A small, sweet, plosive sound comes from his lips, after each entreaty the same noise, a breath out and a consonant mixed with spit.

baby-drawing

Four days later, Ev starts to talk. His sounds have been buffering at meaning for weeks, but now they emerge as his own handiwork and he sets them gently one beside another in lines. […]

Children are born into language. They understand the nuances of speech at birth and Ev has been listening to our ceaseless chatter for months in the womb. He has been read to and sung to and laughed at. He knows the pattern of our voices and by its cadence he knows too that something is happening. My face signals it, and the sudden sparks of urgent conversation, the gaps that follow.

Ev’s vocabulary as he presents it to us is superlatively normal. He has no words for fear. He says Daddy to mean either of us, kee for monkey and Oh no! at all upsets. Ssss serves for snake, the letter S, and any linear thing like a belt or bit of his railway track. He says click for light and sta for monster, gakator for tractor and soon has a small handy clip of words like digger, apple, spoon, butter, cardi, eye, toast, brush. Seem means machine. He can do two, three and four. And in a way that is entirely normal too, we poke him and spur him on. This is what you do with children, goad them for your own enjoyment. Make a noise like a volcano, we say. Make a noise like a firework. Make a noise like a dinosaur. His eyes are merry. A small, sweet, plosive sound comes from his lips, after each entreaty the same noise, a breath out and a consonant mixed with spit. […]

He is the size of a cat; a thing of gold fur and whitened sunshine. His hands paw and pat the textures of the food as he draws each substance one by one into his mouth: sour, sweet, char, salt, pulp, oil and leaf.  […]

He goes at food with intellectual interest and straight joy in taste. It is bonny. If I had known how much pleasure I would get from watching my baby eat I would have thought it an argument for more babies. It is such a treat I can’t take my eyes off him and I mask my keenness in case it makes him suspicious that there is something more at stake. So I eat with him, or look out the window or pretend to read the paper. He spoons up lentils, snuffles through tomato sauce with basil and surges his pasta round in it, he dips bread in spinach soup till soup and bread are one and sucks it. He holds broccoli like a cudgel and stuffs one, then two, three, four trees into his mouth. He eats liver! He eats bananas and garlic and stir-fry! We goggle at him. We win and he wins. We all triumph together.

~ Marion Coutts, The Iceberg: A Memoir


Baby Drawing: Ben Connell

 

Driving I-95 S. With Whisk Brooms and Women.

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5:17 am. 25° F.  Rollin’ down I-95 South in light morning traffic, with other insomniacs and the red tail lights of the hulking convoys.

I roll the tape back to the scene last night.

“Wow!”
“Wow what?”
“How much did it cost?”
“$55.”
“$55?”
“$55.”
“$55 per eyebrow?”
“Really Dad?”
“What?”
“Eyelashes. Eyelashes Dad. And, who would get just one eyelash extended?”

I ponder that for a moment. She has a point there. [Read more…]

Riding Metro North. Man With a Plan.

hair-breeze-wind
High School graduation.
Scholarship.
Land of the Opportunity.
He leaves.

Undergraduate Degree.
Marriage.
Green Card.
Graduate Degree.
He learns. [Read more…]

It Depends? On what?

phone-table-manner-technology


Source: NY Times Magazine, Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Seat At The Table


[…] the most incredible thing that has happened to me is that it is my version of a fairy tale that I’ve found in this unlikely and unexpected family a home that I’ve never had before.”

Dinner.

Family.

A Seat At The Table.

Moved.

Riding Metro North. With Weary.

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It’s the late evening train.
Metro North to New Haven.
The Quiet Car.

On my left, sits Stoic.  No book. No smartphone. Hands on her lap. Eyes dead ahead.

On my right, sits Dude. Head down, tapping his keys, ear buds pumpin’.

Across, sits Weary.  Head back on head rest. Eyes closed.  Tinted transition glasses. Lightly salted side burns.  Hair, jet black, neatly coifed, perhaps too much so.  A Pabst Blue Ribbon Tallboy rests on the floor between his black loafers.

