Like Frederick, I've been collecting small tidbits of warmth and life and laughter to enjoy as the nights stay cold, the days are long and tiresome, and the burdens feel too heavy....
One weary night as I was pushing us all ever closer to bedtime, two guests made an unexpected appearance in our home: Boy and Fishnika, Aidan's imaginary friends. They greeted him in the shower where they apparently hurried him along quite a bit, yet managed to remind him to scrub thoroughly and rinse well. He emerged from the steaming bathroom smelling clean and leaving me gaping at him - not once had I issued a reminder:
stay on task; wash your hair; please finish up; now you're wasting water; you need to stay focused; Aidan PLEASE get out of the shower!!!
Once dressed (again - an amazing, unprecedented 2 minute towel-to-pajamas record), Aidan refereed an elaborate sparring match between Boy and Fishnika, calling points and occasionally coming between them to settle a dispute. He started singing an original song that seemed to develop as the words and melody left his mouth; later, he explained to me that the song signaled the end of the match. Fishnika was named the winner. He laughed and chatted with them as I quietly eavesdropped from outside the door, until he threw it open to find me --excitedly, Aidan announced that tomorrow, March 1, was actually Fishnika's birthday - did I know that?
...but then, regrettably, I announced it was time for bed, and Fishnika and Boy disappeared, as imaginary friends tend to do. I'm not sure what I loved more about their reappearance that night - the fact that they came back, or the reminder of what life was like when they were a part of our daily routine - buckling Boy into seatbelts in the car and putting him in time out in the grocery store for encouraging mischief in Aidan. Mostly, I just love that boy's endlessly creative imagination.
For a boy who is as easygoing as Pax tends to be, he has definite preferences about one thing: his pajamas. He absolutely abhors "footie" pajamas - you know, the cozy ones that zip from toe to chin. Hates, loathes, despises them! I was puzzling over why this could be, and after stuffing a wailing and thrashing two-year-old into the offending pajamas the third night in a row, I gave up the fight. A short time later, reading Goodnight, Moon in two-piece striped pajamas, I discovered why he hates the footies so much: he can't lift up his shirt, stick out his belly, and pretend to warm himself by the glow of the fire in the book, on every single (other) page. Grinning, pointing to the mouse in camaraderie and mutual appreciation of the hearth's glow....
...and finally, a quote from my funny boy, Leo Gabe:
Leo: (after astounding us all with an especially smart answer):
You know how I knew that? THIS big boy right here. My Brain.