Tuesday, May 10 2022

morning naps, smalltalk, and neighborhood walks

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. What's the word on the street today?

Today, it's beautiful outside. We wake up well past the sunrise, and the temperature is already soaring into the seventies. It's safe to say we skipped the rest of spring. But sitting here in shorts and a t shirt in a bright, sunny dining room, I'd be hard pressed to complain about the situation. The warm weather, albeit a little extreme, is still a nice change of pace.

I just woke up from a morning power nap about a half hour ago, and I can tell you we've tweaked the morning nap situation. Frustrated with how often the dogs bark at something outside, Marissa relocated her nap to the upstairs bedroom, and the dogs followed. As a result, the morning nap just resembles our night time routine - everyone getting into bed.

Ollie found a warm crevice on top of my arm. Too comfortable and sleepy to move him off, I decided to just leave my arm pinned underneath his body.

The morning nap gang remains upstairs sleeping. Down here? This is the morning journaling gang, and it's a team of one. Two, if you count this mug of coffee. You know what to do, team, so let's do it.

Sip. It's good to be here today. Yesterday wasn't all that bad, especially for a Monday. Miles had a check-up at the doctor. Being two years old, he had to wear a mask in the building. We've been dreading this for a while, because he puts up a fight against pretty much anything that wasn't his idea. Miles punishes us with a curdling scream when we make him eat his green beans before he's finished eating bread. He throws himself on the floor out of protest when we make him quietly play with toys before he's had enough TV. Now that he had to wear a mask in the doctor's office, our expectations were low.

Our expectations were low, and they were wrong. Miles sported his cloth mask like a new pair of sunglasses. It makes me think that all those times watching his parents and brother wear one of these, he must have felt a little fulfilled finally getting in on the action. Miles can be difficult, but at least we can always trust his "fear of missing out" to work in our favor sometimes.


Miles kept the mask on for longer than he needed to. Later, playing outside with his brother and the neighbor girl, he asked to wear it again. Maybe he thinks he's some kind of super hero.

All good, normal news from the doctor. Miles is right on track with his brother. Apparently Recker kids grow slowly, then shoot up in height and weight around the two year mark. They're also slow talkers. The doctor handed Marissa a questionnaire meant to explore the words and phrases he's learned, and just like she did with Rodney's at 2, she had to check "no" across the board.

"Can he point to his own body parts?" asked the doctor.

"No," said Marissa, without hesitation.

"Miles? Where's your nose? Where's your nose?" prompted the doctor. I wasn't in the room, but if I know Miles, he probably muttered something about da-sa-sah's and went back to thumbing through the book in his lap.

While Miles and Marissa were at the doctor, I picked up Rodney from school. I took Minnie with me, and we went on foot. Being a nice day, lots of people were out with their dogs, and I had plenty of opportunities to play "the scatter game". Following Marissa's instructions, whenever Minnie began to focus on another dog and take a defensive posture, I threw a handful of Cheerios on the ground and yelled "SCATTER". It's amazing how chasing after a few cheerios on the ground can effectively change her focus and make her completely forget about the other dog that crossed our path.

We arrived at Rodney's school on time, but moving through a crowd of kids with a furry puppy slowed us down. Minnie formed a circle of fans around her at every step, and I felt like I was escorting Justin Bieber through a shopping mall. I found Rodney standing alone in his corner, the last kid in his class. He looked worried, then immediately relieved when he spotted me.

Rodney ran ahead of me to catch up with his friend Arthur. I introduced myself to Arthur's parents, then the three of us slowly shuffled our way down the sidewalk. We joke that Rodney does all the talking in our family, but there's some truth to that when it comes to strangers. I feel awkward around other parents. A slow, ponderous walk behind two small-legged kindergarteners feels like a small talk marathon. I relied on my favorites, like "Boy, we sure skipped right over spring" and "so did you wait in line to smell that stinky flower?"

I felt awkward, but Arthur's parents were nice people. In fact, they seemed exactly like Marissa and I. Arthur and his parents peeled off onto their street, and Rodney and I walked the rest of the way ourselves. While I carried his backpack on my shoulder, Rodney ran ahead of me for some of his trademark sidewalk parkour. He ran across pavers, kicked off of tree stumps, and spun over cracks in the sidewalk.


I'm going to miss the walks in our neighborhood. You can't beat the interesting textures and sights walking around on our block. Every house looks completely different, and there are interesting sights wherever you turn your head. My neighbors hang politically charged signs in their windows and paint murals on their walls. Compost piles, chicken coups, bike repairs, salvaged furniture, muffled basement jam sessions, and screened in cat lounges. I've lived here for six years, and I still get distracted by these things walking around my own neighborhood.

That's what I got today. Have a great Tuesday, everyone.