Tag Archives: conversations with the Small Boy

Like A Seahorse



“I’m a  good Daddy.”

“Oh yeah? Whose Daddy are you?”

“My babies’.”

“Which babies?”

“The ones in my belly.”

O_O <– my reaction

“I will have babies in my pouch in my belly, Mama. Like a Daddy seahorse. And I will take care of them.”

“I’m sure you’ll be a great Daddy, baby.”

Just not for a solid twenty-five years.


A Little Longer Here With You

Her name was Joanna, but I didn’t learn that until the end of the second summer. To me, to the hundred other girls a week at camp, she was “Sam.” She was one of two counselors-in-training (CITs) those summers and she was amazing. Energetic and silly, mischievous and kind. And she sang. Always she sang.

When she reappeared at camp a few summers later as a full staff member, she had a new camp-name, TBear, but it didn’t change her essential coolness. I would have followed her anywhere, and probably did follow her everywhere I could.

Every night, we’d build a fire in the fire circle by the pond and she would sing.

Twenty years later, I lie in bed with my three year old son asking him what song he would like. He has exhausted my usual repertoire of lullabyes.

“Mama? I want a new song.”

I stare blankly into the milky darkness of his bedroom for a moment before the song comes into my head–full blown and ready to go. Not only did Joanna teach it to me, I in turn taught it to hundreds of girls in turn as a CIT and counselor.


I want to linger
a little longer–
a little longer here with you.

It’s such a perfect night;
it doesn’t seem quite right,
that it should be my last with you.

And come September,
I will remember
my camping days and friendships true.

And as the years go by,
I’ll think of you and sigh.
This is goodnight and not goodbye.

I want to linger
a little longer–
a little longer here with you.

“I like The Linger,” he says to me when I finish it. “How do you know that song?”

“I learned it at summer camp.”

“I will go to summer camp.”

“I hope so, baby. I do.”

A few moments later, I closed the door and I realized several of the lullabyes I sing, I know from Joanna. They’re so much a part of me, I’d forgotten where they came from.

Dig deep to find what, from your childhood, you still know from heart.

Cinnamon Toast and Tongue Kisses

Two recent conversations with the Small Boy:

Not too long ago we were getting ready for breakfast, still in our jammies.

“What would you like for breakfast, lovey?”
“Cim-nim Rolls.”

Here, he means Pillsbury, from the can, not to be confused with my Sticky Buns, which are a work of culinary art and a one way ticket to clogged arterial bliss.

“We don’t have Cinnamon Rolls, baby. But I could make you cinnamon toast.”

At which point he looked at me as if I had perhaps suggested he stand on his head. So, I explained cinnamon toast.

“I would like that,” he says.
“If you don’t like it, I’ll eat it,” I offer.
“You can make your own,” he replies.

Oh, can I?

Another night we were out for Japanese, followed by a stop at Ben & Jerry’s on the way home (sushi followed by ice cream has long been a part of the language of our little family). In line at the scoop shop, I’m holding Felix up to see the flavors, and he looks at me, sticks his tongue out as far as it will go, wiggles it, and says, full voice, “Let’s do tongue kisses!”

I was laughing too hard to finish the ice cream order.

We’ve been doing nose, or Eskimo, kisses lately, and I guess in the average three-year old brain, it’s not that far of a leap from lips and noses to tongues, but good grief! Why does he always say stuff like this when we’re out in public?

I Love You, Too, Baby.

I had a rough day last Friday.

The kind of day that makes you call for a do-over. I’m usually miserable at work, but I fake it through the day with a little help from my friends. This day had it in for me from the get go.

So we got to lunchtime. On top of the daily shenanigans I deal with, I was tired, sick from the antibiotics I’m taking to fight the probable Lyme infection I got from a tick I’m pretty sure I picked up at my place of employment, and dealing with three children who were hell-bent on being as loud and uncooperative as possible.

And who did I take it out on? Who bore the brunt of my misery and frustration?

My son.

I lost my temper. I yelled. I made him cry.

And then I hid in the kitchen, avoiding my own poor behavior and guilt, until nap time.

A half hour later we all sat in Betty’s room, the big kids ready for their naps, watching me a little warily–was I likely to go lose it again? I was about to open a book of Frog and Toad stories when Felix hops off of Betty’s bed and hugs me, kissing me softly on my cheek.

