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18 March 2005 @ 11:27 am
three things I saw yesterday  
1.
On the bus: a two-year-old on his mother's lap. At first he splayed there on his back looking up at her, stretching his arms out like a desperate starfish and grizzling unhappily. When I looked back a minute later though, he'd swiveled around and was leaning over his stroller. His mother had him loosely belted to her lap with one arm, and was looking off to the side, paying him no attention as he handled the stroller straps. Here's the strangeness: it was as if after successfully distracting her, he'd revealed his true nature, an alien or adult trapped in a small body. He fiddled with the straps and buckles with perfectly articulate hands and the focused intensity of someone who is sabotaging his harness in preparation for a planned jail-break. His movements were that of an adult--they conveyed a sophisticated physicality, a level of body language beyond his age. When he finished his work, he returned to being a normal two-year-old, and looked around vacantly.

2.
Also on the bus: a large Indian woman who resembled Marilyn from Northern Exposure. She had long black hair with a scattershot of silver. She settled in front of a man who was sitting upright with one hand resting on the back of her seat, as if maybe he was getting off at the next stop. As the bus moved, the woman removed her hair-tie, shaking her hair loose. A long furl fell across the man's hand while she brushed her own hands through it; she wasn't aware, and he didn't move his hand. He just sat there accepting it like a gift of sensation as she stroked and regathered her hair.

3.
I had to bring my laptop to the Help Desk. A sign hung on the outside of the man's cubicle: "Welcome to the Garden." As I sat there, I noticed bags of potting soil, two plant-growth spritzers, a bag of fertilizer sticks, empty pots, and some garden tools. There was only one living plant, though, a tiny cramped-looking ivy in the corner of his desk. I can't decide if he was just getting started, or if he was down to his last survivor.

Also, GIP. I know other people have versions of this icon too, but I can't let it stop me. Because I want to stare at it more often, imagining shorn Spike.
 
 
 
Miss Murchisonmissmurchison on March 18th, 2005 07:40 pm (UTC)
I've seen two-year-olds like that. They have amazing motor skills for their age, and they are like escape artists. One of my friends looked in her rear view mirror one day to see her 18-month-old dangling upside down by his ankle, almost completing his escape from his car seat. They had a terrible time keeping him in the thing for the next couple of years, even though his older brother still hadn't begun to figure out the mechanism.

My kids were the opposite--verbal. Once we went for a walk with this kid, who was born within a week of my daughter and the kid's mom. The boy yelled, "Big, big!" to which my daughter responded condescendingly, "Yes, Jarrod, that is a great big truck, isn't it?" The boy's mom looked at me, obviously worried about her son's verbal development.

Then we went back inside, where Jarrod proceeded to build a functioning car with legos, complete with wheels that turned. My daughter sat there the whole time, holding a lego block in each hand and slamming them together, asking us over and over, "How do you make these work?"

It was my turn to give the other mom an, "Uh-oh, my kid's slow!" look.
Anna S.eliade on March 18th, 2005 07:43 pm (UTC)
Ha--I love your anecdote. *g*

The boy yelled, "Big, big!" to which my daughter responded condescendingly, "Yes, Jarrod, that is a great big truck, isn't it?"

Because I inhabit a kidless existence, I have close to zero awareness of things like verbal development. I'm never sure, for example, if kids as depicted in movies are being precocious or simply using age-appropriate language. I can't imagine writing about kids. I'm too far away now from being a kid myself, and they're stranger to me than vampires.
Miss Murchison: funnyfacemissmurchison on March 18th, 2005 07:52 pm (UTC)
The thing about kids is that they're people, with their own sub-culture, but within that culture they're very variable. Kind of like vampires too, now that I think of it. Especially since their culture is essentially parasitic. And they understand each other by non-verbal cues, so the ones who are better at communicating with adults can take on the role of "translators." And the ones who are better at motor skills can take on the role of escape leaders.

Some of us have had to become anthropologists and study this strange culture in order to survive our kids' childhoods. Every once in a while, we get a few insights. When they're not exhausting you, they can be very fascinating. Also, lots of adults are inadequately matured, so dealing with my kids was the best preparation I ever had for supervising other employees. (Okay, just wait out the temper tantrum, send him on a time-out home for the day, and then ground him from tv work out a performance plan.)
The Alpha Betadiluvian on March 18th, 2005 09:09 pm (UTC)
Drive-by tangental comment
Reminds me of a story about my cousin. She started talking very early but had the typical "can say half a word but the frickatives and retroflex consonants and whatnot just aren't there" thing going on.

