We have an evening routine where we gather around the coffee table at about 6PM and eat an entire pot of edamame. Itâ€™s something we started when we lived in California, and we had hoped that our children would want to join us when they were old enough. Did you just note how I said children and they? Yeah, I was referring to the thoughts we had when we didnâ€™t have a child, thoughts comparable to what someone who has never owned a pet feels when they see a puppy at the mall and they want to cuddle it and pet it and take it home where unbeknownst to them it will shit all over their carpet and bite their ankles and eat their panties. Once Leta stops biting my ankles weâ€™ll have the discussion about whether or not we want another one of those in our house.
Surprisingly Leta loves edamame. She even knows how to get the beans out of their shells, although she doesnâ€™t know that they would hurt less when pooped out whole if sheâ€™d just chew them in the first place. Last night we made a huge pot to share among the three of us, and when she peered into the bowl and saw that we had eaten all of them she raised both arms over her head as if signaling a successful field goal and yelled, â€œALL DONE!â€
Where the hell did she learn that? And how can I get her to do that again?
I was feeling extraordinarily proud of her that she understands that an empty bowl signals the end of something until a few minutes later when she started reading a book to herself, turning pages and repeating, â€œALL DONE!â€ over and over again as if that was the dialogue on each page. She did the same thing last week just when I thought she had mastered the concept of UP. I found her sitting on the floor of her bedroom surrounded by books, one of them upside down in her hands and she was saying, â€œUp? Up up up up. UP UP! UUUUUP?â€
I imagine that what I felt in that moment was what Jonâ€™s mother felt when, after teaching him to drive, she gave him the keys to the car and he ended up throwing a bowling ball out the window and dragging it with a chain to see what would happen.