Archives for the month of: August, 2013

Our trip to the library yesterday has replenished our stock  – yes, we have lots (and I do mean LOTS!) of books at home, but new books are always welcome anyhow. Mrs. Katz and Tush, by Patricia Polacco, is one of them.

Mrs. Katz and Tush

While I was preparing food for a new mama with Baby Boy asleep on my chest in the Ergo, Matthew read to Baby Girl. In the book, Larnel, an African-American boy, gets his neighbor Mrs. Katz, a childless, elderly Jewish immigrant from Poland, to take in a homeless kitten by agreeing to help her care for it. A friendship burgeons and blossoms, and Larnel learns how similar their pasts are, full of oppression but of love, too. It’s educational and informative but isn’t preachy. It’s touching without being maudlin, in spite of what could seem like a contrived relationship. For the record, it does not come off that way – it is as genuine and believable as any relationship one might have with a neighbor. (I had a neighbor Grandma Grace as a little girl…maybe some of you had someone, too?)

Spoiler alert!

When her cat, Tush, about whom she often adds, “Such a person!” has kittens, she says she’s finally a bubee – a grandmother.

The story end in the way a story about a grandmother figure often does:

“As the years passed, Mrs. Katz, Tush, and her descendants became part of Larnel’s family.
There were graduations, weddings, new babies, and finally a kaddish.

Larnel stood in front of the headstone.
He read from her book.
He placed a small rock on top of her headstone.
Then he, his wife, and their children read the inscription together.
MRS. KATZ, OUR BUBEE…SUCH A PERSON.”

Matthew paused on many pages, as it’s the kind of book that gives you a bit of a punch in the gut. He didn’t read the final page aloud, either.

After this, Baby Girl needed to go potty. As she headed off, he told me how, when they went to Mrs. Katz’s husband’s grave, Baby Girl said, “We will die. But it will not be for a long time.” He then had me read the last page, which I hadn’t heard. We teared up over the nature of life, the nature of death – they’re sort of a package deal.

From the potty, we heard, “Daddy, I peed out! Daddy, my pee got on the floor!”

Thank God for children. They’ll have you crying in your soup one minute and laughing the next. Sometimes, you’re doing both. Just be sure the soup doesn’t come out of your nose.

Polacco, Patricia. Mrs. Katz and Tush. New York: Doubleday, 1992.

We survived an unexpected doctor’s visit yesterday (Baby Boy was beside himself, crying and screaming and inconsolable, for hours – nothing was apparently wrong besides being extra tired, and today has been a far better day), and today, we had a lovely trip to the swimming pool. Sister LOVES to swim, with floaties, and Brother has the crazy little-babies-kick-in-the-water thing going on. It’s some instinct, I tell you – I’d both love to and be terrified to let him try to swim in the water. We ate ice cream and hot dogs and Baby Boy smiled a lot. Baby Girl was enormously happy herself. She cracked us up on the car ride home, at one point, repeatedly saying, “Hola,” like “Diego’s daddy said.” With each syllable overemphasized and repeated until the sounds lost nearly all meaning, we laughed. Undeterred, she said, “I’m teaching you!” to her daddy until he repeated the sounds back to her. “That’s Spanish talk!” Ah, that girl.

And then, getting ready for bed tonight, we had a super sweet moment. “I love you!” I said to Baby Girl.

“I really, really love you a lot,” she said, and my heart swelled and pounded and did a flip or two (I guess it was at the pool on the diving board).

Then, apropos of what I don’t remember, I said to Baby Girl, “I’ve seen you every day of your life!” I’ve slept away from her once, for one night – when Baby Boy was born – but I still saw her each day. 

“No,” she said, with certainty.

“Yes, I have!” On this one, I felt sure. The furthest away I’ve ever been, drive-time-wise even, was an hour and a half, and that’s just been once, and just last month. I’ve been with my girl a lot.

“No,” she went on, “we will die. At the end, we will die.”

Oh. Yes, I’ve seen her every day of her life, and while at some point that will cease to be true because of sleepovers and trips and college, at some other point, that will cease to be true because I (please, let it be me before her) have ceased to be. 

Ooof.

What does she see when she looks at the world?

What does she see when she looks at the world?

Today we returned home from a week at the beach, and today, Baby Boy is 17 weeks old.

And today, he learned some new tricks. While holding onto my fingers, he pulled himself from sitting to standing, using his own strength and not my lifting. He’s learning the Happy Baby pose in yoga – he started grabbing his own toes! And, in that same vein, he began grabbing other objects, too – books, stuffed animals, what have you. Before, he’d just look with interest while apparently thinking, “It’s a shame that there’s no way for me to touch this interesting toy held only inches from my face.” Ah, little one, but there is! And now, he can, and he does, and he will continue to do so.

And just like that, much more of life is within his reach.

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