Wednesday, January 03, 2007

the wisdom of youth

I remember how excited I was when Isaac learned to shake his head “no” and nod “yes.” What a world of difference it made in our communication possibilities. He has a new, similar tool at this stage of the game – his own version of “little” and “big.”

To say “little,” once must hold one’s thumb and pointer finger as close together as possible; also, squinting one’s eyes closed while doing so adds emphasis. To say “big,” one raises a slightly cupped palm over one’s head – such that it resembles someone about to attack someone else, and utter the word “Bo” (pronounced something like the beginning of the word “ball”).

With little and big, Isaac describes just about his entire world. I know which truck he’s looking for, I know his perception of the dog we just passed. He knows which pot to hand his dad to make the oatmeal, and how to tell us how much oatmeal he’ll be eating.

Today, while cutting open (at Isaac’s request) one of the three pomegranates left in our kitchen from the by-now defunct season, and already covered in bloody juice, my knife slipped. Normally, this would call for much shaking and sucking of the effected area of the hand, cursing, pronouncing my impending death, and repeatedly whining about my discomfort. Since becoming the parent of a sensitive toddler, however, my days of melodrama are over. Any cry of pain from Mama is very distressing to my boy. (This is the same child who sobbed uncontrollably when the floating Christmas candles singed a leaf on the plant next to them.)

Naturally, upon the knife making contact with my left ring finger, I did make one of those sounds, the kind that mean “Ouch.” plus a touch of “How stupid could I have been?!”

Isaac grows solemn. Then, frowning, pronounces “Mama,” accompanied by the sign for “pain.”

“Yes, Mama has a boo boo. Let’s just go take of care it,” I tell him, all the while aching to throw my maimed body on the couch and wail.

I get out the box of bandaids, my babe watching me closely. The first one I pull out seems good enough. It’s one of those H shaped things that I think are for fingers but I’ve honestly never been able to use. I quickly decide this would be the day to start taking advantage of first aid engineering.

“This one’ll work,” I tell Isaac.

“No,” he says seriously. “Nooooo, Mama. Bo!” he explains, his attack hand in the air.

“Yeah, this one,” I tell him. “It’s not too big; look.”

At first, application goes well, but the upper half of the H won’t cooperate. The cut is too far up on my finger.

“Bo, Mama” Isaac keeps repeating. “Bo.”

“We’ll just wrap this part around…”


“See? It’s perfect.”

“No. Bo, Mama.”

For the next hour, any time Iz catches sight of my wrapped finger, he shakes his head. “No. Bo.”

It might have been less than an ideal fit, but I wasn’t giving in. “Mama likes it big. Look, it covers my whole finger. It feels better this way.”

“No, Mama.”

Finally, I couldn’t ignore the flapping bits of bandaid impeding my work and play.

“Well, looks like I’ll throw this away, Iz. It’s not working anymore,” I admit to Isaac, extracting my wounded digit and discarding the bandaid.

He makes the motion again, fingers splayed, back of the hand arched, then shakes his head for the last time and lets out a heavy sigh. “Bo,” he says, and shuffles off, leaving me alone in the kitchen.

Dammit. I hate it when they’re right.

1 comment:

K3rM1t said...

I learned a secret to pomegranates. Open them underwater in a bucket of somesort. You can get all the seeds out without making the house look like Freddy came by. When done, drain water and you're all set!

No more Bo's

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