jools has a spiral notebook. he has impaled some of his artwork to fit inside it (his idea), nestled beside some sheets of notebook paper (my idea.) lately, we have been playing a game where he rattles off some letters, then asks: what does that spell, mama? since the words are usually consonant-heavy, they usually sound mostly like words from some eastern european language where vowels appear sparingly. they also often resemble those letters you need to copy when trying to post something but the site wants to make sure you are a person and not some automated spambot, like WTK4O.
last night before bed, we continued our game. it had been a long, exhausting day together, and i frankly wanted him to put the blasted notebook away so we could read and get to bed. but the dude is persistent, and he picked up his pencil. mama, he said, what does this spell? and he scrawled W T E L E.
nothing, honey, i replied. let’s close the notebook.
no, no! the dude was not compliant. typical for him, of course. so i took the pencil. i never write in the notebook, so this was a minor mommy revolt. i wrote the letters M O M. don’t know why; i guess i wanted consonants and vowels, living in perfect harmony. do you know what letter that is, i asked, pointing to the M?
he scrunched up his face. considering the only C i ever received in my elementary school career was in handwriting, this is not exactly a surprise. it’s an M, i hinted.
he smiled. M O M, he said. MOM.
how did you know that spells MOM, i asked, surprised.
i dunno, he replied. i just put them together.
i used to weep because BC’s first spoken word to me was Bye Bye!, which is what i said to her every morning before i went to work. and i don’t even remember jools’ first word; i think i wrote it down, but somehow, you begin to forget everything subsequent children do. it’s not fair; but it is what it is.
but only dementia will ever make me forget jools’ first word read.