From head to toe

The baby is addicted to books. That’s a good thing, right?

The same dozen books, day in and day out.

From Head to Toe. Hand Hand Finger Thumb. フクロウ。 Splish Splash Baby. Moo Baa La La La. いいへんじ。Barnyard Dance. Down by the Bay.

I never did theater or performance art or improve. Maybe one of these days. This must be what it’s like to memorize a script and then head into that dip where you can know every line and the novelty has worn off completely. Like chewing the same piece of rice for a ten minutes so that you dicover new tastes or sensations at the end. Humming the same mantra for an hour until you find nirvana.

“The cow says moo. The sheep says baa. Three singing pigs sing “La la la”.”

It’s truly fascinating to see the infant react to these books. Murmuring that sounds like “ba ba ba” for Moo Baa La La La, drumming his hands for Hand Hand Finger Thumb, or thumping his chest for From Head to Toe. Again, we’ve learned to communicate in the most basic and beautiful of fashions.

“Down by the bay, where the watermellons grow…”

In the midst of cooking, I look down and there is a hand waving a Splish Splash Baby back and forth. I’m doing dumbell raises and Barnyard Dance smashes into my face. Takes all my concentration to keep the dumbells from dropping or my temper from rising. Door slightly ajar on the toilet? He’s got the only opening he needs to suggest now is the perfect time for フクロウ.

There are pages that my infant loves, spots in a book where he puts an abrupt end to the reading as soon as we’ve reached them. The “hello” page in フクロウ or the gorilla in Head to Toe. He slams the book shut and, without skipping a beat, proceeds to open the very same book once again to start from the beginning. A keisaku cracking you across your shoulders as your caught drifting off. This isn’t meditation for the easily intimidated.

I know the days are few that I’ll continue to have this opportunity to continue to pour through these dozen tombs with him. He’ll move on. Work will make time more difficult. A hundred other things. And while the words mater to some extent for him, it’s the time with dad that matters so much to him – cuddling, sitting in my lap, being wrapped in my embrace as we figure out what really does happen when you live down by the bay, where the watermellons grow.