Thursday, March 18, 2010

Poetry Slam

Today was one of the first truly gorgeous days of spring. Finally - our reward for enduring such a cold, snowy, long winter! Aidan is recovering from yesterday's surgery - tubes in his ears and his adenoids removed - and needed some quiet, restful activities for the day - doctor's orders.

No one could resist the warmth from the sunshine, however, so in a moment of inspiration, I suggested we head outside with markers, crayons, colored pencils, and a huge new pad of blank paper. We sat on the walkway and drew the "Signs of Spring" that we observed all around us. One thing led to another, and pretty soon, my poet-in-residence was composing his very own nature-inspired works. Here are the best three:

A Haiku -
Beautiful flowers
They need water and sunlight
All different colors!

This poem was a collaborative effort. I started with the first line, and we alternated until Aidan's last two at the end:

Flash of red in a tree
What could it be?
Cardinal perches on a Dogwood branch
The dogwood is very, very high!
Listen close to hear its bark -
The cardinal hears it and --
--flew away!

Aidan's original poem, entirely his own:

Flash of blue
Grab some binoculars
Oh! It's a blue jay!
Listen closely -
blue, blue gee!
blue, blue gee!
blue, blue gee!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Not Tonight.

I caught myself saying something tonight that I instantly regretted. It made me pause outside the bedroom door, nearly made me go back in and take back my words. But bedtimes have been difficult recently, because Leo is in that stage where the nap has to be just the right length in order to be tired enough, but not overtired, for bed. As weak as it sounds, I myself was exhausted. So I didn't go back -- but at that moment, during the pause outside their room, I vowed to avoid those two words in the future, as much as I possibly could....

Arguably the most exhausted and overused phrase in the history of parenting is "It goes by too fast. Enjoy every minute." I certainly understand, I really do, the intent of this sage advice. Sometimes, though, when you are deep in the trenches of babyhood/preschool-hood/school-age-hood, it is hard to enjoy every minute. Still, I try, for the chubby 6 month old baby staring up at me takes me by surprise - just yesterday, I was pregnant. Just yesterday, I was holding my newborn boy. Just yesterday, I was registering for our firstborn child....

I was at the doorway of their room, saying the last of the goodnights in our bedtime ritual. I'd already read the books, said the prayers, given suggestions of what to dream about, gotten drinks of water, and sang the lullabye. Dishes were waiting in the sink and mounds of laundry were desperate to be folded, and all I wanted to do was curl up with a book. So when Aidan asked me to sing "Skidamarinkeedink," I immediately replied, "Not tonight." And those are the words I instantly regretted, for in the silence of his processing my rejection, I was struck with the realization that too soon, there won't be a request for another lullabye, let alone one lullabye.

And so I will not say "Not tonight" to him again over something so simple and easy. I will cherish the fact that he loves my singing so much that one lullabye is not enough. I will savor his request. Too soon, I fear, the tables will turn. I'll offer to sing a lullabye, or to read another story, or to suggest a dream, and my growing boy will reply, "Not tonight..."