Thursday, May 11, 2006


Well, in case you’ve been living under a rock this week, in case the endless “news stories” about how much a stay at home mom would be paid if she were paid for “all the things she does”, and the ‘Every Kiss Begins with Kays’ commercial blitz and the constant reminders from every media source in America didn’t give it away…Sunday is Mother’s Day.

I know this because I have already begun to receive a steady stream of cards and, uh, things. The Denizens are at many different levels of creative abilities, and sometimes they will thrust something at me and $DEITY help me say, “Guess what I made you?!”

Often, they’ll save me by breathlessly going on to announce what it is (“It’s a motorcycle helmet sticker!!”), but sometimes, they don’t. They stand there, with their little eyes shining eagerly and an anticipatory smile on their little lips, waiting for me to pronounce that it’s the absolute best fruit-carrier ever made!

These are the moments when I feel the earth peeling away beneath my feet. Because if I get it wrong, if I say, “Wow, what a beautiful flower basket!” when in point of fact, it is a strawberry keeper…well. It can be a crushing blow to the budding young artist.

Yesterday, Boo Bug came running in clutching a paper bag with a card attached. She thrust it at me and screamed, “KAAAH-PWISE!!!!”

Now, Boo Bug was actually about four seconds away from being sent for speech therapy / hearing evaluations a year ago (hmm, why does that sound familiar?), because she could not be understood by anyone – not even me, the person who was with her 24/7. She made noises that vaguely resembled words, but honestly we could not understand more than half of what she said.

The pediatrician was talking speech therapy and so forth; I sent her to preschool instead and boom – she’s speaking much more clearly and coherently. Not only can we understand 99% of what she says now, we’re stunned at how smart she is. I mean. We knew she wasn’t stupid or anything. But…well. We had no idea what-all was going on in that cute little head.

But I digress.

So she came rushing in and shoved this thing at me yelling, “KAH-PWIZE!!!” and I sat there wondering what in the world she just said. Kah-what? Kahpwize? What the heck does that mean?!

And the stream that was coming out of her mouth wasn’t helping any. It was a kahpwize and it for YOU! MOMMY! and it was a muddah’s pwize and was a’posed to be {utterly incoherent} but she had done the card and it was her hand and KAHPWIZE! KAHPWIZE! KAHPWIZE!!!!

There then came a Dreadful Pause. This was the moment when, had I been paying attention to the script, I would have gushed in praise and so forth. But instead, I sat there just staring at her, still trying to puzzle out what a kah-pwize would possibly be.

Her lower lip came out and quivered. “Mommy,” she said softly. “Don’t you wike your muddar’s kahpwize?”

And then, praise be to $DEITY, it hit me.

“It’s a lovely Mother’s Day surprise, sweetheart! It was just so…surprising!”

The lip retreated, the eyes sparkled, and the important features I may have overlooked were pointed out – the extra leaf on the tulip, the redness of the tulip, the fact that the card is attached to the bag with TWO pieces of tape, which she did HERSELF…

Whew. Disaster averted. My kahpwize has many lovely features, including a rather clever tulip made of her handprint and the obligatory schmaltzy poem about how wonderful a mother I am for reading and cuddling and putting band-aids on skinned up knees. Also, there is a paper bag which I am not allowed to open yet, because it is a kahpwize specifically for opening on Muddar’s Day. Which is not yet. It is on a not-school-day, which is Sunday, which is after Saturday but before Monday.

And if she asks us one more time if it’s Muddar’s Day yet, we may lose our minds altogether.

But my favorite part is her signature. The mismatched letters, the capital being dwarfed by the next letter, the ‘i’ bigger than the ‘l’, the backward ‘s’…those are the things that utterly charm me. And impress me, too. To go from barely knowing the alphabet song to being able to write your name in a matter of three months?

That’s a smart kid. That’s my kid.

A kahpwize a minute.

1 comment:

wrnglrjan said...

Know what's funny? I read the title of your post and guess what I knew it said?

Surprise. No context, no nothing -- it said 'surprise!'.

Practice makes perfect, you know. :)