For a Boy Named D, Who is Turning Two (Although ‘Three’ would have Rhymed Nicely)

First ice cream cone, aged 2

As a young man I fancied myself a bit of a poet, and in college I wrote quite a bit – some acceptable, most abysmal. I’ve pretty much given up on any poetic aspirations, but I will still grind something out for a special occasion. I wrote this poem for my elder son’s second birthday.

Some of the references are pretty culturally specific, and it does only what I meant it to do – give a snapshot of a particular moment in my son’s life. I hope you like it.

Two in two weeks

From the far room

where his toys – typical for boys,

T-rex, animals, many wheeled things –

lie unused til morning

or maybe tomorrow

or three days’ time

(his whims and choices change)

he calls for his mommy, or nanny

or sometimes

if all else fails

Daaaaddy.

I grope through the morning-hued hall,

past the fish tank and the playthings,

the fallen cars crashed before bedtime,

and his simple day begins,

much like, but not like,

any other.

He is the brightest child I know.

Brachiosaurus, archerfish, baleen,

drop easily off his little darting tongue.

He is still learning

please and thank you.

He is becoming bossy, defiant –

Daddy, go ‘way

Mommy, come he-ah,

and why not –

he eats what he is given,

tucked into bed when we decree,

is taken here or there without consultation;

small rebellions keep him sane,

let him command a tiny corner

of a world beyond his control.

 

He is ticklish and so frequently tortured.

He is clever and so frequently tested.

What’s this? Tri lo bite!

What’s this? Hip po thomas!

He is a water baby,

a slippery duck, a blue beluga,

a dolphin leaping and whale breaching

to crash down with a mighty splash.

We sing in the bath,

Big barracuda, big barracuda,

Like in movie, he says,

Yes, like in the movie.

Our bed is a boat where he watches the sea,

our blanket-draped chairs a time machine.

We scamper out to visit Jurassic glades

where yellow triceratops mingle

with yellow race cars,

moose stories –

mommy moose, daddy moose, and little baby…

George! he squeals –

turn into scuba expeditions

and clownfish chat with porcupines,

a world with breathable, breakable borders,

a universe of imagination we

have long since learned to slice and sequester,

a gift we lost ages ago.

His eyes gaze into the middle distance

and into his vision ride red race cars,

Doc turning in the dirt,

a million images spinning out

in spools of possibility,

limitless, illuminated by distant suns,

expanding at infinite rate into each new

region of thought, experience,

synapses snapping to life

in the sweep of a smile,

the curvature of syllables.

 

He will toddle his wavering way

into everything we fear and love and loathe,

but although all the missteps, tumbles, stumbles,

the vagaries of time and the victims of chance

stand waiting outside the door this day,

he will look up from his birthday cake

gauging his chances,

weighing his options,

assessing the probabilities,

inspecting the opportunities,

appraising the angles,

and ask,

More gummies, please?

8 thoughts on “For a Boy Named D, Who is Turning Two (Although ‘Three’ would have Rhymed Nicely)

    • Pull yourself together, mummymishy. Or should I say mummy mushy? Thanks for your comments, and thanks for the birthday wishes! I’m more prone to sentimentality than I care to admit, but I try to keep it in check. Cheers!

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      • AWWWW when you have children you are entitled to your sappy moments. A few weekends ago we were driving back from port saint lucie and my 13 year old boy fell asleep on the way home. It’s times like that remind me he is still a child and of course I got all sappy :). I was out of touch with my notifications for quite some time. I apologize for the long delay in replying.

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        • It’s hard to imagine my oldest at 13 – he’s six now – but I do imagine that I’ll still be pretty sappy. Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve been know to cry at the happy parts of movies. Particularly Pixar flicks. In fact, I don’t think there’s been an animated movie that hasn’t made me cry. Sap. Pure sap. But unapologetically so.

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          • That is so funny. I do love the Pixar movies. I don’t know about them making me cry though! 13 is not an easy age but I am enjoying it and I think I am sappier now that he is 13 because to me it means that he is closer to becoming an adult one day. I can’t even think about that right now or I’ll start crying!!!

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