On weekends we go out for lunch. We've been taking Charlie to Friendly's for as long as we've taken him anywhere, and it's a ritual we all enjoy: "henno, Finlys," he says as we enter the parking lot, and then "guttabaih, Kissy" to his favorite waitress long after he's back in his car seat.
He waits for his meal mostly patiently. Sure, he periodically demands, "Finlys bringa habaga," swatting the menu with an imperious palm, and he weeps now and then with frustration when the party next to us gets their Colossal All American Ultimate Bacon and Cheeses before we do, but for the most part he is easily distracted with snacks and activities, namely crayons and paper.
The restaurant supplies a box of four crayons and an activity page. Since Charlie's not quite up to seeing how many words he can make out of the letters in Friendly's — although I am: fiend, lies, riled, yields, dies — we flip the sheet over to its blank expanse and make him play Pictionary.
It's astonishing how little information a baby's brain needs to recognize a common item. To wit:
Fuht — fruit. Or sometimes toh meh tohhhh, though oddly never apple.
This, of course, is cattt, then a long interlude of plaintive meowing that makes our fellow diners eye their Fishamajigs with unhappy concern. (It is kind of him to be the voice of the cat who has no mouth.)
...as rudimentary and ideographic as it is, is bebby.
So we play our little games and then give Charlie the crayons — cayyos — which he is mostly content to stuff back in their box, then dump onto the floor. Then I refuse to give them back, since God only knows how many Colossal All Americans have dragged their bacon across the tile since the last time it was mopped, and he cries, and we grit our teeth as we crane our necks looking for hapless Kissy. Finlys binga habaga sooooon.
But sometimes Charlie wants to draw, too, so he clutches a crayon and goes to work. Saturday, on the heels of a rollicking game of "Where's the baby's eye? nose? hair? neck? big translucent grease spot?" he took up cherry red and let the baby have it:
And then he looked up at us with an expression of steely calm, dropped his red crayon onto the grimy floor, and told us, "Bebby ahgone."
Creepy, huh? I'm not sure what he's up to, but I have a feeling that poor sad mouthless cat better watch his invisible back.
This morning at 5, six days before I expected it, I woke to this on my sheet:
Cycle's over. Moving on. Bebby ahgone indeed.