Washing dishes. Water across plates. Food remnants in the trap. Water slow to drain.
He says he wants to play the piano. They walk through the kitchen from family to living room. Pass behind me. A sound. A felt sense.
Sponge and brush and soap. Tupperwares. Silverware. The cut on my thumb stinging in the water.
The notes from the piano. Expecting crash and bang. A cacophony of fingers slamming keys. I stop. Turn off the water. The notes are quiet. Searching. Loud, then soft. Legato continuous. He finds a melody. Repeats it. One hand accompanies the other. Exploring. Jumping octaves. Shifting dynamics. The sound of listening. He is paying attention to what he is doing.
I dry my hands with a towel. Lean against the wall. Hidden, so he doesn’t see me. So I don’t distract him. The song continues for a few minutes.
Joy. Emotion rushes through my head. My face. I smile. Enjoying this moment.
Him playing music.
He speaks of emotions in colors. Each emotion a color. For him, happiness is blue. He wonders if the color remains the same when the word is expressed in another language. Is happiness blue in Spanish? Or is it yellow?
February 20, 2015
Today in the car, my son said, I will not die. Seemingly out of nowhere. I will not die.
Everyone dies. I said.
No, not me.
It’s a part of life. Everything dies. When people get very old they die.
Only plants die. Kids do not die. Only parents and dogs. And cats die.
Well, this isn’t something you need to worry about right now.
I do not want to die. kids don’t die.
You have a long long time before you need to worry about that. Let’s talk about this another time when you’re older.
Then he went back to singing along to What’s This? from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
February 26, 2015
In his pajamas he sits at the table. Laptop in front of him. Watching people open toys and stockings and eggs and backpacks while he eats Honey Nut Cheerios and vanilla yogurt. Legs folded underneath. Eyes intent. Diffuse light through thing curtains of dining room. I prepare to shovel snow.
My son was sick on Saturday. We woke early. Earlier than usual. I told him I’ll get up, but I’m just going to sleep on the couch. I’m not happy about this. We got down to the kitchen and before I could turn on any lights he said, Dad, my stomach hurts. My first thought was – Is he hungry, or does he have to shit? I asked, what does it feel like? He said, like this. Then he threw up on the kitchen floor. I quickly picked him up out of the encircling puddle. Set him down. He threw up again. I moved him again. It’s okay, I said rubbing his back as he looked dazed and surprised. I don’t know why I did that, he said confused. We went to the bathroom to clean him up, wash his body and face. New clothes. Then on the couch watching Dora while I cleaned the kitchen floor.
Two hours later and he threw up on the couch. Then the carpet. And then my hands as I tried to catch the dark bile to keep it from staining.
He swung between wanting to play – building towers, Batman, falling in the water – and curling up next to me and sadly saying I’m tired.
Four hours later while he curled next to me as we watched Team Umizoomi he said Dad, I have to go to the bathroom. He looked at me with the look. I carried him and ran to the bathroom, setting him on the floor in front of the toilet.
Instinct takes over
clutch toilet seat sides
heave chest and stomach convulse
It’s okay soothe
rub back and shoulders
pause and repeat
then hug and clean up
last night we had a dance party to feedbacker. at first i thought it was the soundtrack to deadman while we ate dinner. then my son started to dance at the table. then the song exploded and we all danced in the kitchen. check that off the parent fantasy checklist! note – we rocked it to the version that boris did with merzbow, which isn’t available for listening on youtube i guess.
yo gabba gabba
ni hao kai lan
fucking atrocious abominations:
go diego go
fresh beat band
- expect updates on these lists
- evan lurie does the music for backyardigans and oswald
- sesame street is clearly acceptable and needs no further mention. they recently showed video clips of families and included poc, multi-racial, and same sex parents.
her overall piece is about the artist, alice neel, and the choices she made as an artist, human, mom, etc. and the whole thing is worth a read, but this little section spoke to me today.
courtesy of jessica hopper.
I thought of art-making as instinct until I had William, and now, I think of it, like everything else, as a choice. It would be easier, much easier, to be only a mom–not to write, not to fill his every nap and night time with work or trying to keep up on music or reading or ideas. I think when you become a parent, everything outside of that relationship shifts to being a choice, even the things that seemed immutable, automatic and absolute before–those are secondary, or at even further down the list. Your old hours seem a luxury, you cram where you can–your inner artiste has been deputized to other duties.
To have both–“a life”, or a job, or a modicum of creative fulfillment–and a family is to “have it all” though, right? Really, just to feel human and a continuing participant on Earth–BOTH seems the minimum. That choice of making art is choosing to live, choosing to continue your existence–beyond being a vessel, a minder, a milkmaid and a parent.
this eloquently puts into words something that i’ve been feeling for the past nine months now. well. six months. the first three, i couldn’t really think at all.