Weary’s eyes pop open and catch me. I avert.

Stoic sits stoic.
Dude is bangin’.
Weary reaches down for the Tallboy, takes a swig, sets it down, leans his head back and swallows deeply. [Read more…]

Driving I-95 S. The Last Term.

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3:39 am. Thursday morning. Or, Wednesday night bleeding over.
20 minutes until shower time.
I’m staring at the ceiling. Woozy.  Did you get any sleep?

Six hours ago Mom’s helping him pack.
Suitcases are open.
Zeke sets the mood, moping.

“Dad, do you have any sweatpants I can take?”
“Take anything you want.”
“Do you have anything that doesn’t look like leisure wear?”
I smile. It’s clear who mentored that sarcasm, honed now, cold steel glistening.

We’re in the car.
It’s Silent. Father and Son awkward.
He’s turning the dials, away from my 7 on 70s on Sirius to some thumpin’ Electro BEAT.
The bitter taste of scotch at 4:30am.
I let it pass. [Read more…]

2015: Flummoxed by the Paradoxical Commandments

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If you haven’t read Kent M. Keith’s The Paradoxical Commandments, it’s worth a few minutes of your time.  If you were looking for the origin of these commandments and the connection to Mother Theresa, look here: The Mother Theresa Connection.

In my reflection of events in 2015, I do find the commandments paradoxical.  Let’s take a few highlights for a spin.

KMK:
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

DK:   You are on a JetBlue flight. The woman sitting next to you in Coach removes her shoes, her stockings and then places her feet up on the seat in front of you. She wiggles her chubby toes to air out her dogs. (In case you were dying to know, she had a nice pedicure. The toenail polish was a pretty baby blue matching her fingernails. And there was no visible toe jam.)

KMK:
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.
KMK: Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

DK:

You come home from work, its late, it’s been a long (very) day. You are eating dinner, alone. Your head is down.  (Important to note: Head Down.)  Your spouse of 30+ years looks over from the couch, sees Gaps, and asks if you’ve considered Rogaine.  You lift your head, your mouth is full – you try to validate if you just heard what you think you heard.  You chew. You swallow, and then ask: “Excuse me.  I didn’t hear what you said.”  She repeats it crossing the “Red-Line” of no communication during the first 10 minutes of the King’s decompression zone. You reel from two scuds to the chest, elect to drop your head down with no response and finish your dinner. For the next 123 days, you start your day each morning staring at the mirror assessing the speed of the backward march of your hair line. [Read more…]

(Nostalgia) The taste of early things lives on.

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As a boy I knew none of this. In the summer we went to the beach, Atlantic City, and stayed with my maternal grandparents: my mother, cousins, aunts, and I. Across the bright flatlands and bridges, the earth of the roadside losing its color, we drove, children in a separate compartment, the rumble seat, in back, hair blowing, arms waving in happiness. There was sea smell in the air and sun in the bedroom windows. The rhythm of life was set by adults but the carefree joys were ours.

We played all day in the sand, down where it was smoothest, the green sea hissing at our feet. Not far offshore was the black wreckage of a small coastal steamer. We were unable to go near it but it is stuck there in memory, the sea swelling over it and then pouring away, the water dropping in sheets from its sides…The taste of early things lives on.

In my mouth I feel the freshness of farm tomatoes and salt, the scrambled eggs my grandmother made, the unexpected gulps of sea. In my heart there remains childish love for those cousins, whom I saw only seldom and who later drifted away entirely.

~ James Salter, Burning the Days: Recollection


Image: “Beach Breaks” D.Fodie – Retrospective

Merry Christmas

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The silence of this morning.
The ethereal mist that swaddles this day.
The heartbeats that sleep peacefully under this roof.
The stirring of blessings bestowed by Family.
The blood silently pumps from the heart to the lungs.
I breathe Gratitude.

~ DK


Notes:

 

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