“Gotta make you happy.” he says to a floppy handful of daffodils, ruffled caps had dipped heavy with rain into the soil. What makes them happy? I ask him. “Me.” He inhales,”I do.” He confidently marches their fancy little heads into the house where he asks for some thirsty water for them. In Montana he comforts his sister, 6 month old Liza, with songs. He gives 4 month old Clare a toy. He has learned to help. He cries and folds up with worry when Metro seems to move too slowly as a truck comes up the drive. But cry-laughs with relief when I insist he watch the dog move fast when necessary. He’s safe. You are safe and I am, too. See? We all got out of the way. And the truck stopped.
You are doing pretty well little guy. I am impressed with your parents’ (mommy’s) efforts to engage you in managing the chaos of a busy life in your little shared trailer home. You willingly take a nap in the old brass bed, go to bed at night, telling me to leave the room after I turn off the light. I sneak a peek through the crack in the door to see what you will do…you talk to yourself, sing a song’s chorus over and over and wind the music box again. You stay in bed, slip under the covers and go to sleep. This amazes me every time. Self-comforting is very important. You are good at it, little one.
You painted a picture with 3 year old Shelby from next door (next mountain top) and ran through the house squealing delighted with yourselves and one another. Last night we left late to walk down to the barn to feed the horses. Grandpa is out of town for work. We bundled up at 9, and flashlights in hand, hiked down the hill. “The animals can see us.” you whispered. What animals? “Tigers, wolves and raccoons.” you answer. “I hear something.” Its the deer resting in the trees and watching us walk by. They are snoozing and when we leave they get up and eat grass. As we get to the barn and turn on the overhead light you say, “I’m not scared of deer.” Of course not. I watch you heave a sigh. “No, don’t hold my hand,” you say as we trudge back up the steep hill. And you walk ahead. Its a long walk, its late and you sing twinkle twinkle.
You shook the flour onto the small cubes of meat for beef stew, dropped in the potatoes and added the salt. Mmmmm. I make good stew you said after two helpings. The carrots were your favorite. You push the kitchen chair, back against the counter the way I always do, slide up to the sink, turn on the faucet, dispense a mound of foamy soap, wash and dry your hands. “I’m done, Grandma.” Yes, you did it by yourself. Self-reliant. Some parents have to be reminded to give their children space to become self-reliant. Let her be, we tell them, let her try it, fall, get up, and figure it out herself. I am remembering how children like you buddy, whose parents are sometimes neglectful, can result in this kind of skill-building, figuring things out for yourself. I am learning so much from you.
Today you are sleeping late. Its after 7. Its sunny and warm already. We will go visit your old school and play with your friends. Today I will watch you with a group of children. Today I’ll sit close. I noticed you had a bite wound on your tummy, scabbed over, Nathaniel bited me, you explain He’s 2. Your eyebrows pull tight, “No, I sayed. It’s mine!” We’ll see how it goes with the twins, and eight other 2 and 3 year olds. We’ll see.
Up now. Off to a busy and Wonderful day, I think as you get the egg carton from the refrigerator. Hungry? and hand you a bowl. You still break a perfect egg! Love this guy, gma.