Friday, February 17, 2006


This week has already blown by and I realized that I am a classic parental "underreporter" because I forgot to rave about my boy-o's first lost tooth, the baby's surrealist art, and Petunia Moon's award ceremony for her poem. Now, I don't normally feel compelled to wallow in the amazing superpowers of my kids...but, it was one helluva week around here, so please forgive me.

Rosie has taken to drawing incredibly detailed people all day long. In another picture, she wrote the word "MOMMY"--I helped with the first "M", told her "O" was a circle, she did the next "M", then exclaimed, "momEEE" and wrote an extremely crooked "E" without any prompting from me. Now, I know that mommy isn't spelled with an "E"...but, she's only two--so let me have this one moment of pride that she is already deciphering the written word. She is so into the sketching I've had to travel with a notebook and pen for her in my bag (aside from the one I already carry for myself, of course.) I believe the thoughts of her creations are in her head all day long every bit as much as my own characters are. Lying in bed between M. and I in a typical weekend morning ritual last Saturday, Rosie suddenly reached up and stroked the curve of her father's jaw.
"Daddy, you're my people," she said and, of course, I melted. Below is a sampling of her pen and ink people...we "real" people are endlessly entertained by the emotions of the faces and their spidery-limbs...

Maybe the boy-o's lost tooth seems unworthy of bragging rights...but, his older sister has been "ahead" of him in everything in their lives so far (except for actual arrival--she was two weeks late, he was three weeks early). Her prowess is one she likes to remind him of in the kindly show-off way of an older sister. Boy-o might be able to run circles around Petunia, but he hasn't figured out how to lord that one over her yet. The lost tooth one, he does. He knows that she is still struggling to lose hers so that braces can go on and fix the genetic cocktail of crooked teeth I so kindly supplied her with. He has been saying (only when she's within earshot, naturally),
"So, Mommy, how old was Petunia when she lost her first tooth?"
"Almost seven," I respond, "But she got her teeth very late to begin with."
"Hmmm...I'm only five," he muses, "Do you think maybe I'll lose all of mine before she finishes losing hers?"
Usually, by now, she is loudly protesting her slow crooked teeth and glowering at her brother who answers her with a wide-mouthed grin, pointing at the empty space in his lower jaw. This is the actual tooth itself--perched on the purple velvet toothfairy pouch where body parts are exchanged for material goods. The whole process is such a strange one...but, I like my children to believe in magic. I still do...

So maybe, she'll write a poem about it...Petunia attended her award ceremony, slid casually onstage when her name was called, and read her Mother Nature poem without a trace of self-consciousness in a bold, proud "poet voice". I have to mention that voice, because she's been actively cultivating it since she was about four years old and the writing truly blossomed through her. When boy-o was a newborn and she was three and a half, she spoke her poem about him to me as we sat on the deck in the backyard. I can remember only pieces of it offhand (I tape-recorded it, though)...but, I know she started off: "Little brother, when you were born/I looked at you, but you were forlorn." Yes...three and a half and "forlorn", I couldn't make this up if I tried.

What is hard for me to accept is how school has started shifting her wild mind with her writing. The last time we went out to the cafe and sat working together, (we call it sprinting...she throws out a word and we have to use it in the writing) her voice had changed. It took her three tries to get past the "subject-verb-object" she's learning. She began with "It was nice and really neat" and then exploded into "the arrow stroked the sky"...and my heart did too because, for a moment, I was afraid I'd lost her there to the great gods of GRAMMAR. She is learning how to write what she calls the "school way" versus the "real one". Petunia is such a muse for my writing--my first published piece was about her. I was nervous until she found her way to integrate the variety of writing styles required by a life. (When boy-o momentarily emerged from his Star Wars cloud a little while back to remark to M.--"Dad, you have suspicious lips," I thought maybe he was going to start giving Petunia a run for her money in another area, but--for now, she remains "the Poet" until she changes her mind anyway.) Here is her ribbon and her self-proclaimed "author pose"... mother guilt is assuaged for one afternoon. Of course, I didn't post any reviews here this week or discuss my process and articles pending or the book proposal I've started working on. But, my brainchildren will have to just clamor down until next time. These others are flesh and blood. They are real. They're alive...and they are "my people".


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