July 6, 2012
By Ekta R. Garg
Enjoy these Spurts from the last two weeks, readers!
When the girls first began talking, they used to address their father as “papa.” Taking in the charm of this affectionate title and how much my husband enjoyed hearing it, I ordered a copy of Eric Carle’s sweet book Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me. It’s a wonderful tale that teaches about the phases of the moon by way of a little girl named Monica who asks her papa to bring her the luminous orb from the sky. The girls have read our copy several times, marveling at the foldout of the large moon at its fullest.
Somehow talk of the book came up when we were driving home from swimming lessons earlier this week. The topic began when Six mentioned she had a friend named “Onika” in her swimming class, and Three thought at first Six said “Monica.” When Six cleared up the name issue, both girls began giggling about the rhyming names. All of a sudden one of them began in a sugary voice, “Papa, please get the moon for me…or you’ll go to the storage room!”
The two fell into a fit of uncontrollable laughing as they took turns declaring the edict. Our storage room remains the only place in the entire house the girls fear, and I threaten them with it, oh, about 20 or 30 times a week. The threat works every single time, and because I have no other recourse I end up resorting to it more than I probably should.
The girls are old enough to know when we’re joking about the storage room, however, and when we’re serious, and they’re also old enough to tease us with it when the mood fits. So they found it especially amusing to joke about sending their dad to the storage room if he didn’t fulfill the request. It didn’t matter, of course, that he couldn’t hear them. Simply ordering him to bring the moon and adding in an ominous tone the consequences if he didn’t provided enough entertainment for them. And I couldn’t help it; I started giggling myself.
Somehow, though, I don’t think he would be as amused if I asked for the moon. Or the stars. Or both.
One day as she got ready to take a shower, Six looked at me and asked, “Mama, in our next house, are we going to have a backyard?”
There were so many things about that seemingly simple question that made me pause before I answered. In my own childhood, I spent the first 15 years of my life in the same house until we moved to a new home my parents had custom built. The new house went up about nine miles away from the old house, and I lived in the second house until I went away to college. Even now when I take the kids to visit my parents, we go to this second house that quickly became the new and improved version of “home.” But changing houses still allowed us to stay in the same town, so even though we had to get used to a new space we didn’t have to find new grocery stores and new back roads and new friends.
My own children have had a radically different experience. In the six years of her life, my elder daughter has already lived in three different homes (including the one we’re in now.) My husband’s job has an extensive training period, allowing us to move from one location to another. He’s a physician and learning valuable skills within each program he’s attended, which only enhances his ability to treat patients when he joins a practice sometime next year.
Living in different cities across the United States has given us the opportunity to meet some wonderful people and experience life in a variety of climates. Not many people get to move around like this (unless you’re military, of course.) And for the most part, I’ve found it fascinating to compare and contrast our various homes and cities.
But—and there’s always a but in situations like these—once in a while we across something that makes me look forward to a time when we’ll finally move into a home and a city for the last time. And when Six asked me the question about finally having a backyard, I thought of all these things in that half-minute of hesitation before I finally answered that, yes, we mostly likely would have a backyard.
“Good, because I wish we had a backyard now.”
I reminded her that even though we don’t have a backyard—we have a small patio-type area off a sliding glass door—we had a huge lawn in front of our home that we share with the other condos and apartments in our complex. The lawn sits literally three paces away from our front door and includes a small swing set and sand box. So the girls do have a place to play.
But as Six reminded me that morning, there’s nothing quite like a kid’s own backyard.
As we’ve gotten ready for the kids’ birthday party this weekend, Six has insisted on helping me with preparations. She has helped me fill goody baskets, and she wants to help me bake the cookies. On her actual birthday day she helped me bake her cake, and she decided on that very day to make her own lunch all by herself (a turkey-and-cheese sandwich; she took out all the ingredients by herself and under close supervision applied the mayo to the sandwich with a bread knife. Then she made her sister’s sandwich.)
The latest milestone has been to learn how to take a shower under the showerhead, as opposed to sitting in the tub and trying to fit her long limbs under the tap. Last night after her swimming lesson, I decided to take a chance and asked her whether she wanted to give the regular shower a shot. She hesitated but decided to take a chance, and I pulled the shower curtain shut and gave her instructions on what to do. I stayed and watched through the curtain, coaching her on each step of the way and when she finished she beamed.
I’m still getting used to talking my first-born through these various phases of her life. When did my babies grow up? I realize I probably say this often, but while I’d heard many times that children grow up fast I’m watching it happen on a daily basis. I’m excited to watch them through this part of their lives, but I also wish I could keep them here. And in all honesty—I’m not really looking forward to the teenage years.