Note – This post was mostly composed months ago; it’s almost a year old. I’m posting it now because I’m in the middle of revisiting lots of drafts of posts. This one seemed done. Not sure why I never published it. – Bud
Setting the scene: It’s just after dinner tonight, and I am in our play room, a converted office full of kids’ toys, assorted vehicles, and a large table stocked full of art supplies. Teagan’s there, too. In fact, she’s the reason I’m there. She discovered four discarded crayons, a leftover project of Ani’s, under the table. She’s only fourteen months old, but she’s been watching Ani, so she knows what those crayons can do.
She carefully lowers herself to the floor, leaning over to a collection of index cards and Curious George notepad pages, another discarded project. (Man, we really need to clean the play room.) She makes a tentative scribble on an index card, exploring the jagged red line she’s producing, her tongue hanging slightly out of her mouth with the effort. A smile and perhaps a bit of toddler drool appears on her lips as she continues to mark, alternating the crayons in her right hand, pressing each onto the card. I watch her watching herself discovering the way that crayons allow her to make marks on paper, the secret excitement only one fellow writer has for another building in my head and heart. Discovering the act of creation is, at any age, a big deal.
Her favorite, she decides between exchanges and random markings on the card, is the blue crayon, and I am able to sneak the others out of sight and mind before she decides to do any furniture or wall scribbling.
But the blue crayon must stay in her hand. The index card, too.
I tell her it’s time for bed and stand up to leave the room. She rises, too, clutching the blue crayon in one hand, the index card in the other. I watch her waddle her toddler waddle to the stairs and realize that she’s taking her tools with her to bed. And up the stairs, which she’s only beginning to climb on her own. I manage to get her to leave the card with me, motioning to her that she can have the card at the top of the stairs. But the blue crayon stays in her hand for the long climb, me one step behind, as she slowly ascends, reaching out the entire time for the card that I’m waving a few inches past her reach.
Her card returned, we begin the bed time ritual. I try to take her tools away to put on her PJs – but she will have none of that, shrill cries telling me just what she thinks of my idea. Until she realizes that I cannot remove her shirt unless she puts them down. Still, she cries and cries as I remove her clothes and change a diaper, only ceasing when, fresh and clean and pajama-ed, I return her crayon and index card to her still waiting fingers.
A few minutes later, she’s ready for sleep, and I place the card and crayon on her dresser. We say night night to them before going to bed.