Things I’ll Forget If I Don’t Note Them Now

Meridian

Meridian is at a terrific age.  People speak of the “terrible twos,” and while she does occasionally throw a tantrum, I’ve decided the term is either an urban legend, sour grapes, or something I’m gratefully oblivious to.  Heck, I throw a tantrum now and then myself.  ;)

The truth is, we have a wonderful relationship, unique among any I’ve had.  Although it encompasses a number of facets, it mainly feels like friendship, but at a deeper level of trust than most.  Above all, it is preciously innocent.  Meridian makes me feel like Christopher Robin, while she alternates among the various characters at Pooh Corner. 

I realized early on, with great reluctance, that I wouldn’t be able to capture all the cute or otherwise remarkable things Meridian does.  Time simply moves too quickly.  For better or worse, certain experiences are meant to be enjoyed at the time and cherished later as memories.  Sometimes you have to put down the camera and actually join in the fun.  So I do.

Meridian may not remember these experiences, and they’re likely to fade even for me, but I trust that, over time, they form layer upon layer of sediment that engulfs ancient coins, nifty dinosaur bones, and other buried treasure — all that sparkle compacted into a solid foundation for, well, for whatever we choose to build together.

Here are a number of things I’ll forget if I don’t note them now (or soon).  Some of these are scribbled on loose Post-it notes and receipts, and some are hanging by their last thread to my mental list of “Hey, blog about these so Meridian can enjoy them when she’s older.”

  • We went for a walk yesterday.  Actually, I pulled Meridian in a wagon we’re borrowing from our friend Kate (mother of pal Millie).  We were out of old bread, so Meridian carried a Ziploc bag full of puffed wheat for the ducks in the pond near our neighborhood’s entrance.  After that, we stopped by the tiny park near the pond.  The ground beneath the swings, slide, and monkey bars is covered in finely mulched tires, dyed blue.  At one point, Meridian scooped up a handful of rubber nuggets and offered it to me, saying, “Here’s some bread” (our conversations are always in German, so I’ll just translate for convenience).  I asked her if it was old bread — only ducks eat old bread! — and she assured me it was new.  I cupped my hands.  She dumped in handful after handful, “And this is cheese.  And this is mustard.  And this is ham.  And this is lettuce.”  I raised the heap to my lips and began to “eat,” at which point she burst out laughing, “Noooo!  Ha ha, noooo!  That’s rubber!”  I responded with an appropriately silly double take, “Oh, Meridian, what did you give me?” etc., and this joke repeated, with minor variation in ingredients, at least thirty times.
  • The word for “paper” in German is “Papier,” which roughly sounds like pah-PEE-ah.  When Meridian says this word, she pronounces it “Papipier,” which incorporates the name she calls me (Papi).  This is especially funny when she talks about toilet paper.
  • Not long ago, Meridian was sitting on the hall bathroom counter.  This is where she used to sit (or stand) while brushing her teeth, but we’ve since “graduated” to her standing on a foot stool on the floor.  (Part of the reason for this is because brushing time had become too much of a stand-up comedy routine, and very little brushing was actually accomplished.)  Anyway, she was sitting on the counter with her feet in the dry sink, brushing away.  I was sitting on the toilet … er, otherwise engaged.  I had my arm ready to spot her, if she started to fall — but suffice it to say, I wasn’t in an especially conducive position to supervise.  She had on footsie pajamas, with her covered feet right beneath the spout.  She was brushing, true enough, but her gears were also in motion.  I watched a grin slowly hike up her pudgy cheeks as she caught my gaze.  One hand brushing, she reached the other to the faucet and dramatically paused.  Her eyes said, in German, “If I turn this thing, I’ll totally drench my pajamas!  What do you think — hmmm, should I do it?”  Her timing was superb.  Seriously, I should have videoed the performance for comedian training material.  My eyebrows lifted, and I gave her a stern “No, don’t do it!” with my eyes, but I foiled it with laughter.  See, that’s what happens when a kid is just too cute.  With a flourish, she suddenly spun the faucet.
  • Once, we were in the last stages of making a nice pot of Turkish coffee.  The ibrik was on the stove top, simmering.  For Turkish, it’s important that the coffee doesn’t boil — get close to boiling, yes, but don’t actually.  Alas! Meridian and I got caught up in the pages of a book, and before long, I heard the tell-tale hissing splashes of coffee cooked too long.  I ran to see the results and realized I’d have to start over.  Without any irritation in my voice — just a bit of regret — I shook my head and said, “Gosh, that’s disappointing; that makes Papi sad!”  In a burst of empathy, Meridian abruptly erupted into tears.  I wiped down her cheeks and assured her none of it was her fault; that, on the contrary, I’m so pleased the two of us always make my coffee together.  We started again, and this time kept an eye on the coffee as it entered its pre-explosion foaming phase.  She liked that.
  • Every kid has words he or she pronounces in a unique fashion.  May favorite of Meridian’s lately is the way she says “balloon.”  In English, it’s “tumbloon”; in German, “dumblong.”
  • Further back (I really don’t remember when, anymore), Meridian was waiting for me to finish preparing her peanut butter and honey sandwich.  I cut it half, then each half into thirds, and lay these “dominoes” on the table for her.  I started on my own sandwich and paid only peripheral attention to Meridian’s corner.  Movement was occurring, and I assumed she was eating.  When I finished mine, I looked over.  Meridian had carefully stood up each piece of bread edgewise.  She was on the final piece when our eyes met, and her expression was enough to cajole me into a chuckle.  Much of our communication, especially with humor, occurs without words.  I “get” her jokes, plain and simple — this was something along the lines of “You know, bread is for eating, but I’m standing mine up like blocks; that’s funny!”  Dawn recognizes these jokes, but usually just shakes her head, smiling in spite of herself and saying, “Her sense of humor is definitely yours, David.”
  • Other jokes:  I’m putting in eye drops, head dipped back, and Meridian suggests I put them in my ears next, then my mouth.  (Really, I have to be careful not to poke my eye when she does that, because I’m laughing so much!)  It’s definitely one of those “you have to be there” jokes, but hey, I’m there!  Here’s a perennial favorite:  putting something on one’s head that isn’t a hat.  Might be a pillow, funnel, sock, piece of bread; whatever’s handy.  Works every time.  In restaurants, she likes it when I keep the wrapper from a drinking straw and lay it across my lip to make a moustache.  She has made moustaches of her own out of various materials, sometimes a cheese stick.  Regardless what the site gag is, the part that really makes it for me is Meridian’s expression:  it’s a glint of the eye and a half-smile, almost a flirty wink — she knows she’s making a joke, and she gifts it to you.

I can’t help but think what sort of fun, slightly off-beat personality she’ll have when she’s older.  I’d almost say “I can’t wait!” but, of course, I can … and must.  I love living in the moment with Meridian.  Truly, every day I spend with her is a day she helps me rediscover the joy of simply being here.


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