“Does that make you feel better, Mama?” he says.

Then he stands up, takes my face in his hands and looks me in the eyes. “I love you.”

I held onto him like a drowning person. This little person, this boy, my son, simply amazes me. So I let all the awful stuff go. In that sweet moment, I let it go.

“I love you, too, baby.”

Homonymous: The Sequel

My husband, a carpenter and licensed contractor, heavily influences Felix’s vocabulary. And if you’ve been reading long enough, you’ll know it sometimes results in hilarity. If you haven’t read that story? Go. This will be here when you get back.

Now that his best friend is a super girly girl, he’s also well versed in accessories. He’s amassed a collection of plastic rings from the tops of cupcakes, which he has linked together. He uses them for all sorts of imaginative purposes.

This morning while he was busy applying pretend caulk to the door jambs in the upstairs hall, I was scrubbing, toning, seruming and moisturizing my no-longer-young skin.

Until I heard this:

“Mama? I’m caulking the doors so we don’t get cold going through. With my caulk rings.”

Suffice it to say, moisturizer stings when you snort it.

One Could Do Worse

I have an old copy of A Swinger of Birches: Poems of Robert Frost for Young People.

Before Felix was born, I filled the bookshelf my father built for me when I was a child with all of my childhood books. Lovingly arranged with the Sandra Boynton board books I got at my baby shower and Guess How Much I Love You are my copies of The Dark Is Rising and A Wrinkle in Time. Miss Rumphius, Bread and Jam for Frances. A Swinger of Birches.

So, every now and again, from between his many favorite stories, he pulls out a memory, pages slightly yellowed and musty with age.

Two nights ago he pulled out the Frost. I read him Birches, The Oven Bird, and Canis Major, before moving on to his current favorite, Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton.

Last night he pulled it out again,we read The Road Not Taken and The Drumlin Woodchuck. Then it was on to Dumpy the Dump Truck (a very sweet story by the incomparable Julie Andrews).

Tonight for a third time he pulled it out. I opened it to Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening. He said, “No, Mama. I want the Birches one.”

No, Mama. I want the Birches one.

One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

He Knows Which Side His Bread Is Buttered On

Felix and I are at the kitchen island this morning. He’s having apple juice and a gummy vitamin. I’m paging through Cooking Light.

“Oh,” I say, struck by a lovely dress in an ad.

“What?” says my Small Boy, concerned.

“I love this dress,” I reply, running a finger lovingly over the page. “It’s so pretty.”

Felix considers a moment.

“Maybe my Gramma could buy you that dress,” he suggests.

Birthday Cake Wishes

Says our friend, Mr. Morgan, in his signature deadpan, in regards to the candles on his daughter’s birthday cake, “I wish for world peace.”

Says my Small Boy, “I wish for a little piece.”

How to Blow A Kiss

He blows air out in a slow, steady stream.

“What are you doing,” Mark asks him, laughter in his voice. We are all three snuggled up in the bed. It’s Wednesday, and we’re not going anywhere. Snow, sleet, freezing rain. It’s warm under the comforter. He’s perched in the valley between our hibernating forms, watching us like an expectant little bird.

“Blowing kisses,” he says. The duh is implied.

Because we know his rules for this part of the game, we “catch” our kisses, “unwrap” them, and om-nom-nom them.

My son? Blows Hershey’s Kisses.

“Now you,” he orders. Ah, the benevolent dictator in fleecy monster-truck pajamas.

Mwah! I kiss my hand, blow the kiss towards him.

“No, mama! Not like that!”

He very slowly and deliberately blows a stream of air.

“You don’t kiss your hand first,” he explains to me, with infinite patience, as if I am the three-year old. I hear myself in his tone.

I imitate him, as does his dad.

Delighted, he “catches” both kisses, “unwraps” them gleefully, and throws his head back in joy, nomming them up.


Mama's Losin' ItPrompt #3: Describe the last thing that made you laugh really hard.

Not exactly guffaws, but it made us all giggle on a cold, snowy morning!

An Actual Conversation

“Mama? Can I have some Goldfish [crackers]?”

“Yes, you can.”

“Can I have them in a colored wine glass?”