Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Mighty Toddler

About a week ago, we bought a book titled, “The Mighty Toddler.” It’s fantastic, and one of our favorite parts of the book is the poem on its opening page. I’ll share that with you in a moment.

My mother likes to ask me what I have been reading lately. I usually reply with, “Who has time to read?” She will send me recommendations or the occasional book or short story. I’ve felt a bit bad that I haven’t taken the time to read a novel. However, when I was thinking about it a bit deeper, I realize I’ve probably done more reading this past year than I have in years past. No, it’s not novels that I’ve been interested in, but I have read several baby books from cover to cover and countless blogs and advice columns on how to handle traveling with a baby, living abroad, and the Australian medical system. The titles may not be all that interesting, but it is what I am compelled to read and re-read.

On my bedside table rest four books – “Saving Fish from Drowning” by Amy Tan, “The Baby Name Wizard,” “The Mighty Toddler” and “What to expect when you’re expecting.”
The only ‘bookish’ one, the novel by Amy Tan, resides on the bottom of the pile. The “What to Expect” book serves as sort of a reference and I don’t pour over it like I did when pregnant the first time. However, “The Mighty Toddler” is as filled with as many juicy tidbits as 1000 people magazines. I find that I’m enthralled, riveted, laughing out loud and reading entire paragraphs to Eric in a “You’ve GOT to hear this…” sort of voice.
In time I will get back to reading novels and filling my mind with other bits of learning – but for right now – I’m good with the material on hand.

I didn’t forget that I promised you a poem. Before I write it out and you wonder why it was so gripping to both Eric and myself, I’ll offer a bit of explanation. Becoming parents later in life than most of our friends and siblings has led us to take their advice. “Savor these years,” everyone had told us. We love being a mom and dad to our little toddler and we love the hugs, the smiles and even the protests and whines. The poem at the beginning of the book reads like it was written by a friend – it is telling us to savor the moments before they become memories. So, here we are, in the NOW and reading a poem that keenly remembers what we are currently experiencing;

You used to lean
On that cot rail
And wait
With the vigor of a flame
To leap into my arms
Two feet tall and two years old
A sagging nappy
Archless feet soft as cats’ tongues
And trodden underneath
A thick and clammy waterproof
Warm from sleep
The sheet ruched at the end
Toys heaped confused
Neglected as the dead
A duck stuck in the corner
I could see the basket of your ribs
Your hands were opened
And all your bones and life
Leapt up to mine.

By Kate Llewelyn , “The Flames”


Susanica said...

What a lovely poem! The last 4 lines made me get all teary eyed because I too as a "late in life parent" get to KNOW this every day. And I wouldn't trade their soft skin and brilliant smiles for all the money in the world Beth. Thanks for sharing it. -Monica

Laura said...

What a nice poem indeed. Thanks. I can always use reminders to savor these moments.

Excuse me, but it's time to go hug my totally misbehaving children.