Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How the Weird-toed Frenchman Was Right

Monday was the boys' first swim class. It was actually even worse than I imagined it would be, even considering their watery past. Cal was brave until Clark's screaming got out of control. Then his lip started to quiver and he started in on the crying. Of course this was the only time in my life that I was punctual. We sat on a pool chair for 20 minutes waiting for class to start. Those shrieks reverberating around the pool walls were downright obnoxious, and I felt bad for anyone who had to listen. I didn't notice any angry faces on the old women in the water aerobics class, only looks of understanding/ sadness/ sympathy, so they must have all had small children at some point.

The boys' teacher might be pushing 21 years old. I was skeptical at first, but he handled the situation better than I expected he would-- what with his sculpted fauxhawk and all. They ended up finally sitting on the ramp with the water up a little higher than their belly buttons, kicking with straight legs. They finally decided they liked the teacher, just when the next two kids got there for their lesson. So then they clung to him, asking him questions about the different floaty doo-woppers he has, and saying goodbye to him. Then I let them kick on the side of the pool for about 15 minutes. They didn't want to leave.

On the bus ride home an older man boarded the bus by a French restaurant, were he was clearly finishing a shift. He brought a cup of coffee for the bus driver (cute) and they started pounding shoulders and talking. (I didn't notice in time to see if the coffee was in exchange for the bus fare, which could present some interesting bartering ideas in my future.)

He sat down and immediately started talking to the boys in French. Which of course confused them. I couldn't help but notice that he had remarkably weird and dirty toes. They looked dead but they were also all different sizes and the nails were all bendy. I kept trying to look away from them. Anyway, he stopped talking in French and starting talking in English and they starting talking to him a little about the fountain that they love more than anything except maybe ceiling fans.

At one point he asked me which one was the artist and which one liked to run around and throw and break things. My first in-head reaction was, “Jerk! You don’t know my kids.” But then I actually thought about it. I don't know that Clark likes to break things per se, but he does like to run around and hit balls with bats and golf clubs and sticks. And it is becoming increasingly clearer which one of them likes art more. Calvin loves creating. Call anything art and he's all over it. He sees beauty in everything. We finally signed him up for art class because one day he mixed all the play-doh colors together and wouldn’t stop talking about how beautiful the mound was. That mound was mostly just making me mad, since I enjoy organizing by color.

The other day Cal worked for at least an hour on his balcony fountain. It started out as a canning jar with acorns and a funnel in it and ended up with things like a wipes box, my belt, a doorframe chin-up bar, blocks, a cup, garden tomato stakes, and a wad of yarn. He only wanted certain things in it—my suggestions were not always welcome. He had a vision.

After the addition of the ball-like acorns, Clark had no real interest in the found-object fountain and went back to reenacting Bryce Harper Clark’s amazing plays in the living room. For Clark, every square, rectangular, or diamond-shaped anything is a baseball field that needs to have home plate, first, second, and third base locations pointed out and then ran on regardless of how small or big said shape is. And he throws. He throws everything like a baseball. And I am not kidding people, the kid can throw a baseball better than many adults I know. You know who you are.

The apartments right next to us are being torn down right now and so the boys are obsessed with construction sites and knocking buildings and “buildings” down. Yesterday it was the TV trays that were buildings. Meanwhile, amongst the rubble, Cal started building a new apartment. A beautiful new apartment building. An unbelievable new apartment building. It was built of the same chin-up bar and garden stakes. He had a place for everyone to sleep. He cried when Clark knocked it over while sliding into home plate. (He was safe.)

Turns out the weird-toed Frenchman was right. We have an artist and a breaker.

Cal's fountain

Construction/destruction site

Cal builds his beautiful apartment.



  1. I like to organize things by color, too.

  2. It's great, isn't it? Thrift stores always make me smile that way. But you one-up me on the label maker. So awesome. Have you done colored labels for cross-organizing? Woah.


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