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Posts Tagged ‘toddlers’

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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I hope this email finds you well.  I apologize most sincerely for my rudeness in not responding earlier; my mothers are quite adamant about restricting my use of the computer.  “Miles, don’t touch that!” they chide, thinking I simply want to press the buttons and make a disaster of their external hard drive.  How can they fail to understand that I need to keep up on my correspondence?  They ramble about “screen time” and how it is bad for my brain development, yet I think we both know that my brain is developing appropriately.  Perhaps if you, a physician, write to them and ask them to relent, they might reconsider their cruel rationing of the iPhone, the Internet, and Sesame Street. 

But on to other matters.  You asked about the new neighbor downstairs.  I have not yet had an opportunity to make her full acquaintance, but I confess to a deepening affection for her bicycle.  She parks her bicycle on the second-floor landing, and each time my mothers and I come and go I examine it with interest, naming its parts aloud. 

(I’m talking now, by the way.   Sometimes I speak in sentences, as tonight when I was holding my stuffed monkey up to see the moon outside my bedroom window.  “Monkey, see moon,” I instructed it.  But I digress.  My attention span has yet to mature.)

When I pass the pink and lavender bicycle — yes, I know my colors now too — I often say, “Handlebars!  Seat!  Pedals!”  In case my mothers should think I believe the bicycle is mine, I also clarify, “Heather’s bike.”  Sometimes, I admit, I get confused and knock on Heather’s door, asking for you and Min.

Although the bicycle is charming, I am more than ready for you to return.  Please move back in downstairs at once.  I understand that this will be detrimental to your career and that your family might object to your moving so far away from them.  Yet, as I am sure you know, 2-year-olds are famously egocentric.  Everything is about me, of course, and I prefer that you come back. 

If you must know my reasons, they are simple: you played with me so very well, you were kind to my mothers, you saved Luna’s life, and you always pretended not to be bothered by the sound of me throwing wooden toys on the floor at 6 a.m.   Additionally, any place without subways cannot be a good place.  As I have matured, my interest in transportation has grown exponentially (see above discussion of bicycle), and I shudder to think that anyone for whom I care would be deprived of decent public transit.

It sounds as though the short mother is almost done running my bath.  I must close this letter quickly before she realizes I am not in fact cooking imaginary omelets in my play kitchen.  I regret deceiving her, yet I could not allow another day to pass without my responding to your kind inquiries.  I look forward to seeing you and Min very soon as you move your things back in to the apartment.  Please hurry — my birthday is next week, and if you ask very politely my mothers will probably let you take me to the zoo.  They always liked you. 

Warmly,

Miles

P.S. If I need to communicate with you again, I will do so through the blog.  My mothers have cut off service to my cell phone.

P.S. #2 Attached, please find a recent photo of me.    I hope Min will enjoy it.

On Sept. 17, David wrote:

Dear Miles, 

Probably by now you are wondering where we have gone. Don’t worry, we are still around just a little farther away, in a place far away known as Arizona. It’s a strange place unlike the comforts of our walk-up in Brooklyn. People here have golden blonde hair and bronze colored skin. They also drive in big pick-up trucks, and can you believe that they don’t know what a subway is?! Arizona is great though. There are surprising a lot of restaurants to try here, which keeps us busy during the weekends.
 
Anyways, we very much miss New York, especially walking around Park Slope. But most of all we miss you and your family, as well as Violet and hers. We have been keeping up on your blog. Min absolutely loves it, especially the candid pictures of you. Anyways, I know you still have your cellphone, so call me anytime you like. Tell Melissa and Robin we said hello and that we miss them too. Hoping that the new tenant below is friendly.  
David
 

My, what big teeth I have.

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