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Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

Last week when Finn was over for the day, I snapped a few photos.  You know Finn: Miles’ mini soul mate and comrade-in-arms.   Every other Thursday, Alicia and I take turns taking both kids so that the other can go do all of the things it is undesirable or impossible to do with a 2-year-old hanging on. Uninterrupted vacuuming. Pleasure reading. Forming adult thoughts in complete sentences. 

This arrangement has worked well for us, although things can get a little wacky with two 2-year-olds.  Like the time Finn peed her pants and Miles, while I was cleaning her up, pooped all over himself and the head of my childhood stuffed bear, on which he was sitting.  Or the time one of them slammed a door on the other one’s body as part of a “game,” or the times when, instead of napping, they lay in adjoining rooms and sang the alphabet to one another for 40 minutes.  There’s Thursdays I spend the whole time saying, “We don’t strangle our friends,” and “Finn is playing with that.  Can you find something else to play with?”

But other times, much of the time, they are crushingly sweet and I think I just can’t stand how much they love one another.  It’s too much, the way Finn says “Miles!” incessantly in a tone of joyful astonishment, as though she had just discovered rainbows.  The way they initiate smiling contests during lunch and make a game of kicking one another’s feet under the table. 

Smiling contest.

   

"Miles!"

Looking at the photos of the kids painting last Thursday, I was struck with the stillness and beauty of the images.  It had been an especially busy morning, with play-doh, blocks, madcap chasing, cooking in the play kitchen, Miles bossing Finn relentlessly (“Finn don’t use that block!”), and then the two of them painting, crayoning, stickering. 

These photos lacked the tumult I remembered.  In each one I saw not our life but an image of life as we wish it were: gentle, lovely, orderly.  Sunlight flooded through tall windows.  The children dipped brushes into paint, perching on their grown-up chairs with no concern for the great distance to the floor.  Their beauty pained me.  In Finn’s dangling foot I saw the precariousness of our innocence, and in Miles’ kneeling form the resilience we bring into the unknown.  The moment seemed hushed, invented, idyllic; even the bowl of fruit on the table seemed as though it had auditioned for its role. 

Whoa, you’re saying, hold on! I’ve lost you, haven’t I?  You’re asking, where do I come up with this nonsense?  It’s a picture of two kids painting watercolors!  Get a grip! 

The truth is that I am sad.  The truth is I don’t want any more time to pass.  The truth is that this photo is life as I wish it were, because in this photo Miles and Finn are painting together forever.  But Finn and her moms are moving to Boston, and we will see them only one or two more times before they go.

There will be trips to Boston.  Miles and Finn will chase one another and shriek, and all the moms will drink coffee or beer and laugh and tell stories.  Friendship will change and continue, like us, finding new forms and expressions.  Siblings will be born, and we won’t believe how much love there is to go around, more and more and more. 

But just for now, let’s linger at the table.

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Peas in a pod.

On the way home from music class Friday morning, we stopped spontaneously at a large, lovely playground that we don’t get to very often.  It’s about a 15 minute walk from our apartment, so we usually go somewhere closer unless we are meeting someone.  Miles, thrilled with his good luck, clambered up a metal ladder (when did he start climbing ladders?!), chattering away in multi-word sentences (when did he start chattering?!).

At the top of the slide, he shouted joyfully, “Binn!”

Playgrounding in February.

“What Miles?”

“Finn!  Finn! Is she?  Where … is she? Where?”

I realized with shock that he was remembering the last time we’d played at that playground, almost a month earlier.  We’d played with his very best friend, Finn, and he expected her to be here today.  He scanned the playground eagerly from his perch.  Big kids shouting, tots racing through a water sprinkler, everywhere the hot sun.  No Finn.

Of course he expected to see her.  We see Finn at least once a week, and it had been much more than that since our last play date.  But Finn was on vacation with her moms.  “Sorry Miles,” I said.  “No Finn today.”  After a few seconds, he gave up, skidding forlornly down the slide.

Spring.

He’s been this way about Finn for quite some time.  Like the first time I mistakenly mentioned we were going to Finn’s house an hour before we were supposed to leave.  Miles marched to the door and began banging on it, chanting her name.  In case I wasn’t getting the point, he grabbed his shoes from the bin, thrust them into my hands, and entreated, “Go!” 

For several months, I was sure he thought Finn’s name was “More.” 

“Do you want to go see Finn?” I would ask.

“More, more, more,” Miles would chant, firmly signing “friend” with his hands. 

“Are you saying more friend?”

He’d look at me.  Concentrate. “More.” (Sign “friend.”) “Please.”

Got milk?

They met at two months old in a coffee shop.  A mutual friend connected Robin and me with Finn’s moms, Alicia and Melissa, because we were lesbian families who’d had babies within two weeks of each other.  At that point, Miles and Finn were bald and squirmy grubs, rooting for the breast.  They couldn’t have cared less about socializing.  Then they moved on to parallel play, eyeing one another with a mixture of curiosity and suspicion, until their first tortured attempts at sharing.  Now their friendship is a passionate and intense toddler love fest.  He mostly calls her “Binn,” and she mostly calls him “Biles.” They’re a funny pair, both blonde and blue-eyed, running around like a couple of Scandinavian elves out of a fairy tale.  They scream each other’s names. 

“Biles!  Biles!  Biles!”

“Binn! Binn!  Binn!”

“Biles!”

“Binn!”

They debate the finer points of Elmo and Ernie.  They hug, they read, they giggle, they grab, they cry, they push, they chase.  

So funny!

A few months ago, we asked Miles and Finn for the first time if they would like to kiss each other goodbye.   We were finishing up a play date, and they’d been milling about, grabbing toys off the ground, turning in circles, grabbing the dogs’ tails. 

Both stopped.  They looked at each other.  And then they bolted — not away but toward each other — collided belly to belly and nose to nose, and bounced back, stunned.  Contorting with suppressed laughter, we asked if they would like to try again.  Finn smiled.  Miles approached.  He tilted his head and teetered.  Finn grasped his arm and leaned and… contact! 

The smooch train.

With Finn and Alicia, we go to the playground, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, the amazing sandbox at Pier 6, the Transit Museum, the park.  Sometimes Robin and I babysit Finn, and other times Alicia and Melissa babysit Miles.  In the Fall, Miles and Finn will be together in a cooperative preschool, which means Alicia and I will be taking turns (with other parents) teaching and providing snacks. 

Best of all for me, as the kids’ friendship has developed — in between the breastfeeding, the diapers, and the snack times — Alicia and I have become great friends too.  We sneak in actual, adult conversations sometimes, conversations that help keep me sane and balanced.  On weekends sometimes we get together all six of us: four moms talking and two toddlers climbing and babbling.  In those moments, I realize just how eloquent our son really is.  More.  Friend. Please. 

I couldn’t have put it better myself.

Two little monkeys jumpin' on the bed.

Play date.

 

Push!

 

 

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