You’re twenty-two months old as of yesterday. Not long ago I had a fleeting vision of what you might be like when you are twenty-two years old. We were napping together and it came in a dream as I was half-asleep, so vivid and so real and so beautiful. I woke up and was amazed. But in the manner of dreams, it evaporated quickly, and now I’m left with only the memory of the memory.
You’ve been singing along a lot with all kinds of songs. In fact one night I was singing you a lullaby (“Cotton Fields Back Home,” which my father used to sing to me) and I wondered why you never seem to sing along to my lullabies. Then I switched from lyrics to just a “la la la” and sure enough you started to sing along with me.
(Of course, I don’t really want you to sing along with me at bedtime. I want you to relax and go to sleep. We were in a good groove for a while but lately
It rained so much last week that I ended up driving you and your mother to your respective schools rather than riding the bike as we usually do. After dropping Moms off one morning you started singing a song which you kept up for most of the trip. I couldn’t identify the tune, and of course your lyrics are not exactly clear, but it really got my attention because it was the first time I’ve ever heard you sing all on your own. We tried to figure to figure out what you’d been singing when we got to daycare, since it seemed likely that you learned it there. The song had a distinctive triple beat at the end of the verse, but nothing in the daycare repertoire seemed to match. A few days later I realized it was probably…
Ring around the rosey,
A pocketful of posies.
We all fall down.
The triple beat at the end corresponds with “all fall down.”
You’re also chanting along to a variety of nursery rhymes, including “Baa Baa Black Sheep” and “The Gashlycrumb Tinies.”
I forgot to mention it previously, but over the last couple months you’ve demonstrated your imagination is working. I first noticed this when you pushed some blocks together to make a choo choo train.
Speaking of blocks, you got some Duplo blocks as a Xmas present from me. We opened some presents early over the last couple nights. It didn’t take you long to learn how to tear open wrapping paper, and I notice you’ve begun to recognize Santa and call him out by name. It’s a fun time for sure.
But the holidays are tricky in many aspects. Take Santa, for instance. I still recall a sense of bitter disappointment when I learned the truth about him and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. It must have been fairly crushing, given that I still remember it after three and a half decades. What pained me even more was having to feign belief for some years afterward, in order to please my father, as I thought. Of course I don’t want you to experience any such hurt if it can be avoided, but neither do I want to deprive you of the fun of the Santa myth. How to navigate this terrain? Is it possible to let you know this is pretend from the outset, or does that rob the myth of its power? Tricky indeed. I can only try my best.