My two-year-old’s favorite word these days is doo-doo.
She’ll tell friendly store clerks that that is her name.
She’ll cry for us in middle of the night. I hongry, she’ll say when we get to her crib. What do you want to eat? we’ll ask. Doo-doo, she’ll say, before dropping back to sleep.
My four-year-old and I were recently walking to the playground when she noticed a picture of a young girl, not much older than her, hugging a dog.
Aww, she said, what a cute puppy.
I didn’t have the heart to explain why a picture like that would be posted to a telephone pole, and so I smiled and continued walking when she started to sound out the letters in bold on top of the poster.
Last night, my two-year-old spent the evening dropping fistfuls of fried rice from her high seat while singing Humpty Dumpty had a great faaaaall!
I probably should have intervened – taken her bowl away or redirected her. At the very least I should have stopped making sound effects every time the rice hit the carpet.
But as a poet, I’ve developed the ability to detach myself from my parental responsibilities and view my kids, instead, as adorable little metaphors.
A poet, wrote Randall Jarrell, is a man who manages, in a lifetime of standing out in thunderstorms, to be struck by lightning five or six times.
Maybe it’s just the season that’s upon us but to me the creative process feels a lot less like standing in thunderstorms waiting for lightning than trudging through snow, desperately trying to clear a path.
Because I tend to write in the mornings and play with my daughters in the evenings, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the relationship between children's games and the writing process.
Most of the time, the link is a bit of a stretch.
Hide and seek has potential to offer some common ground – writing, after all, is a process of discovery – but there are only a few good hiding spots in our condo, and my three-year-old is content to hide in the exact same spot ten times in a row.