide and asked "Cake?  Can I have cake?" For breakfast, lunch and dinner he asked for cake.  We had ice cream cake that afternoon.  His favorite part was blowing out candles, which he did by going "FFFFFFFFFFFF" as strongly as he could, it was adorably unsuccessful.  Before he could pass out with the effort, two of his little friends he calls his "sisters" timed it right and helped blow out the candles.  For dinner,  some dear friends made cupcakes for him.  Cupcakes were quite exciting for Toddler. That night each of his toy trucks, big and small, yelled and squealed, "Cupcakes, cupcakes!" in a variety of high and low voices (all dubbed by Toddler of course) as, one at a time, Toddler helped them cross the room to the place where they apparently were served cupcakes.  "ぱくぱく!CHOMP CHOMP!  MUNCH MUNCH!" The trucks said until finally they breathed, "Ahhh, schoo,  ahhh, schoo" making the gentle sound of many trucks and cars taking an after-cupcake nap.

Toddler is no longer a Toddler, "Oh, Toddler, you're such a big boy now!"  I exclaimed, squeezing him tight.
"No, Mama!" Toddler declares, "I'm your little boy."

I'm going to go build more sand castles with Little Boy.  They all get washed away so quickly, but some images remain and those are the treasures that stick.

*Memories: Your favorite movie is "Cars" or "A Town Called Panic" and for quite a while all you wanted to watch was "Pingu."  -- About every other day we dance, when we dance we spin and spin and spin.  Then you try to crash me and I spin out of the way.  Finally I get motion sickness and lay on the floor and turn on a movie for you so you won't jump on me.  -- You love sausages and curry rice and fish sticks and peanut butter and jelly and apples and carrots cut like flowers.  You've lived for several days on frozen blueberries and cups of milk alone -- Your favorite words are "Biff" and "POW!" and "CRASH" and "BREAK!"  -- You had curly curly hair that we cut this winter, it was more traumatic for me than for you -- You're more cuddly since you turned two, than when you were an infant.  -- You generally don't like me to play instruments, although you enjoy playing guitar and piano, and some violin. -- You love to play in water -- You pray with us every night the sweetest, most beautiful prayers, now and then you thoughtfully talk to Jesus on behalf of Totoro, Nekobus and Lightning McQueen -- You don't speak much Japanese, but you generally respond correctly in English when we ask you questions in Japanese -- Pool Memories: You liked to wink at the ladies doing water aerobics because they laughed so freely when you did, the floating barbells are wheels and you are always a car, every time we're leaving the pool you do a somersault just before the lobby -- Months before your birthday you began to daily ask, "Mama, Daddy, are we free yet?" We didn't understand until we realized you were asking if you were "three yet."  I'll never forget the look in your eyes the morning we finally got to wake you up with "Happy Birthday!"