Sunday, January 13, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

Julia had been asking to play downstairs for awhile, maybe a half an hour. The game was on and I wanted to see Manning lose so I told her that we could go downstairs as soon as the game was done. There was only five minutes left; who knows how long that would take. She was quite patient and eventually the game was done and she mimicked me when I raised my arms in triumph. Before heading to the basement I grabbed the book I'm reading - being down there for more than a few minutes gets boring because Julia goes through and plays with the different toys pretty good by herself, just needing some comments and replies to her statements from the adult down there with her.

Once down there, she immediately went for the many bins of fake food that she has to compliment her kitchen set. I settled into the little rocking chair that we have down there. It's cold in the basement and colder in that chair - it's a faux wicker thing that is made to be outside. The chair used to be in Julia's room, but when Finn came along it got relegated to the basement to make more space. As I began fanning through the book to find my place (bookmarks are for losers), Julia was asking me about whether or not I like different types of foods and if I would like that as part of the meal she was making for me. I was reading, she was talking to herself about the different foods and sometimes saying things that I felt needed a response, so I would give one. After awhile she moved onto some toy musical instruments and then her chalkboard. After drawing a chocolate chip cookie she exclaimed that she made an "M". I looked up and there was a few sideways straight lines that really did look like a tilted "M". I'm sure that it was an accident, but she was proud of making it and I was proud that she recognized it. I gave some generic, but genuine praise and went back to reading.

She moved back over to the food and started talking again. It wasn't anything that sounded like I need to reply to it, so I just kept reading. After a few moments, something she said caught my attention.
" help me go to sleep at bedtime."
"What was that, Julia," I responded. She had stopped playing with the food and was looking at me.
"You used to rock me at bedtime so I could go to sleep."
I immediately knew what she was talking about and why, but I wanted to hear her say it. I wanted to hear more from her memory. I wanted to hear her version of what will always be a pleasant memory of those times with my young daughter.
"What do you mean?"
"You would rock me because I didn't want to go sleep."
"Rock you where?"
"In that chair," she said, pointing at me.
"We would rock you in this chair?"
"Yeah, you would rock me to help me go to sleep because I didn't want to go sleep."
We looked at each other quietly for a few moments and then Julia told me she wanted to go upstairs. We put things away and went up.

That particular memory, which I'm sure neither of us had thought about in a long time, was brought back to Julia when she saw that not-so-comfortable chair in the basement. Her words brought back the same memory for me. I'm sure it meant different things for each of us, but it was pleasant for all. Not only was it a good memory that rose to the surface, but it was a feeling that we, as parents, had done some things right so far.