So. Auntie's pushing around a shopping cart in the grocery store, Sarah's in the seat, and there's a young Asian lady nearby. Sarah spots her, points, and says, "Goohk."

Auntie, realizing that her daughter has just pronounced something very like a certain insulting racial term, says to Sarah very loudly, "Guuurrrrlll. Girl, that's right, honey," and hot-foots it out of there.
Anna S.eliade on March 18th, 2005 11:46 pm (UTC)
Re: Drive-by tangental comment
That's probably one of the comments you can't share on "Kids say the darndest things." *g*
ruthless1ruthless1 on March 18th, 2005 08:12 pm (UTC)
See Eliade? This entry is why I love reading your journal. It's going to make me go outside and slow down just a wee bit and try to observe a few bits of the world around me.
Sometimes you remind me of the angels in Wings of Desire (the original German version NOT the massacred US one with Nicholas Cage.) Your writing opens up your characters minds to all of us - we get to witness them from the inside.
*happy sigh*
Anna S.: kandinskyeliade on March 18th, 2005 11:47 pm (UTC)
*blushblushblush* You are sweet. *nibbles you to confirm this*
wadi_reem on March 18th, 2005 08:19 pm (UTC)
::loves you::

hi. i'm a lurker-by-nature, but your post made me smile when I really needed it. thank you.
Anna S.eliade on March 18th, 2005 11:47 pm (UTC)
I am glad! Thank you. You have made me smile too. :-)
(Deleted comment)
Anna S.eliade on March 18th, 2005 11:47 pm (UTC)
You are welcome! :) I wonder if I can get on the Daily Show for the moment of Zen....
Malkin Greymalkingrey on March 18th, 2005 11:33 pm (UTC)
Here's the strangeness: it was as if after successfully distracting her, he'd revealed his true nature, an alien or adult trapped in a small body. He fiddled with the straps and buckles with perfectly articulate hands and the focused intensity of someone who is sabotaging his harness in preparation for a planned jail-break.

My younger son was just about that same age on the day that we discovered -- without any prior behavioral cues by way of warning -- that he had learned how to work the lock on the kitchen door. We found out about his new skill when he got brought back to the house hand-in-hand with the driver of the logging truck that had passed by him just north of our house, apparently en route to Canada.

Which is why I had my work computer set up in the kitchen for the next four years.
Anna S.: kitteneliade on March 18th, 2005 11:48 pm (UTC)
Which is why I had my work computer set up in the kitchen for the next four years.

Oy. *g* Clever fingers.
do you want orcs? because this is how you get orcs: JM: Cool Moneykita0610 on March 19th, 2005 12:27 am (UTC)
Gippity Skippity doo da.

Mmmm. Shorn.
kaydee23kaydee23 on March 19th, 2005 02:34 am (UTC)
You've given me an idea about my writing with this. Thanks.
kaydee23kaydee23 on March 19th, 2005 02:48 am (UTC)
Your two year old reminds me of a story my late mother used to love to tell about me.

I was two, my brother was three, my sister was six. She was driving somewhere fast. We lived out in the country, and at the time, everyone drove 70 - 85 miles an hour on those roads. The speed limit wasn't lowered to 55 until I was in high school.

We were all supposed to be in the back seat. My mother glanced in the rear view mirror, and I was gone. She turned around to see what had happened, and she saw my foot and leg. I had rolled the back passenger window down. I was standing on the door with my left fat chubby toddler foot, holding on with my left hand inside. The rest of me was leaning out as far as I could with my right hand and right foot raised high in the air.

She was driving 80 miles an hour at the time, she reached back somehow, grabbed me, and jerked me back inside the car. The car swerved all over the road and went down in a bar ditch, and she banged my head and body all over the inside of the car. She said I ended up with a swollen shut black eye, a knot on the side of my head, and a split lip.

She stopped the car and turned around and angrily demanded that my 3 year old brother and 6 year old sister explain themselves.

Then she realized how ridiculous she was being for expecting them to understand that they should have told her what I was doing.

My dumb father was thrilled when he heard what I had done and very disappointed that he'd missed it. She had to actually demand that he quit asking me about it because she thought his questions would encourage me to attempt a reinactment.
tabaqui: betterw/sueworldtabaqui on March 19th, 2005 03:57 am (UTC)
A long furl fell across the man's hand while she brushed her own hands through it; she wasn't aware, and he didn't move his hand. He just sat there accepting it like a gift of sensation as she stroked and regathered her hair.

Dude.


And yeah, the haircut is damn fine, i don't care that i DO lobby for 'long hair for everyone' laws.
:)