Friday, March 5, 2010

A mess of toes

Note: this is a second post containing references to "The Christmas Song." For context please refer back to this.


We used to wrestle a lot. Push and pull, laughter, assisted crashing onto the futon and pillows. John has experienced now that the push and pull and laughter can come from words. Sometimes where we would have wrestled before, we have a little conversation that goes as long as his patience. It then folds into either wrestling, or John deciding that it is time to leave the room and commence playing for the day.

"John, what are your favorite foods?"

"Oatmeal cookies."

"What else are your favorite foods?"

"Animal cookies!"

"Okay, what else are your favorite foods?"

"Turkey. And some mess of toes!"

Having recently introduced tiny sliced turkey squares into his lunch, I am feeling successful for a moment. Look at this feeding progress; he already says turkey is one of his favorite foods...wait a minute.

"Mess of toes?"

"Turkey and some mess of toes. 

"What's a mess of toes? Are you being silly?" (me, inviting sillytime)

"The foeff everybody knows!" (he, resisting sillytime because communication is coming first this morning)

"What's a foeff?" He's working up to something good, I just know it. 

"The foeff everybody knows!" 

I'm trying to figure out what a foeff is, but I can't stop myself from repeating, "Toes, mess of toes...." The easier prize seems to lie there.

"OH!!! You said turkey and some mistletoe!" I start laughing, hard. He joins in but not for as long.

"Your mouth is open while you are laughing!" Fascination with Mommy's open mouth, bordering on disgust.

"Turkey and some mess of toes!" he says to make me laugh with my mouth open again. I do, then stop....

"Wait. Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe...wait a minute, when you said foeff were you saying FOURTH? What's the fourth line of that song? One Chestnuts, um, two Jack Frost, three Yuletide mumble mumble.... fourth EVERYBODY KNOWS! How did you know that?"

Innocent smile from John. Look of patient happiness that Mommy has finally gotten it.

This is like getting close to solving a jewel heist. Some people are happy that their kids can multiply three digit numbers at age 5. I'm excited that I can figure out that he has the lines of this song numbered. If the song had three digits worth of lines, I don't think I would have been able to follow the mystery long enough.

John, observantly: "You stopped laughing."

Then with a bit of wish: "You stopped laughing."

So I laugh again. He laughs too, easily.

"You know John, your mouth is open while you're laughing, too." 

He puts a tentative finger to his exposed front teeth.

I think foeff is important. But John has moved on to uncovered teeth. The beautiful moment of laughing mystery word tension, has passed into quiet.

It's okay though. I won't miss hearing about a mess of toes. Because at perfect moments throughout the week when toes are mentioned seriously (such as at the orthotist), thanks to some story from preschool, John will predictably holler:

"Whooz GOT my HAIRY TOES!"