Friday, October 29, 2010

Damage Control

Lily's artistic inclinations are emerging. So much so that the other morning she came into the bathroom to get me, "Hahn?" (Hand used to be "ahtch" but we are now closer to the real thing) I gave her my hand, she led me into the living room, over to the TV, where Sesame Street was playing. "Uh Ohhhh..." she said as she pointed to the screen. There, in the raking light of the dawn (read, 7:20am) I noticed the entire screen was decorated with crayon strokes that extended off the canvas onto the radiator cover.

"Lilyyyyyyyyyyy..... No, no Pumpkin, you know that's not where we draw. We draw on PAPER or else we draw on special things in Teacher Barbara's class. Remember how Mama said we only draw on paper?".

"Yesh." she says.

"Where do we do crayons?"

"... Papuh." And silence. Wheels turning. "Mama .... art!"

"Sigh. Yes, Lily, that is art."

She's right. But what she doesn't know is that the apartment is on the market and I'm not sure buyers are interested in the freshly painted walls now embellished with... Color. Lots of it. Thank you Crayola for creating washable crayons. They are remarkably unmarring. I have found crayon on the couch, chairs, dresser and most recently the wall. Thankfully, she drew and then ran to get Kleenex and began wiping it off the wall after she made her "mark".
She is a good helper.

Wash wash wash.

She likes to help mama wash the walls and the couch and the tv and the radiator cover and the chairs and the refrigerator.
She even hums her clean up song she's learned in class.

At 20 months I think we are in "testing" mode, ie., "Let's test mama. A lot."
The uncommissioned murals are still appearing, unannounced, and too much quiet now indicates art in progress.

Crayons on probation. At least for a few hours.

That's OK.

There are other ways to test Mama:

"Lily wants yogurt?"
"Here's some yogurt Pumpkin."
"No. No yogeet."
"I thought Lily wanted yogurt?"
"No........ Other one."
"Strawberry yogurt?"
"OKaaaaay. Here's the other yogurt. Lily? You want the yogurt?"
"What does Lily want for breakfast?"
"Mac n'cheeeeeeeese" she says, smiling and twisting and jumping.
"We don't have mac n'cheese, Sweet Pea"
"Rice n'beeeeeeeans!!!!!"
"No rice n'beans either Pumpkin."

I've let her down.

I'm the mom.
Must remember that important fact.

Note to self: Don't bend over backwards all the time. Just some of the time. Like when I'm channeling Job. Must channel often. Because now, when Lily isn't tagging the furniture, she is jumping off of it. She also now enjoys hanging upside-down, and has perfected somersaults. And, she has done some impressive things in the potty recently. No details needed. It may have scarred her for life, but not bad for someone four months shy of two.

Is she really almost two? She even seems older at times. Yesterday she opened the closet and was reaching for the screwdriver.
"Horsie. Horsie!"
I didn't understand until I glanced over at rocking/bouncy Horsie and there he/she was, turned upside down, battery panel exposed for surgery.
"No no Pumpkin, Horsie's fine. Here. Listen."
And with that, Home on the Range and hoof beats filled the air.

That may be the answer. Pretend living on range. Commission arid landscape, leave dirt on floor, import hay.

City Goes Country.

I like that.

Monday, October 18, 2010

More Dada?

It has begun. Lily is asking for her Dada. Nineteen months on the journey alone and now, sadly, her own has begun. We spent a long weekend with her favorite friend and it became glaringly apparent to her that he has a dad.
And so, she is wondering

The last three nights at dinner Lily has said "Mama, Dada?" "More Dada?" and with that I pull out photo albums and as she eats we look at pictures of her dad. I identify the people he's with, I show her his smile, him sailing boats, I show her his hands and I tell her that she has the same ones. She does. She has Alan's fingers. They are mini replicas. And I hope that as she gets to know him through me and our friends and family, that her longing for him wont be torturous. But it may be. In fact, it already seems to be heading in that direction.
How could it not?

It is heartbreaking.

Yesterday I peaked in on her in the living room and there she was perched on her little chair at the coffee table, photo album from our honeymoon open in front of her and she was studying the photos, touching them with her fingers, identifying and saying out loud, "Dadaaaaa, Mommyyyyy. Dada, mama" over and over again, singing our names with her "counting numbers" inflection.

So innocent. So dear.

Cruel cruel world.

Night before last at 2:45, "Mama..."
"Yes my love? "
".... Ohhhh. Dada's watching over you Pumpkin. Dada loves Lily. Shhh shhh... Go back to sleep sweet pea..." And more realistically the next night in bed, "Oh Lily, Dada isn't here. But he loves Lily soooooooo much." One of these days she'll look for him at the door or at me with her questioning fanned out hands.

And so my attempts at toddler explanation have begun. And painfully I know this is now her beginning of what will be a very difficult journey. Last night in the tub "Pictures of Dada?". "OK pumpkin, we'll look at pictures of Dada before bed." So in bed, we began with our wedding album and then transitioned to the Little Engine That Could. And Corduroy. And then after a false start in her crib we cuddled with our own version of The Wheels on the Bus. This time with what people we know would say.
"Dada? Dada Bus?"
"Dada on the bus says 'I LOVE YOU SO!, I LOVE YOU SO!, I LOVE YOU SO!"

And on we went.
She slept through the night, peacefully.
I'm hoping Alan stopped by in her dreams.