Childhood

005

The evolution from baby to kid is slow but sure. Mimi has blossomed into independent imaginative play, in the last month or so. For the first time she will draw pictures and build things on her own, without help. For the first time she will mashup her toys: she has a Little People Cinderella, and her Abby Cadabby doll is the Fairy Godmother, and her Hansa Gelbhals Field Mouse is Gusgus, and so on and so forth. She really loves to assemble the casts of her favorite movies.

I was lying on her bed one recent afternoon, playing “naptime” while she messed around with her toys, and for a fleeting moment I felt it: childhood. That snug, secure feeling of enclosure. It was raining outside but it was cozy inside. There had been some morning errands, and grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, and now we were in her room with her toys and nothing in particular to do. It was a sock-footed kind of feeling.

I thought it was odd that I could see her room from her point of view, however briefly. Childhood for her is parenthood for me, with laundry and shopping and cooking and the endless small distractions from everything that I want to do. I know about car maintenance and taxes and those days when you have to go out in the rain if there is to be milk for breakfast. I constantly have a dozen imminent tasks niggling in the corners of my mind.

But for a moment it went away. Her cheerful blue furniture was my furniture. The pictures on her wall were mine. Her bed was a familiar place to sleep.

We have lived in this house for four and a half years now. It’s by far the longest I have lived anywhere since I was in middle school. Maybe that’s it. Maybe it’s familiarity of place.

It was nice.

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