This week in Peanut

A roundup of the goings on in a certain four-year-old’s world…

Me: Would you like melon in your lunch?
Peanut: Heck yeah!
Me: Heck yeah? Where’d you hear that?
P: From you.
Me: Great.
P: Spectacular.
Me: Spectacular?
P: Yeah. What’s that mean?
Me: Like really great, something that makes you say “wow.”
P: Oh.
Me: It’s a good word. Where’d you hear it?
P: You. Can I have some spectacular melon?

Stalking through the house, and unearthing tape and construction paper projects at every turn, Peanut narrates his misadventures as though reading them from a book:
“He searched and searched for the shooter but could not find it. So he made one himself and put it on so he could shoot pirates who came to the castle without paying toll….”

Running naked out of the bathroom after his bath, Peanut dove under the huge box he’s been playing in to hide from the jammies-application process. Spouse, tired of playing the “where is he? I can’t seem to find him” game, said to the cat, “Cat One, do you know where Peanut is? If you know, go there.” Then picked up his feline mole and tossed him onto the box.
Peanut was horrified that the cat gave him away.

Ah, to be so adorable and clueless.

Repost: Laws of Motion, Child Sized Version

(repost, as in “to post again,” not as in “offensive follow-up to a parry,” of musings from February 2009)

First Law: net inertia. Subjects at rest tend to stay at rest until you settle in. Then they spring into action, usually of the death-defying (or at least social-convention-defying) sort. Conversely, subjects in motion will tend to stay in motion until such time as you enjoy their motion. Then they will stop.

Second Law: F=ma. The relationship between the force needed to cajole a small person into even the most pleasant task is Force=(minutes needed to perform task without small children)x(age, in years, you feel after the task is complete). Exempli gratia, force required to put on child’s shoes=(.25)x(57)=14. Units may vary. 14 minutes, 14 different techniques, 14 different pair before they finally agree to leave one on, 14 threats to leave without said child if they don’t put on their flipping shoes NOW…

Third Law: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. You get dressed, they glitter paint the cat. You prepare breakfast, they remove all the tape flags from your research books. You strike up a conversation with the clerk at the market, they strip down naked and run away laughing.

You don’t see how those are equal and opposite? You must possess logic and reason, then. Ah. You must not have children.

One step back, now two steps forward

I have to say, while Peanut is in his room noisily refusing to sleep whilst concocting an elaborate triage center for his stuffed friends and the various wheeled vehicles that will rush them, surprisingly free of gore (for he is three and lives a sheltered life by design), to the doctor’s kit wherein they will be asked to give a urine sample and listen to Peanut’s heart; that he’s turning into an interesting creature.

It’s not true that things that don’t kill you make you stronger. For parents, that which does not kill you makes your kids stronger and more compelling humans. We’re still whittled down to nubs, but they blossom in the compost of our selfhood.

[pause while I go to the now open door and remind him that during quiet time he has to stay in his room. “Why?”  “Because the whole rest of the day is about what you want, and right now is about mommy wanting your body and brain to rest and grow.” “Why?” Because I’ll die right here if you don’t give me an hour of peace. “Because that’s the rule in this house.”]

Ahem. Where was I? Oh, yes, offering organic flesh ripped from my sanity as fodder for Peanut’s growth. Reread the Giving Tree when you have a chance. It’s about sacrifice and shriveling up into relative uselessness. Together.

That Shel Silverstein is another San Franciscan who knew his left from his right, eh?

The smiling fun of past two days are more than just my joy at being healthy, off crutches, in the bright light of spring, surrounded by flowering plum and cherry trees, and finally home again. Nope. This is about the trough in the parenting roller coaster that follows a week or two or three of every-cell-fraying individuation. This is the afterglow of personality development. This is the necessary calm in the storm that is growing up, the respite that allows moms to breathe, just for a moment, and to smile at the beautiful creatures they are lucky enough to have met.

Oh, I love you, little character.