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Wednesday, February 27, 2013


vada one year old

I don't know if it's Saturn retrograde or if it's something I'm going through in this time anyway. It's hard for me to feel motivated for anything that requires action, any kind of action. For the present, I'm satisfied looking out the windows at the birds pecking around the birdfeeders. I get up and go do things like watch the Daytona race at a friend's house. This afternoon I had fun with Vada. She found a plastic hamper, squarish; she sat in it and I turned it slowly, not enough to make her dizzy or wear me out. She'd sit and watch the objects in the living room and kitchen move around her. Then she'd stand up and watch everything in the rooms move around her. She wanted her "blankie" and sat with it in her lap while I turned her round and round. She seemed to never tire of it. She made eye-contact with me nearly all the way around, then hurried to make eye-contact again. It seemed important to her that I see her going round and round. It was something she'd never done before. Since she's discovered a playmate in me, we have a new relationship. Before, I was one of the grownups that came to the house to see mommy and daddy. Now, it's play time when she sees me. We make toys of whatever we find.

I find the time spent with Vada the most valuable. Playing with a child out of time, out of space, in that place children go into when they play. It's a free, open place with no boundaries except the physical, like Vada getting her foot stuck getting into the plastic hamper one of the many times. She figured out how to get her foot unstuck and she did it. I've learned not to help her unless she asks for help. She wants to figure everything out for herself. I'm happy to let her. Seems to me, wanting to figure things out for yourself is the best teacher of all. Junior Maxwell told people who asked him to teach them to play a banjo, "If you can't figure it out for yourself, you don't want to play the banjo." In our play, I look for things that have the potential to fascinate Vada. Turning her around in that plastic hamper was a new experience, seeing the room move around her, was endlessly fascinating for her. She's at an age now where she can engage her attention at will. It's an enjoyment for me connecting with so fresh a spirit, a soul in a new body that hasn't yet been burdened down with neuroses and cares, that old baggage we carry all our lives except in the baby stage and dementia.

I like that still place baby and I drift into unnoticed where we make a toy of anything we find. For me, the experience is even prayerful. Happy prayers of gratitude and asking that Vada have a fulfilling life. It seems like each one of our play times becomes more intimate. Intimate like with mommy or daddy, that kind of familiarity, not just the familiarity of somebody who comes to the house occasionally. It's like we really know each other now. I like knowing a baby. In the coffee shop this morning, Lisa deMilo came in. She is a Cuban dance club singer who has retired here from Miami. She was telling about her grandchildren she raised from day one, the first baby's mother needed to stay in the hospital another two weeks, and Lisa was given the baby to take care of until mother came home. Then she took care of the two kids while their parents worked. She loved her grandbabies as though they were her own. She was telling how much she misses them. I was thinking of how much I would miss Vada if I would never see her but once a year. The intimacy I'm feeling with Vada is that intimacy Lisa was saying she missed not seeing her grandbabies but a few times a year. She called it bonding. Maybe I'm bonding with Vada. I don't object.

In this time of pedophilic priests being uncovered, it sounds suspect to be talking about "playing with a baby," but I don't know any other language for it. There is not an atom of my self that would allow doing such harm to a baby I love, or any child. I've come to see over the years that adults playing with children sexually is a serious crime against humanity. I couldn't harm a child's soul in any such way, and certainly not one I love like I love Vada. I want to protect her. I want her safe from any harmful influence. I've come to believe that adults doing sex play with children is the worst thing that can happen to a child. Surely there is much worse, as there are so many more people than we imagaine going around as adults who have been played with as children. They never forget it. It screws them up for life. If somebody were to do something untoward to Vada, it would be a race between me and her daddy to see who could find him first to kill him. Vada will be known all through school as a girl with a rough daddy no boy dares go up against. If I live long enough, the word will go around: That crazy old bastard that lives up at Air Bellers, he'll kill ya if he hears of ya messin with Vada.

I find it curious that in this time when I feel little motivation toward anything much, I have discovered opening myself to playing on the floor with a baby. That's a great advance in my inner quest, for one thing the freedom to play, and all the more the freedom to play with an infant. She understands me when I talk to her and I understand her. We have no problem communicating. Sometimes she'll telling me something and I won't get it. I'll ask mama and she'll tell me what that signal means. One time before when I was there she was pointing at a chair and saying "Seat." She said it several times. I felt like she wanted me to sit her in the chair, but didn't know. I looked to mama and she affirmed it. I picked up Vada and sat her in the chair, a rocking chair, and that was what she wanted. She wanted to ride the rocking chair. She rode the chair like she'd paid admission for it. Later, mama told me she wanted me to put her in the chair because mama doesn't let her rock in the chair. Vada comes to me to enable her to play with toys her mommy won't allow. Looks kinda like the grandparent role. I love it.



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