~quinn’s forty-third month~ untamed wildness


~written november 2018~

“there’s a line of babies. which one would you choose?” still exploring the concept of being born, his wording of a line of babies was still the imagery he returned to. whether he was recalling something from before his birth, or describing his concept in the way he had come to understand it through a young child’s worldview, it seemed like such a profound subject, around which i tried to weave a protective blanket of non-influence.

as for which baby i would choose, that was the easiest possible question to answer! this was the month that i began compiling the baby quinn myspace posts and scattered fragments of memory all into this blog. now that i am attempting to completely fill in the gaps, coming back to this juncture in time feels a bit like i’ve come full circle, 8 years later. except now i am another level up the spiral staircase with an even broader view.

i really didn’t know how in love i would be with my child. he was so magical, splashing in cummins creek, so tender and intrigued as he studied an inchworm; so earnest as he watered the garden wearing one soggy sock; such a world of his own mysteries when he would giggle in his dreams.

one time he smelled something outside (i can’t remember what) and said, “i’m going to lick that smell and see what it tastes like.” when i made him a fish pouch out of old sweater material, he immediately held it by the tail and furthermore instructed me, “you have to hold fish by the tail!” while perched on the wooden sawhorse in the backyard he told me he was “sitting on the bridge” because “that’s the way that christopher robin does it.” in all the ways he was incorporating his experiences, the words he heard, the books he read,  these were all starting to reach beyond just me and my influence; he was becoming himself, more and more all the time.

he had big ideas; he wanted me to haul him up to the loft in the bucket. one day he had it all rigged, and loaded himself in the bucket, all ready to go. i would find ropes and strings secured to all manner of objects throughout the house. in this image a string was tied to the step stool, with one of his toy boats tied to the other end. as much as i celebrated him becoming himself, i hoped he would remain this tightly secured to me as he grew.

i took him crabbing on a saturday night, due to request/popular demand. he entertained himself pretend crabbing using his snack bag and a short rope while we waited in between sets. we caught eight crabs that were too small to keep, but no keepers. i was secretly relieved, as it meant i got to defer the dropping of a live animal into boiling water a bit longer (i had been okay with that being dada’s job; alas i was realizing that being single was all about self-sufficiency, not division of labor.)

he would sit in one of the tomato box boats emptied out during my tomato canning efforts, with his woolly mammoth hunting spear, his baby bear (who frequently wore a cloth diaper) eating a bowl of cookies and cream, wearing plaid and a ladybug hat.

in this picture he was holding 3 green beans in his hand. while we were buying another box of discount heirloom tomatoes, he picked out three beans he “needed,” so i said okay but that we needed to pay for them. i gave him a quarter and he handed them up to the man to weigh them; the man of course said they would be “free ninety-nine,”and quinn gave him the quarter anyway. he proceeded to eat half of one, and give the rest to me concluding, “i don’t like beans.”


one mellow day, we hung out at home in the morning, then took the bike trailer to the thrift store and the library. quinn dropped about 14 f-bombs in the children’s section when it was time to go but other than that, it was smooth sailing. that night quinn and his dad would go crabbing in the middle of the night- it was overnight number 2 for them, after their camping trip the prior month. quinn told me in a whisper all about dada’s new crab trap which was “kind of like my lucky crab trap but with an untamed wildness to it and it has a hole in the top for putting the bait in the bait box.” oh man… great northern diver: the loon is where that untamed wildness bit came from. we had just returned it to the library. aside from peppering the library with f-bombs, the way he would use words was truly language art, from his earliest words. but at this age not just the words, but the way he would cast the tiny hint of a sidelong glance at me, with a twinkle in his eye, seeing if i caught his latest turn of phrase, would also stop me in my tracks. oh yes. i did.

he shares this conspiratorial glance with me even now at eleven, when he is checking to make sure i caught his words. he knows that i know that he knows, but he’s just making sure. i’m enjoying his layered linguistics and humor as they grow more subtle and complex. spiraling up the spiral staircase….

quinn started asking to sleep in “my little bed” the few nights following his overnight with dada.

one night as i was putting him to bed, i had yet another “will you just listen to what i say” mama moment in what had turned out to be a long string of such moments for one day. we had recovered, and i was nursing him to sleep. i told him the best part of my day was when we were driving to the store and he told me, “i love you as big as the sky and as big as the ocean and as far as the moon and as full as the moon.” (i would tell him the first part about the sky and ocean every night before he fell asleep, but he had added the moon parts on.) after i told him that it was the best part of my day, he unlatched, gave me a noisy kiss on my breast, then latched back on. sometimes he would speak when nursing – talking with his mouth full, so to speak – and i will probably always have a mental image/video of him saying “yeah” with his mouth full of nipple; another of him nodding his head because he was too busy to unlatch.

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