While tying my shoelaces up for a run, a thought popped into my head, I am not lonely. I came to a shocking realization: I don’t experience loneliness anymore. My family is around me 24/7, I don’t have time to feel lonely, even if I was. It’s not that I’m particularly lonesome in my regular everyday life; my days are full and I keep good company, it was just an interesting observation that at a time when socializing is at a minimum, while there are those I miss, I am not forlorn. My crew is solid.
To follow up on last week’s post, sorry to disappoint those readers who were actively looking for me to fall in poop (you know who you are and you know what karma is), I thought I would fall up (follow-up) with how the poop joke has played out this week. Keep things light-hearted.
Elyse was on a virtual chat with her speech-pathologist reading sentences posted on the screen for both parties to see, when I arrived home. While I was out running an errand, Dan reported Elyse was participating well in her session. The minute I popped my head into the kitchen to check on things the read-aloud sentence that should have been, “Elyse went for a walk,” became, “Elyse fell in poop.” The speech pathologist pressed their lips together and I did the same, but then as I’m much less professional, I burst out laughing. Elyse smiled her cunning, knowing little smile and laughed at her clever joke. She knows how to work a room, my girl.
That evening we were outside in the backyard playing as a family when Elyse tired of the game and went inside. The first time she locked the rest of us out, I coaxed her to unlock the sliding door with a promise of fruit snacks. Don’t judge me, it worked! The second time, I was smart enough to grab my house keys for the front door. After a stern talking to, I headed back outside. We were quickly locked out again, and as we have rigged a makeshift shield to block the bottom of our fencing to protect our pup, the backyard gate can’t open so I had to hop our fence to make it to the front door. I ended up hopping our fence three times. Once Elyse helped herself to leftover Easter chocolate. She held up the bag for me to see behind the locked door. Another time, Penelope got trapped inside with Elyse. Neither of them can open the sliding glass door, but Elyse can unlock it. But that doesn’t help when she locks the screen door as well, because then I can’t access the glass sliding door even after she unlocks it. Oh lalalalala! (this is an expression Elyse’s EA uses in response to her comedics). The third time Ariel had to use the bathroom, and so I made one last scramble over the fence and gave Elyse an even sterner talking to.
“This is not okay, Elyse. Locking us out is dangerous. You need to say sorry! What do you say to mom?”
Looking somber and down at her toes, properly ashamed, finally having learned her lesson she said,
And I couldn’t not laugh.
And we laughed and we laughed and we hugged and I dragged her outside barefoot into the backyard and made her repeat to her dad what she had just said to me, because it was so well timed and unplanned, and it was just so damn smart. Elyse has a wicked sense of humour and through her antics and one-liners her intelligence shines through.
Then she pulled another one over on us. She tried the poop joke again, while chatting on the phone with her Educational Assistant, but nobody was biting. (Oh lalalalala!) Apres lunch, she shifted tactics. We took an hour-long family forest walk, and upon returning Elyse took herself upstairs to her bedroom, tucked herself in, and promptly fell fast asleep. She slept for three hours. Being a seven-year old jokester is exhausting work.
I haven’t slid and fell in poop – yet – we’ve established. In the past, I’ve certainly stepped in doggie doodoo, been rained on by a bird, and experienced the projectile range of a baby’s excretions while diaper changing, but I have yet to fall in poop. Sorry to disappoint. I did once, however, offer to close the open shed in our backyard on our way out the door to a family dinner. The conversation from the front of our van went like this:
Me: “Shed’s open.”
Dan: “Oh. I’m not closing it, called it.”
Me: “I got it!” Flying out the car door.
In a mock sprint along the side of our house, I flew from the front driveway, onto the grass toward our back shed. I was just picking up speed when I hit the grass. One step, two steps…on the third step, my right foot gave way to the soft mud, which I slid through with all the grace of a baseball player sliding into Homeplate. How had I not seen this coming? The mud rode all the way up my leg, imprinted on my backside and onto my back. I managed to avoid my hair. Dan half hid his laughter while asking if I was okay. I couldn’t breathe, I. Could. Not. Breathe. Oh, lalalalala. Laughter is the best medicine.
While I generally abstain from watching tv, in favour of reading books in the evening, lately I’ve made an exception to carve out some adult time. And what have us adults been watching? Comedians. All I want to do right now is laugh.
I want to laugh and I want to be inspired. Not in the cheesy, “you can do this!” kind of way, but in the life offering lessons and grace that awaken my writer senses. On today’s forest walk, it was Penelope, my youngest, making me think. She pointed to a puddle, “Are those piddows from the rain?” But ‘piddows’ sounded more like ‘pillows’ than ‘puddles’ and so I thought about rain pillows, originally rain piddows – whatever you prefer – a wet and restful place to lay one’s head tucked into the earth.
The mispronunciation and misunderstanding of language provided by children is a source of never-ending entertainment. My niece, around age six, once congratulated me on getting something right. She told me I “mailed it”. My nephew, at two, called quesadillas “tasty ideas”. These utterances came out over ten years ago, but we’re still talking about them, asking for ‘tasty ideas’ when what we really want is ‘quesadillas’ and congratulating each other with ‘mailed it’ instead of ‘nailed it’ and there has got to be a reason for that. These memories make us smile and a smile’s just a guffaw away from something more…something uproarious and not at all unpleasant. Something essential.
Elyse understands the value of comedy; she knows what is essential. And she’s not afraid to let a punch line drop. She says the thing you’re not supposed to say, but that everyone is thinking. Her EA told me there was a student wearing overalls and some other fancy get up to school one day. Though she’s supposed to be speaking in French at school, Elyse cut to the chase in her native tongue,
“Why are you dressed like a farmer?”
Everyone had been thinking it, her EA told me. I think a farmer’s dress is practical and pretty snazzy, myself.
Elyse will be the one to stick her tongue out at strangers (much to our dismay), especially if it gets a laugh from the crew. This morning it was replacing the lyrics to “move it, move it”, with “poopy, poopy” as she booty shakes her behind. Ariel often raises her eyebrows and looks to Dan and I in response to Elyse’s pranks. But it’s hard to make out our expressions – the harsh, chastising features that should be there, doling out parenting advice – with our faces turned away from view, shoulders hunched and bobbing, eyes squinting with tears, mouths stifling until we burst. Let it all out.
This is the opposite of loneliness.