I am currently the Nanny to three outrageous and adorable nephews. Lincoln, the eldest, is all but five and thinks he must know just about all there is to know. He is calm and sensitive, I can see him becoming a musician. Grant, at the age of three, alternates between furious cuddle mode and just-as-furious furious mode. He is able to build anything and will tell you everything you need to know about trucks. Fwat-bed twucks, concwete twucks, dump twucks, any ‘twuck’ you could be curious about. I’ve never been curious about them, unless forced curiosity counts. The kind where the information is forced upon you (and it is). I can see him as an engineer. His mind is always methodically moving, except in those moments where he doesn’t see the need of using his mind at all and that is exactly when you should run. He is a force to be reckoned with.
Then there is Jackson. He is two years old and every bit a little person all his own. He reigns over his domain with a pudgy, yet iron fist and no injustice towards himself goes unpunished. He does not like to eat carrots, nor any vegetable except cucumbers, and he has a serious relationship with chocolate milk. He calls every person in his life ‘mommy’ (at least a variation of it that sounds like ‘mah-ee’) and he demands the complete attention of whatever ‘mah-ee’ is in the room at that moment. He has two volumes, whisper and EARTH-SHATTERING which he uses when he chooses, not necessarily when its most convenient for ‘mah-ee.’
However, today, his chocolate milk received a jarring displacement. Her name was Rose.
Jack is not overcome by much, but today, at the McDonald’s playground, he seemed a changed man.
We had been there since 11:00 and had seen many little boys and girls come and go. Grant appeared to like other children, but had no use for them, so more often then not he was playing by himself, contented. Jack doesn’t know what to think about other children. It’s one thing when the faces are all the same, there is a comfort in that, but when they appear and disappear at random, it is a source of consternation for him.
I sat and watched them. Somewhere around 12:00 Rose and her mother walked in. She was exactly Jack’s size, perhaps a fraction of an inch smaller, and looked like a toddler fairy with blonde hair and blue eyes. He had been eating and now he was heading back into the fray. She was standing in the center, staring at the slide with a look of uncertainty. Jack wasn’t focusing on much in the confusion of children at play and mothers refereeing but suddenly, he stopped. Rose was two feet away from him. Jack forgot what he was doing, I could see his confusion. What was this?
I’ll never forget how they stood and stared. It was weird. How many times had they seen other children their size? And yet they looked at each other with such a consciousness. I would love to have known what was passing through their minds. For the rest of our time there Jack was ever faithful to this lovely thing that he had found.
She would turn and there he would be, speaking to her in his whisper volume, little childish gibberish that I could not understand. He seemed afraid to touch her. When she was looking at something besides him when he was speaking, he would take his hand, as if to cup her cheek and turn her little face towards his. Yet his hand would hover inches away for he could not bring himself to touch her face.
I have experienced this mode of attention-getting, but never with the same gentle consideration for my personal space. He has no problem turning my face to his with as much force as is necessary.
Rose perhaps was aware of his existence, but did not seem to set much stock in it. She toddled from place to place, Jack ever faithful, and pursued her interests with fervor, but never did her interest extend to him. She would turn and walk into him, he would be shocked, she would be soberly annoyed, then she would circumvent him and toddle on.
I watched them with great enjoyment.
When the time came to take our leave, I called for the boys to put on their shoes and don their coats. Jack loves shoes. He was overcome with excitement, as always, and came at a run. I think he forgot. But as we were about to leave, he became a touch frantic. He struggled in my arms and desired that I would put him down. I did. He went back to where Rose stood, not even aware that he had left (although, lets face it ladies, sometimes that is just an act) and he stuck out a friendly hand and waved it clumsily.
“Bye!” He said and then stood there, obviously paralyzed again.
Rose observed him for a moment, shuffling from foot to foot absentmindedly.
“Rose, say bye!” her mother encouraged.
Rose extended her little arm and wiggled her fingers at him. “Bye.” she responded, her face lightening for the first time with a smile.
I laugh every time I think of Jack’s reaction. I know it’s silly to think he was overjoyed by her first words to him, but he literally turned on his heel jauntily, a massive grin on his face, and walked on air out of McDonalds.
That is probably the last time Jack will see Rose. I would be sad only I know for a fact that the last moment he saw her was the last moment he thought of her. Just like a man 😉