Sympathetic Magic

Mini__B’s first real time away from his mother – two and a half days – is almost over. He’s been pretty good about it during the day, but his sleep (and therefore mine) has been a mess, probably because he didn’t get his mama time just before bed.

He’s been trying to make her appear. Yesterday, as we were preparing to Skype video, I said to him “You’re going to see Mama now.” He ran to the front door and tried to open it, assuming that she was coming home as usual. Better* still, after dinner today he went into the bathroom, set his plastic step in front of the sink and had me turn on the water and hand him his toothbrush, which he proceeded to pretend to use. Mrs__B almost always is the one who brushes his teeth after dinner, so I can only assume this was again an attempt to make her appear by acting as if she were present. If he thought painting a bear with a spear stuck in its side on a cave wall would make her come home, he’d do it.

It’s obvious he understands a bunch of words. Most mornings I change his diaper right after he wakes up, but if he runs out of the bedroom I do it a little later. Today, after we’d played for fifteen minutes I said “Would you like a new diaper?” and he went in his room and grabbed the changing mat. But, for whatever reason, he doesn’t talk yet. He communicates by pointing and by putting things (and people) where he thinks they should be. So my understanding of what he is thinking is, at best, blurry.

It’s obvious that he wants to be like us more than anything else. He imitates what we do and how we do it, and if he doesn’t get the same results we get he’s confused and upset. Anything that can be held in one hand is a phone, Mrs__B’s zoris are for wearing when he pushes his miniature play stroller around, and if Dada made a funny noise the first time a movie was watched that noise is a necessary part of the movie.

He’s surrounded by a world he doesn’t understand and makes sense of it through routine and by imitating the people he knows best. And damned if that isn’t what we all do, all the time.

*Or, you know, more heart-rending.