Sometimes, I watch my son, Henry, through the keyhole on the door to his bedroom.
What a show, I tell ya.
Okay, maybe you wouldn’t be all that interested because he’s not your kid and all, but I’d bet you ten bucks that even if you don’t really like kids much, you’d still push your eyeball trough the slot for a good couple of minutes before you got bored.
I don’t know why it’s so fun, really.
There’s just some weird trigger that gets pulled up in my soggy brain whenever I’m observing him on the sly.
I watch him squirming around in his crib, flip-flopping around like some plastic bag hooked on a tree branch, and I wonder to myself: what the hell is he doing in there?
What the hell is he thinking?
He stands up and laughs at stuff and I don’t have any clue what’s so funny. But, it’s obviously pretty funny to him, right? I mean, he’s in there chuckling to himself like a crazy person, but I don’t think he’s all that bonkers. He might be a bit bonkers, but no more than you or me, I’m guessing.
He laughs at something that pokes at his funny bone, it might be something that he’s looking at, maybe one of the cheap wooden animals I blue-tacked up above his bed, or it might just be a notion he is dreaming up all on his own, it’s tough to say.
And that’s a big part of the attraction for me, I suppose.
There he is, through the keyhole, this rambunctiously sweet wee boy that I helped cook up, and who knows what is going through his head, right? He might darn well be imagining himself as a baby penguin slipping around on some faraway ice. Or he might be pretending that he is a plastic bag up in a tree, for all I know.
Whatever it is, it’s the freakin’ show of shows, man. Watching your kid doing a one-act play in his crib, I’m here to recommend it to you.
Sometimes, I watch him do a couple shoulder rolls into the wooden slats. He stands at one end of his mattress like a pro wrestler just waiting for his big moment, then BOOM, he takes his two or three 4 inch steps across the sheets and just slams himself into the far wall.
Hmph, I say to myself.
That was borderline incredible.
How did he not just bust his head wide open?!
But, he’s always just fine, no worse for the wear. He mumbles some ishkibibble to himself, grabs a slat, pulls himself up and chucks his empty sippy-cup, his ‘bah-bah’ out onto the floor. It hangs in mid-air for a long millisecond and then crashes down with a weak thud on the shaggy rug as I lean in even tighter to the hole just so I can try and catch a good glimpse of his face in the moment.
He growls to himself like a baby dragon testing out his chops.
There is a wicked smile between his cheeks as he stares at the thing he just flung.
Oh Jeez, I can’t help myself then. I smile, too.
It pulls me along, you know, this whole wondering about what it is that’s flashing across the flat screens inside each of my kid’s noodles at any given moment of any given day. It drags me from one second to the next, like a fat sack of lucky potatoes, always getting pulled out into the middle of some seriously cool action, even when it seems like there is nothing going down at all.
Later on, when our children get to be older, eleven or fifteen or whatever, parents like me will have our own scattered memories to draw upon. I’m not as excited about that, really. It’ll take some of the fun away, I fear. Yeah, sure, it’ll definitely be better in the ‘being helpful’ department, what with being able to remember what it was like to strike out in Little League or get yelled at by a teacher or have your heart broken for the very first time.
Being able to align my own heart and my own thoughts with some of their will come in super handy, I know.
But still. I might miss this other stuff.
I might really miss this keyhole spying and melting into the couch stuff that I’m cashing in on these days, while they are so young and unabashed.
Ten seconds pass in a holding pattern of quiet life.
Then, Henry gathers up his Winnie The Pooh blanket in his stubby arms and works as hard as he can to balance it up on the upper ledge of his crib.
He has no idea he is being observed. He has no idea that he is making my day.
I watch him with my one open eye glued to that keyhole; I watch him as he rambles off a line or two of marble mouth and then pushes with all of his young might so that that blanket just rolls off that ledge and slips down onto the floor below, like a cloud falling right out of the clear blue sky.
He watches it for a second.
I watch him watching it.
Wait for it, I tell myself. Wait. for. it.
He bursts out laughing, pointing at the blanket, his eyes glistening with actual magic.
Or something damn close to it, I’d say.
You can also find Serge on his personal blog, Thunder Pie.
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