Joshua Nelson Lindeen …
You are currently crawling around your craft table, in mismatched pajamas, and a probably grossly soggy diaper. One boot on, one boot off, pushing a Sesame Street bus full of random toys. The fort I made for you has collapsed, but you don’t seem to mind. For the first time in about 37 minutes, you speak my name, which has actually recently changed to “Mommy” (apparently “Mama” is for babies…) You bring me the engine of your Little People Zoo Train, saying “Mommy! Uh oh?!” I tell you to go find the other pieces, which you promptly do, limping just a little due to the one boot situation. I continue typing and you suddenly appear with the other two pieces of the train. I grab the engine, and say, “See? Now we just click them together” to which you respond affirmatively “Yes.” And you scamper away, as much as one can scamper with only one boot, to place your “woo-whoo chugga chugga” on the floor under the chair that used to support your fort. I smile gratefully and turn contentedly back to my tasks. Moments later I hear “Uh oh! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” and I think to myself ah the bliss of independent play is coming to an end… and I ask my little buddy what he needs. Interpreting the various arm gestures, grunts, “eh ehs” and “uh ohs” I determine that he wants to animals that go with the zoo train. Due to recent organization efforts, all animals are in a tub on the top shelf of the closet. I explain this to him as I get it down. “Wow wow wow!” he exclaims as he digs through the tub, engrossed in this new discovery of old toys.
Moments later I hear “Nonnie! Nonnie!” and I can’t quite figure out why he’s calling for my mom. He comes running up to me holding a plastic Lego “hop-po” (hippo) and I realize he knows that this is from Nonnie’s house–a stowaway in Christmas luggage that we’ll have to return someday. “Yes buddy, that’s from Nonnie’s house, isn’t it?” “Yes.” And off he goes, to fill the train with hop-pos and whys (lions). I stop briefly to help him put the tractor hood back on, and watch as he places the train conductor in the smoke stack, because apparently this is where he belongs.
I’m well aware that I’m still in my PJs (though they do match), and drinking my coffee, and the front entry way is blocked by a fallen fort and many many toys. We have people coming over for a vocal rehearsal in precisely 29 minutes, and a small, very small part of me thinks I should pick up a little.
But the joy of being this little guy’s Mama, and the incredible relief and joy of watching him learn to play so well independently causes me to laugh at the urge to clean up. I instead attempt to capture this beautiful moment in words, and go back to sipping my coffee and writing some letters.
(He has since filled the Jungle Car full of animals and safari people, and as he pauses every few moments to wipe his incredibly runny nose, he sings to himself and I can hear him counting. [Which sounds like “Di Di Di!”] For a moment he grabs his baby doll and cuddles it, whispering his baby sister’s name and singing a little song. He feeds her some play-doh spaghetti that he made earlier, and then tosses her to the side, grabs a play cell phone, and says “Hi? Babble babble babble….Hi? Bye!” and the playing goes on … on and on and on. I LOVE THIS.)