The past three days we’ve dedicated all our efforts to wilting. This is not voluntary, but it is inevitable. The temperatures and humidity have conflated to have this effect on us, and we have -obedient humans that we are- given in with very little resistance. Oh, the A/C is going, but it’s doing its best against a powerful force. I have been watering the plants when I get up (and the temperature is at 70℉,) and again in the afternoon when the sun is no longer directly attacking the north-east facing side of the house. Before I go to bed, I water them again. They look so grateful that it’s hard to complain about how much work this is…
J is unfazed. He has his patio umbrella, his shady corner on the deck, his many bottles of water and his (result of an inspired moment at the store) battery-powered mister. The only thing missing is the girl in a bikini bringing him ice and rubbing his feet. I hope he doesn’t get any ideas.
By nine a.m. we were heading to the pool. TGG and J were in charge of towels and pool toys. I was in charge of the camera. Yes, I am one of those annoying mothers who has pictures of her children doing all sorts of mundane things. Today I got pictures of TGG soaking his tired body in the pool while J shot at him with a high-powered water gun. I also managed to take pictures of the duck that came to swim with TGG. She flew in, rather abruptly, and landed in the water. After a few seconds of paddling around, she realized we were there…in the water. We were more amazed than she was, that’s for sure. We were the ones gaping. She was dismissive of our presence, and only got out because she probably gets shooed away by other people she runs into.
TGG called out to her in duck-ese. It must have been an appealing entreaty because our newfound friend turned to look at TGG and approached the edge of the pool. J just sat on one of the lounge chairs quacking softly to himself, a big smile curling his lips. TGG continued to speak to the duck, and she jumped back in the water. I took as many pictures as I could without spooking her, and I kept asking J “can you see this?” He smiled and said SEE THIS in response.
It was obviously a moment that J was enjoying thoroughly. With the water gun in his hand, he simply sat there, quietly quacking and smiling, not making a single move to scare our friend away. Ten minutes she stayed with us, happily swimming around and then preening. (Do ducks preen? I know cats preen, but I have to google what it is that ducks do…) All the while, TGG kept his ducky chatter, and she responded with loud quacks here and there, and with movements of her head and wings.
And then TGG must’ve said something rather offensive. The duck turned her head and glared at him in much the same way a human girl would have. She quacked loudly, turned around and, without so much as a goodbye, flew away.
J thought this was highly entertaining. He observed the interaction between his brother and the duck as he would a cartoon. When the duck flew away, he felt like he could approach the pool and TGG…and that’s when the water fight (a rather one-sided one, by the by) started.
All TGG could manage was splashing J lightly. J, with the advantage of his higher perch and his powerful “weapon,” proved to us that his aim is very good. That TGG over-dramatized every reaction to J’s attacks made things more fun for J. When you manage to react like James Cagney in the final scene of White Heat every time your baby brother shoots you with a water gun, you’re going to be the coolest guy in the world. That you’ve conducted a conversation with a duck moments before doesn’t hurt either.
After all that excitement, we came home to get ready to wilt. The sky is overcast and it makes for even more oppressive humidity. J is taking it in his stride, though, with Elvis Costello and The Attractions singing The Only Flame in Town while he sits on his cheap plastic chair and holds the battery-operated mister in his hand. When I went outside to announce that the song was originally in an album called Goodbye Cruel World, he looked at me as if I’d just said the funniest thing in the world, and then instructed me to go back inside and SIT. I can prove this, I called out, and he closed the door on me.
Tomorrow we go to Farmers’ Market again, and then to the bakery and the library. J doesn’t know it yet, but he’s going to the movies to watch Brave. We haven’t told him because we don’t want him to rush through everything else to get to the movie theater all too early. The art of timing things for him requires a lot of fine-tuning indeed…his internal clock and my energy don’t quite understand each other yet.
It’s all good, though. We are enjoying this dance of ours, even if it happens at two different speeds and rhythms. The faster J tries to work through something, the more I slow down. I am not trying to irritate him, but I do want him to savor certain things a little more. In a hot and humid climate, lethargy can be a good thing…the slow approach to a vigorous activity, lassitude that encourages daydreaming…an soft-serve ice cream cone from the truck that comes to the neighborhood in the early evening hours and melts over your fingers because it’s hot out and you’re just savoring it. That is so much better than a popsicle from the freezer, eaten quickly to alleviate the heat of the afternoon.
That’s why I encourage duck-talking, and slowly easing one’s self into the pool…those are the things you remember and make you laugh…