Saturday, June 25, 2011

Banana Flambé or “How To Burn The House Down In Two Easy Moves”

I was next to the sink. Mister was next to me, his waist bent over the back of the chair he had sidled over to the counter. Sis was on a chair next to him, bumping him with her body to express her disapproval at his being allowed to help at all. Peanut was next to Sis. She was also next to the toaster oven and the banana tree. Mister, Sis and I applied what remained of our late afternoon concentration on the task at hand – the expert assembly of layered pudding parfaits complete with two kinds of pudding, bananas, shredded coconut and Nilla wafers. Peanut applied her reserves of attention to toddler inquiry. Then we smelled something burning. I pulled two smoking bananas from the toaster oven and gave you-know-who a talking to. She tipped her chin down, averting her eyes and showed me the fluffy top of her head.

This is what we do, she and I. She discovers, disassembles, disappears. I chastise, chase. Click my tongue and shake my head.

Yesterday she tried to leave for Seattle with a close family friend. The other kids hugged our friend good-bye. Peanut put on her sister's shoes, four sizes too big and on the wrong feet. She zipped up her rain jacket and headed out the door with no pants.

A few highlights from the day:
- Today she led me to her room to show me where she had had an accident. I looked around for the puddle. “Peanut, where did you go potty?” I asked. She looked me in the eye and answered in all seriousness. “All around in a circle.” So I fetched the pet deoderizer and sprayed the trickled circumference.

- I caught hold of her ankle and drug her out from the bottom shelf of the Adult Fiction section during the magic show at the Public Library.

- She found me dutifully doing the neck exercises assigned by the physical therapist to whom I had complained about a six-month headache. As I contorted myself over an exercise ball she came and crawled onto my back with a hairbrush.
“Want me to do your hair?”
“No thanks.”
“Sure, okay. I’ll do it.” The brush raked through my ponytail until it was transformed into a beehive kept up by a combination of sweat and static. “Looks good. Do you want to see?” She asked, tilting her head and offering me a magnifying glass.

- But she also grabbed my face between both her little hands and told me I was her best friend. Never mind that I was the seventh person she told today and one of the only with whom we are on a first name basis.

Go, Peanut, go.

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