Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Ready to eat your words

curtain cling, originally uploaded by toyfoto.

Dear Annabel,

This is you, Ittybit: Shirt on backwards, hair clinging to the curtain, perpetual static. Nothing about you matches. Not your clothes, not your voice, not your sense of humor. Everything about you is unique.

You are just about four, just a blip in time, and yet somehow I've already lost track of where you've been. Listening for your brother's first (ever-so-stingy) giggles has made me lament that I can't remember your early laughter.

I don't remember when you first said Mama, or Daddy. I only know that when we play our "going home" games in the car I wonder when you learned to use proper grammar. When did your verbs started to agree with their subjects? (Probably when you and I started to disagree on the wearing of summer clothes in winter).

It pains me that sometimes your happiness makes me sad; that as you bounce and twirl and jammer and joke, I just want some quiet. I beg for an instant of peace that lasts for two days.

Lately the best times have been in the car; your brother sleeping (or watching you) while you and I play games of nonsense.

I can't help but think as we volley words and ideas back and forth that these silly games we play -- such as "WOULD YOU EAT THAT?" -- have a shelf life that will expire long before I am ready to give them up. (A testament, perhaps, to the notion that shows like Fear Factor will always have a place in America's low-brow television diet).

But I digress. ...

MAMA: Would you eat a horse?

ITTYBIT: No, too fuzzy.

MAMA: Would you eat a skunk?

ITTYBIT: No, too stinky.

MAMA: Would you eat a turkey?

ITTYBIT: No, too feathery.

MAMA: Would you eat a dog?

ITTYBIT: No, too furry.

MAMA: Would you eat a hedgehog?


MAMA: Would you eat a dinosaur?

ITTYBIT: No, too big.

I wish I could explain the feeling because as I read back, the words just don't convey the wash of warm chills that went through me as you came up with descriptions for each and every animal you wouldn't eat. When you changed auxilary verbs to fit their plural subjects mid-sentence, I held my breath. When did you start to match?

I just keep spinning the number four in my head and whistling under my breath. "So this is four, or just about."

I hope four is sweet, little girl, because I'm sure I'll soon have to eat these words.

Love and kisses,



Andrea said...

You know, I was just marveling yesterday about how Gabe (who'll be 4 in January) is speaking in nearly proper English, his tenses matching, his verbs and plurals and nouns taking on the correct pre- and suffixes to accommodate the context. And I got sad. I'm thrilled that he's talking so well, but there are so many funny things he's said that I wish I hadn't already forgotten or taken for granted.


Anonymous said...

four is perfect

Binky said...

The reason I try to keep up my blog even when I'm not inclined to is so I can remember everything I'd forget otherwise. Like with this post: you'll always have the Would You Eat That game and the start of Annabel's good grammar to look back on. Isn't that such a wonderful thing? Not to mention the fact that your readers benefit as well.