Saturday, 16 June 2012
Marlon Brando, Phocahontas And Me: Portrait of a Boy Just Shy of Three Years Old
You may wonder what I have in common with Jasmine, Pocahontas, Cinderella, Belle, the female hippo from Madagascar... Aside from the last one on the list, this is a mystery indeed. I wrongly assumed it was beauty we had in common, a graceful yet spirited demeanor perhaps. For quite some time now whenever William would watch a Disney film and one of the doe-eyed, impossibly slender female lead characters would come on, he would point and say in a loving and indulgent tone, "Awwwwww, mommmmmmmmmmy..." or if one of these ladies cried, which happens quite often despite their alleged independence, he would say sympathetically "Oh mommy, so sad. Poooooooooor mommy." And my heart would just melt because I made the obvious connection and thought my darling little boy thinks that I am so beautiful that he likens these ideals of womanly beauty to me. How precious, how perfect, how terribly terribly sweet! It was my turn to be indulgent. Until I showed him a picture of my sister and I and he cooed "Ooooh, two mommies!". Until a friend came over and he ran to the door and said in a friendly tone "Hi Mommy!". Until we were out on a walk and a group of ladies walked by and he pointed to them and said "Mommies. Masse, masse mommies!" (Masse is Norwegian for lots.) A niggling doubt began to creep into my heart as I understood, he doesn't think that the Disney characters resemble me (this shouldn't be such a shock to me really), he is simply terribly confused about the word "mommy" and all it encompasses. Certainly he'll call me mommy, no problem. But every other woman is also mommy. So it would be best for me to not get too swelled a head about this. He's just letting me know, yeah, you're mommy but I got a lot of ladies I call mommy. *shoulder shrug* It's my thing.
I predict a time in the near future when I may have to have a serious talk with William on how he speaks to women in fact. There was one Sunday morning when I was sitting on the couch with a coffee and Mr. Intensity came and grabbed my hand, pulling me toward the kitchen with a stern "Come!". When we got to the kitchen, he pointed at a rather large pile of dirty dishes and said in the same tone "Mommy, you wash! Wash mommy!" (Personally I think it's only because dirty dishes are so rare a sight in our house that this happened.)
Or there was the walk we took in downtown Mandal when he was running ahead of me and we passed a very attractive woman sitting on a bench. She had long blond hair and was wearing a leopard print top, black tights and high black boots. And she was eating a pastry. So William races by her and somehow the pastry must have caught his eye and he stops, doubles back, stops directly in front of her and lets out a long, low appreciative "mmmmmmmmmmmmmm mmmmmmm!" I hope she realized he was referring to the pastry.
He really is an appalling chauvinist at times.
He is also quite charming. Dead set on getting his way but charming about the whole thing. Makes you think you have a choice in the matter. Lately he has been teaching me how best to answer him when he asks for ice cream, any sort of treat, to go for a walk to see the tractors, anything he wants really. The answer isn't no. It goes like this, he'll say "Mommy, (remember how loosely this term can be used), ice cream? Sure! A' course William." "Mommy, go walk and see the tractors? Sure! A'course William!" If I do say no or not yet, he persists with a firm smile and a "Sure, a' course." as though cancelling out the negative response. I've got a lot to learn obviously.
Watching the Disney movies Ratatouille, there is a part where the rat comes out of the sewer and says "Paris? You mean to tell me all this time I've been under Paris?" And in response, I hear William answer totally deadpan, "A' course rat." Like "You damn fool rat, where do you think you've been all this time?" Except he didn't say that but may as well have.
William is turning three next Friday and I was reading back over my blog and the posts that I have dedicated to the sweet little man and laughing and wishing I had written them with more regularity because there were so many little things I had already forgotten. I know it's impossible to capture everything, to remember every funny, sweet or wonderful moment but it's worth a shot.
So like every word portrait, this one too is horribly inaccurate, just a moment here and a moment there. I don't know how to capture the way I feel about those other things. Like that for the longest time he had a bald spot on the back of his head even though his hair is the stuff of luxury. All over his head, his black hair is like silk but where that bald spot was for so long, the hair has grown in like fluff and just sticks straight out and every time I run my hand over his head I remember that bald spot on his beautiful little head. Or the way his truly sweet little soul shines through at times like when we passed a dead cat on the road and for weeks afterward he talked about the "poor tat" and was genuinely worried about the "tat". Or how he loves pots and pans with a passion and fills all his little buckets up with sand and water with such intensity you'd like he was in the middle of an amazing feat of engineering.
All of these details are so normal. So like every other child. I recognize that but I also recognize that his uniqueness (like that of every child) deserves celebration. My hope as he celebrates his third birthday is...well...I have so many for him. One at least is that he keeps his joy and his enthusiasm and that nobody destroys his spirit. His happiness and excitement are catching and his sheer, undiluted joy is still the thing that everyone mentions about William. He is full of passion. I hope it takes him places.