A visit with Dr. Laurel

I’ve been coming down with a cold or something, so I’ve been feeling tired and achy the past couple of days. I told Laurel about it, mostly so she’d know why I wasn’t my usual self. This morning before we left for her preschool, she said, “I love you. I’m sorry you’re not feeling well.”

Tonight before dinner, she got out this thing she’s been pretending is a stethoscope lately, a length of tubing attached to a round bit that screws onto a bathroom faucet. She put the tube in her ear, and the round part on my stomach.

“I’m checking to see if you’re sick,” she said.

There was a pause.

“I’m a doctor,” she assured me.

A minute later, she said, “You’re sick.”

“Oh, that’s too bad,” I said, thinking we were done.

She didn’t move the “stethoscope.”

“In a minute, I’m going to make you well.”

We waited.

Finally she pulled the “stethoscope” from my body and patted me.

“You’re all better now!”

— Beth

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Where the Wild Things Are

“Where the Wild Things Are” is one of my most fondly remembered books of childhood. It now lives, with almost all of my surviving childhood books, on Laurel’s bookshelf, where I let her choose books at will and bring them to me to read. For some reason, she’s never picked this one, and I resisted reading it to her, I think because I knew it would be emotional for me. But, when I heard this morning that Maurice Sendak had died, I knew it was time.

We laid down in her bed and opened the book. I pointed out the monsters; she adores monsters. We read through the story, and she was immediately drawn in. And, as I predicted, I got all misty-eyed, first when Max’s room turns into a forest, and then when they roared their terrible roars, etc., and when the wild things beg Max not to go home. And when he got home, too.

And when we finished the story, Laurel said, “Again!”

We are long past counting Laurel’s age in months now. That said, she is 3 years and 2 months old, as of yesterday (I’m going to try to update this blog monthly on that date, if not more often). She’s a lot of fun, particularly because she is so conversational these days. At first, it was just with us, but in recent weeks the adults at her preschool have remarked on how much she is talking to them. This morning I sat with her while she and one of her teachers played with Duplos. She started building, as she described it, “two chimneys, one for the fireplace and one for the water heater.” This is Devin’s influence; he has been pointing out chimneys to her while they go out on walks, and when they go up on the roof of our house.

Recently, I got a record player in the mail and it was well-packed with lots and lots of styrofoam peanuts. I pulled out the record player and put all the stray peanuts back into the box, which I set in a corner. Laurel looked at it, and then at me, with big eyes. “Do you want to play in it?” I asked. She grinned and jumped right in. It was her favorite toy for a couple of days — a ball pit just her size.

Laurel is going through a phase of mega-attachment to both of us recently. When I’m with her, sometimes she’ll slump down and get quiet. When I ask her what’s up, she’ll say, “I want Papa.” Last week, when I refused to buy her a taco in the middle of the afternoon, she wailed in her stroller as I pushed her up Mission Street; she was crying, “Papa! Papa!” The other night, when I was out at a concert, she and Devin were in the garage and she fell down the ladder. She was fine, but Devin told me that afterward, she got into the car, sat in her car seat (another favorite spot, recently), cried and called out for me. She always wants whichever one of us isn’t right there. It’s kind of heartbreaking.

She has graduated from a standalone toddler potty to a small adapter seat that fights right onto our toilet. She can now climb up onto it by herself (using a stool), use the toilet, get her own toilet paper, put her clothes back on, and wash her hands. And, yesterday — we are in the throes of a minor but snotty springtime cold — she showed me that she can now blow her nose by herself. Hooray! (This is one of those paragraphs she’s going to love reading when she’s 16, right?)

We have been trying to see Laurel’s grandparents more often, so she can become more familiar with them. We’ve seen my parents a couple of times in the past month or so, and it seems to have helped, because she gave them tentative hugs and kisses when we left, which she hasn’t done since she was a toddler and just learned to kiss. I hope that improves and expands to more of the family, because she gives the best, longest, most enthusiastic hugs. They’re addictive.