My dear friend, Leaf, asked me if I could fit the following somewhere in a blog post, so here it is:
While Chinua and I were in California, Josh undertook the job of giving Kenya and Kai a rock and roll education. They had the following conversation, as recorded by Josh:
Kenya: “So this David Bowie guy is famous for wearing makeup and being ugly?”
Josh: “No, he’s famous for being one of the most influential musicians of all time! And he died recently and the whole world cried.”
Kenya: “I didn’t!”
Josh: “Yes you did, you just didn’t know it.”
Kenya: (thinks) …
“Mom said that’s just hormones.”
(It’s true, I do say that a lot these days.)
And since I have written that, let me tell you more about the kids.
Tonight, I was washing the dishes I had bargained Solo for (he did all the plates and cups, I did some of the bowls and the forks) when Leafy joined me at the sink.
“You taught me well, Mom,” he said.
“Thanks. How so?”
“As hard as I try, I can’t say the ‘F’ word. I mean, I try and try, and it just won’t come out.”
“Oh. That’s… good?”
“Yeah, I mean, it’s like when I try to say it, my voice won’t work.”
I’ve become quite the lady of leisure in my mid-thirties. I mean, I can pop out to the market without any children because I grew a thirteen year old and a twelve year old who can watch the others for a while, and I don’t have to push carts of screaming children around. Not that we have shopping carts here. Just sidecars, like the chariot.
Although sometimes Isaac wants to come, and then Wookie wants to come, so I load them in the chariot and we go to the market to buy vegetables and milk, but Isaac decides halfway through that he doesn’t want to go to any more shops, and then I have to inform him that he doesn’t get to punk out half way through.
And he’s nice to the fruit lady only half the time, but she’s nice to him all the time. When I got back from California the whole market (think of a big open air market with a lot of separate stalls) was abuzz with the news that I had left to go to America and Isaac had stayed back without me and had come to the market with Ro.
It feels nice to be known. Although it’s less nice to be known if anti-Isaac runs down the aisle shrieking. Anti-Isaac looks like Isaac but doesn’t have the same sweetness and light.
So, sometimes it’s easy to do the shopping and sometimes it takes three times as long, like the other day when I went to the Vegan restaurant to pick up food for everyone at Shekina on Gardening day, and for some odd reason Wookie kept escaping from the chariot and running around the vegan restaurant, and it made me really nervous because I didn’t know whether it was breaking their “no meat in the building” rule to have a dog running around, because she has dog food stuck in her teeth sometimes, and she is kind of live meat, but we’re live meat too I guess. Anyway, I had to put her back in the chariot three times, and I had the three-year-olds, Isaac and Jasper with me too, and they sat at a table and attempted to wow each other with tales of how hard they dance to rock and roll, by which I knew that Josh had got to them too.
And the other night, after community lunch, (which is lunch and then a whole afternoon of hanging out in the garden playing music and washing dishes and sometimes juggling or playing frisbee) Kai, Kenya and Leafy were at Taran’s house playing carrom, which is a game we learned in Nepal, a kind of board game where you shoot pieces across a chalky board and it may have originated with maharajas. They like to play it, so they were there at his house, and I was home with Solo and Isaac. I wanted to go to the noodle lady to get noodles, but realized that I had no babysitters, and I needed to bring the small boys.
So, okay, they got their shoes on after seventeen minutes of looking for them and we walked along our street just as big drops of rain started to fall. I pointed out the yellow flowering tree which has seventeen thousand flowers on it and smells like heaven, just as our naughty dog, who likes to break out and terrorize the neighborhood with cuteness, came tearing down the street. Apparently she had climbed out the window to follow us. I stood there with Isaac while Solo brought her back to the house, and the drops got larger, and I sighed and swung the tiffins.
The older Thai man who likes to exercise a lot in awesome seventies exercise shorts came out to peer at the giant crevice in front of his house, that the road workers had dug that day, and to warn us that it was starting to rain. And we waited and waited for Solo. Finally he came out and ran down the street toward us. So we kept walking, and were nearly to the noodle lady when Isaac informed me that he had left his flip flop back where we had stopped the first time, a block back, and had only just decided to tell me about it. We went back, and now the errand had taken eighteen times as long.
But then we got to the stall, the scruffy, delicious little Pad Thai stall, and all my happiest things were there. Thai-speaking ladies, umbrellas, people-watching opportunities, sitting at a little stall on the side of a street, fruit smoothies, and my boys. And we waited for our food while the rain poured on the umbrellas and we drank the smoothies, which made the boys whole year, because I normally insist that we make our smoothies at home, and Miriam wandered along and sat with us for a while and that was perfect.
So yeah, I love being a mom. It’s the best.