A place in the world

When I picked up 3B at Ms. K’s yesterday, she and I were talking about how his day went. I was enjoying watching him walk around and amuse himself as Ms. K and I chatted, which is quite a change from just a month ago, when he would need to leave as soon as possible after I arrived. Mornings are so different now too. On the way over, he’ll talk a little bit about the other kids…OK, he says their names and “Play.” and “Fun.” but it’s much different than the silent, sullen trips we used to make to Ms. K’s.

When we arrive, it’s so much nicer as well. 3B walks right on back to where she has the other kids in their high chairs for breakfast, and lets Ms. K put him up in his chair. As soon as he’s in there, the little boy who just turned one starts pulling on 3B’s tray, pulling himself closer to 3B. 3B takes the boy’s hand off of his tray, but then reaches over and pulls the boy’s chair closer himself. Kids…go figure. They go back and forth like this for awhile, while the big girl, who 3B plays with all day, looks on and laughs from her chair. Again, much better than the screaming, clinging drop offs that I used to make.

As Ms. K and I watched 3B amuse himself, she was telling me about all of his activities, especially about his books and his words. She’s always surprised at how much he likes books with so many words–the originial Curious George stories are big favorites these days–and will sit still for them. As for words, there are so many, including colors and vehicles. “Yellow. Taxi.” is a big favorite. “Thank you.” is another of his favorite new phrases. He uses it appropriately, every chance he gets (I swear 3B gets online when we’re not looking and reads up on what the Peanut is doing.) But that’s just the latest phrase; as Ms. K said, his new words “just come tumbling out.” She said even in the week since she’s last seen him, she was surprised at how many new words he had picked up. Not that Mama and I talk a lot or anything.

Ms. K went through all of the things they talked about today. “We especially talked about the farm–the barn, the tractor, the cows, the hay, and Pete.” Oh lord yes. If it’s anything like our conversations here, the ones about his Uncle Pete, who takes him for tractor rides, are a bit one-sided:

3B: Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete!

Papa: I could box you up and send you off to him, if you’d like.

3B: Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete! Pete!

Papa: Seriously, dude.

And I don’t think that 3B would mind that much. He loves the farm. He loves his uncles who all have trucks (“Truck! Truck! Truck! Truck! Truck! Truck! Truck!”) and take him on tractor rides and show him cows and take him for walks anywhere he wants to go and throw him up in the air. And why shouldn’t he? It’s where his Grammy went to school in a one-room schoolhouse, up on Bump Hill. It’s where he goes to see his Great Grammy. It’s where Mama and Papa were married. It’s where the Bradsteins go to run free–even Barky gets to go without a leash on the farm.

None of us know where 3B will end up in this world, but I do know that for now, for 3B the farm is the place, his place in the world. And why not? Better to have a place, even if far removed, than to have none. None of us knows what we’ve got ’til it’s gone, ’til we hear that screen door slam and we hear the car drive away with our old man…perhaps except the children, fully present in every moment in their worlds. They know what they’ve got now, before it’s gone, they know that this must be the place, they know that this is their place in the world…

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  • Dude, you’re killing me. I have no uncle with a farm. The best I can scrape up is my grandfather’s brother’s sheep ranch in Montana.

    Someone (Dutch?) complained once about how all kids’ books are about farm animals, and wondered why that should be so important for city kids. Farms are just cool: animals, gardens, running free, tractors. Need I say more?

    PS: I think the whole tractor thing never goes away. I have pictures of Chris on a tractor from around 1993, and he was lovin’ it.

  • Porgie loves the farm in theory. She can make all the animal sounds, and she gets super excited when we drive by a local horse farm. However, when we actually went to the farm, she wasn’t very impressed.

  • He needs to come west again. 3B is growing up too fast. I am glad he has fun at Grammy’s farm.

  • so many comments, so little brain….

    First: I hope he will learn this joke so he can tell Uncle Pete;

    Pete and Repeat were on a boat, Pete fell off.. Who was left?
    Then of course you do as you are told.

    All of my kids first words were animal sounds. They still make sound effects, just like their older family members do.

    The farm is such a good place for him. A place to run free and explore. Getting to know this world we all seem to be in. I think I need to see him again, otherwise next time I see him he will be going off to college.

    Thank you for sharing with us.

    Your fav

  • Poignant perspective, as ever. I think every child needs a place, wherever that place may be, as a reference point, an anchor in a world seemingly marked by greater degrees of chaos as a child ages.

    Every adult looks back at his/her respective childhood place with fondness. It’s what gives them the foundation and the courage to venture out into the cold world when they get older.

    Thanks for triggering the thought.

  • …don’t you just sometimes wish you could go back…back to when you never worried about paying bills, or what was for dinner…in every moment you were ever present & looking for an adventure in everything….

  • Farms are just so amazing. The smells, the colors, the textures. Makes ME want to go now!