Saturday, December 30, 2006

signs of life

There are notes all over my house. They are stuck to the walls with Disney stickers, and say things like "employees only", "stop! do not enter", "restrooms", and "stop enter your tickiet". They kill me with their scrawly six year old writing. Now I am not (as my family will tell you) the best housekeeper in the world. In fact, I take it as kind of my duty to make people feel good about their own housekeeping skills. When you walk into my home, try as I might to stay on top of things, you might just be attacked by a dust wolf (bunnies are cute - these things aren't), or perhaps pinned under a giant pile of laundry. But still, I like to keep some kind of general order, and I grow weary of brightly colored plastic toys strewn about the house. One particular thing that gets my mama goat is the Little People Garage. Joe-Henry begged us for it last year for his fifth birthday and we got it. But let me tell you, it does not go gently into any kind of toy receptacle. Or giant closet. It's huge and unwilling and I'm really annoyed that I can't find a way to store it neatly. And it's not just the big toys, it's the tiny toys, seemingly THOUSANDS of them, with lots of intricate parts that CANNOT BE LOST or things just won't work the way they are supposed to. And I'm the finder in our house. I am doing my best to instill this ability in my son, and sometimes it works, but mostly, I need to at least coach from the sidelines "go look to the right of your bed, under the penguin on the floor. No? Okay, open the closet and lift up the pink lid on the blue box, take out the ukelele and look under the tambourine. No.....?" And on and on it goes. Yes, these things drive me, as my husband so quaintly puts it, bat-shit crazy.

But the notes. The notes are another thing. They are like the growth chart in our hallway - they show me visibly, how quickly this time is going. He's only been in kindergarten a few months and his writing has so improved. It's not perfect by any measure, but it's so much better, and the stuff he writes about perfectly captures, like a time capsule, who he is right now. It's like looking at a picture of him on the first day of school waiting for the bus. Or hearing a recording of his sweet voice. My husband has a little frame I gave him when Joe-Henry was a newborn. It was one that you could record a greeting and it would play when you pressed the button. I recorded Joe-Henry nursing and grunting and stuck in a picture of his two month old self so Charley could take it to a trade show. I ran across it recently when we moved and it brought tears flooding to my eyes. That was just yesterday! These scribbled little notes are like that, only I see them in my minds eye in the future, when I'm putting together his scrapbook (like I'll ever be that together!) as he heads off to college. I love them so much, and want to keep them up forever.

But the Little People Garage.... it's time is near.

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