Nostalgia, Imagination, and the Joy of Breaking the Rules

My Lil Diva is Finding Nemo obsessed.

Every fish is pointed at with exclamations of “Nemo!” Unless it’s fat and blue. Then it is “Dori!”

She searches for him in books.

She finds him in decorative plates hanging on the walls of a restaurant.

The smile. The elation.

It’s like a glimpse of her future – only replace Nemo with boy bands.

* * *

The Tackler is highly open to suggestions. He takes these, warps them, and what springs forth are some hilarious imaginings.

Random Tackler photo - because I didn't have my camera at the park.

One day PBS aired a Curious George and The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That episode with characters shrinking and going inside the body.

He is now fascinated with the concept.

Monday night as a evening breeze blew over us – feeling more like the hot air from a furnace – my son was in full imagination mode. My husband and I had to perform various jumps to shrink ourselves so we could go explore the insides of the plastic dinosaurs there.

“We need to go in its throat and follow the signs.”

Who can argue with that logic?

* * *

Everything is chompable, courtesy of teething.

The Lil Diva has been “off” the last few days. Her appetite is diminished. She whines. She doesn’t nap or sleep well. She cries at the drop of a hat. She clings in facehugger mode.

She’s cutting her two year molars.

Yes, send prayers our way.

The distraction technique with the highest success is reading books. Her favorite books.

Who Hops?

Dinosaur Roar!

Anything with Buzz or Nemo.

She cackles at the pictures with an evil “Hahaah!” – her voice too deep for a 23 month old.

Today as I practiced counting with her, she stabbed her finger onto the page.

“Fee-go! Fee-go!”

Her word for “flamingos” never fails to crack me up when said with such enthusiasm.

* * *

We attended a birthday pool party on Sunday night.

It had a small water slide.

The exact layout of the slide and pool

The rules about height, swimming skill, and life jackets? Not enforced.

This brought about the rare occasion for not one, but both of my children to try out a water slide.

First up: The Tackler.

He can sort of swim. When he wants to. Most often though, he gives up and goes into the inefficient “doggie paddle” mode.

So either I or my husband was at the bottom, waiting to catch him (the other with Lil Diva).

Oh. My. God.

The smiles.

The laughs.

The joy.

The boy was in heaven.

Then the strangest thing happened.

Lightning in the distance – in a place it has only rained once at since January.

We were kicked out of the pool and devoured cake to pass the time.

The kids filled up on sugar (all of them), waiting for the time to pass, as the cell skirted to the east of us.

Then back to the slide.

Lil Diva really wanted to try.

They didn’t enforce the “only one at a time” rule if it was a parent with a toddler.

I climbed the steps with her. It didn’t take long, there were only a dozen or so. And it was our turn.

I put her between my legs as we sat, the water pushing us out and we curved around in the sharp circle – a snail shell.

At the last moment I lifted her, so she didn’t crash under the deep water.

My husband tells me her grin was a sight to behold.

Again. And again. And again.

Up the stairs. Down the slide. Often her cries echoed around me.

“Whoohoo! Whoohoo!”

Sometimes I let her splash underwater a bit.

I have a bruise on my right ankle where it kept hitting the side of the slide.

But her joy – totally worth it.

It was the first time she was truly happy all weekend.

* * *

Yes, I know these aren’t my usual snarky “tacklerisms”, but I find myself a bit nostalgic. Lil Diva just hit the 23 month mark and soon, my youngest’s age will no longer be measured via “months” but “years”. It doesn’t seem right only two years ago I was cursing the hottest Texas summer on record while she kicked my bladder….

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About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos (www.writingwithchaos.com) sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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9 Responses to Nostalgia, Imagination, and the Joy of Breaking the Rules

  1. Amazing how fast that time goes, isn’t it? I can’t believe my youngest will be a year old already next month.. or that the toddler will be 3 in only 10 days.

    Or that my oldest will be 17 next month… but we are not going to talk about that! 😉

  2. Katie says:

    Jake went through a Finding Nemo phase. But he calls Nemo, “Mamo.” So all fish are “Mamo” at our house.

    • That is priceless, Katie.

      What I find funny with Lil Diva is ALL fish are “Nemo”, UNLESS they look like Dori. Then they are “Dori.” No other fish name stuck.

      I also forgot to mention – she is a huge fan of dancing to the end credits. Whether a peppy son like the end of Tangled, or the jazzy tune at the end of Nemo. Just loves end credits.

  3. Kim says:

    This was awesome to read!!! Really enjoyed it!

    • If it was half as much as my children loved that water slide, then I must be doing something right.

      Is The Beast still in decapitation mode? I haven’t read of any recent carnage… 🙂

      Oh, and thank you for reminding me (via your blog) on another reason I love being a SAHM: no worthless meetings.

  4. …Just keep swimming…just keep swimming…

    You’re a fabulous mama to be there, launching yourself down a slide, holding your daughter up so she feels the joy but not the dunking.

    I’ve been vacationing and off the grid for the most part. But I’ve missed the joy here.
    And the laughs.

    It’s so good to be home. In so many ways.

    • It’s funny though.

      After she got used to the slide, I let her dunk a bit.

      She cackled after that too.

      She is the magical child who never minded running water in her face – I think she’s loved the shower since about 4 months old.

      Still, it didn’t seem like a good idea to begin with the dunking.

      And I wish they had a waterproof iPod to record these moments, the gleeful “whoohoo”.

      I’d hope you were vacationing. I’ve missed your comments, my dear.

      By sure to read the Canadian posts. 🙂

      Welcome home!

    • P.S. Now Dori’s song is stuck in my head… Again. :p

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