Seems like this is my summer of other people's kids. I have all of the joy and none of the worry. I have all of the love and none of the angst. It's really kind of perfect.
Mr. 5 is now Mr. 6 and Mr. 7 is now Mr. 8... as they remind me with ever increasing ire as time passes and my brain refuses to make the change. They're not babies any more; they are school kids, with all the attitude that implies. When not enveloped in a video screen, their willingness to confide and share and tease includes me in their family circle. They may not be mine by blood, but their mother is my person here in Tucson and that must count for something. It certainly does as far as they are concerned.
They are no longer easily distracted with Leggos; me just searching the box for missing heads or weapons isn't enough any more. We play games with rules - Uno, Guess Who - and I am a full participant. It's more challenging than reading a magazine as I made a desultory effort to locate a tiny sword or a flag. It involves actually hanging out with them, being fully in the moment, being engaged. I'm no longer doing it to give their mom a break; I'm doing it because it is really really fun.
I'm watching them change before my very eyes. Mr. 6 is still a lady-killer and Mr. 8 is still precise, but the edges of their personalities are beginning to develop some interesting nooks and crannies. A bit of fiendishness is creeping into Mr. 6's loving heart. Mr. 8 is more willing to forgive and forget, more apt to let a slight gloss over his shoulders, more willing to compromise and apologize. They'll be in 2nd and 4th grades next month - definitely school kids.
I spent yesterday afternoon with one who has a while before that appellation will be appropriate. Not quite nine months old, this is the happiest baby I have ever seen. He's able to amuse himself; how rare is that? Gnawing and drooling and looking for the next adventure, he stood by himself for the first time right there in the back of his mom's Honda Odyssey in my driveway; how cool is that?
His plastic piano played the first 32 bars of 3 annoyingly familiar Mozart melodies which are now stuck in my head like gum to the bottom of a shoe but the new, less snarky me is able to make them become the background to a movie of his cheeks and his laugh and his insistence on mouthing the remote control. What is it with males and those devices? Obviously, it's hard wired. The kid has yet to experience his first autumn and he's already needing the thing to be under his direct control at all times.
Good parents leave nothing to chance, so naturally my charge came equipped with a not-so-very-portable play pen, a brightly colored plastic booster seat, a lunch box, a diaper bag, a car seat and a set of instructions. Perfect - I didn't have to think, I just obeyed the schedule. Nap time didn't really happen, and I didn't mind at all. He was too luscious to have out of my arms for more than a moment or two. We rolled around on Douglas and I tickled and he giggled and mom came to collect him all too soon.
He'll be back. I'm insisting on it.
Friday, 13 year old Elizabeth and I are spending the afternoon together. I'd originally thought about the Tucson Museum of Art, but I've had a change of heart. Her blogonym references Elizabeth Taylor, the screen's most voluptuous star when I was a lass. Alas, this Elizabeth had never heard of her. Not even in connection with Elton John and AIDS. Sigh.
That fact, coupled with my need to make clear the difference between voluptuous and fat,prompted me to check out Cat On A Hot Tin Roof from the library this afternoon. We're going to get comfortable on Douglas and watch Liz and Paul Newman and Burl Ives and James Farrentino holler and opine and impose and transform as we eat turkey sandwiches and drink soda out of the can, with a straw.
I'll ferry her to Jesse for a haircut and a repair of the help she received from Amster while they were on vacation. The woman's intentions were good.... the kid had a lot of hair..... nobody's mad at anyone and I can feel like a hero..... win win win.
I so love other people's children.