“Can I use the flashlight, mommy?”
We were playing our usual afternoon game of dinosaur race. The rules are simple: each of us has a dinosaur, the dinosaurs race, DW’s dinosaur wins. From there it gets complicated, but we usually get “trophies” which, for some reason, are kept in the crawl space beneath my bed. The trophies themselves are invisible, but are described to me in detail as DW hands them to me.
After opening the door at the foot of our captain’s bed, DW prepared to crawl through to fetch whatever trophies his imagination devised. I gave him the small flashlight to use and off he went in search of prizes.
“Mommy, come and see.”
I crawled around to the head of the bed to peek underneath. In the illuminated space behind my bed, I saw dust bunnies. No, not bunnies. These were dust dinosaurs. Our cats also like the cozy hiding places between the underbed drawers. I could have knitted a small cat from all the fur.
The flashlight illuminated everything. All the fur, dust, fluff, and fuzz from, well who knows how long, clumped in piles beneath the bed. I’m a good housekeeper, but I’m certain I haven’t vacuumed behind the bed since I had the kids.
Out came the vacuum and all the attachments. DW enthusiastically held the flashlight while we sucked up dust tyrannosaurs and dust velociraptors by the dozen.
On JW’s last visit to the pediatrician I was asked if he mimicked what we said or did, a normal milestone for an 18-month-old. I looked at my little 30 lb sumo wrestler of a toddler and remembered all the ways he imitates his brother, dad, and me.
Big brother has taught JW a few wrestling moves which he now uses to pin his slightly heavier brother to the ground. JW can pull a serious face, eyebrows cocked at odd angles, that looks so much like his daddy it’s funny. His baby voice chirps along when I sing and he throws in a familiar word or two right on cue.
That’s all well and good, but I know they’re also catching us at our bad moments. We’re not a four-letter-word family, but we have plenty to say about the bad drivers we encounter on the road. I’m waiting for the day one of them rolls his eyes at me. I already hear my “no” reflected back, usually by JW. (Although it’s really cute and dramatic. Nooooooo.) I need to erase the word “stupid” from my vocabulary for awhile. (oops, there’s that eye roll again)
Nothing throws a light on our words and actions like our children do. They grasp their flashlights with their little hands and shine them everywhere, even on the dust bunnies...er, dinosaurs.
I’d better get out the vacuum.