2012.09.26 Honey, I shrunk my Crocs!

Written by David Green.

By COLLEEN LEDDY

Who shrunk my Crocs?

That’s what I thought upon seeing the tiny hot pink Crocs, a miniature version of my own, sitting at the base of the stairs the other day.

Ah, Caroline’s home. 

Toys scattered everywhere. Little piles of little clothes, removed quickly from her body as pajamas replace them before she knows what hits her. Wet clothes hanging over the shower doors. The long box of Bruynzeel markers tucked among the framed photographs atop a bookshelf.

I love it all.

Even when it means doing laundry late on a Saturday night. I never do laundry late at night, not after David goes to bed anyway. I have had one too many bat encounters in the basement, where the washer and dryer are, to ever willingly go down there when I don’t have a fully functioning and awake knight in shining armor close by.

But Caroline and Rosie were leaving the next morning and I felt responsible for all those afore-mentioned wet clothes. It’s my fault for not removing every last interesting-to-an-18-month-old-curious-little-girl item in her path. 

And pretty much everything is interesting to her, but especially the bookshelf in the corner of the living room which contains all the catchall cigar boxes and tins and pencil boxes full of crayons, embroidery thread, little pads of paper, stickers, old Scotch tape, beads, glue, ink stamps, colored pencils, regular pencils, and those afore-mentioned Bruynzeel markers.

That box of Color Express Mega-Point markers from Holland proved the most problematic for me. They are supposed to be washable, but they are as old as when Maddie was in elementary school I would guess. They’re like new, however, still vibrant and moist, and every time Caroline opened one she pulled the cap off across her stomach and dragged the thick marker tip along her shirt in the process, fat marker tip after fat marker tip meeting resistance with her shirt.

She’s at that stage of wanting to do it herself...and how can you squelch that independent streak? Inwardly groan and know that you’ll be scrubbing those marks out...and hanging those little wet clothes over the shower doors.

I love those markers...they have little elephants on them...and Caroline, with her love of elephants, seemed destined to find them...or maybe it’s our love of her response to “What does an elephant say?” She makes a close approximation of an elephant trumpeting and raises her hand up past her head as if it’s an elephant trunk.

Language and brain development unfolding...it’s such a gift to witness.

Tonal inflection is everything when Caroline speaks. 

“No, no,” she’ll say in a soft concerned voice, the second “no” stretched to two syllables. She means “Oh, no!” and she says it whenever something isn’t quite right.

“The eensy weensy spider crawled up the water spot, down came the rain...” we sing, and she’s saying, “No, no,” with deep concern for the spider about to get washed out.

When a bright lightbulb catches her eye, she squints, points and says, “Ow!” Rosie and Taylor have drummed it into her that zoning out and staring at lightbulbs will hurt her eyes. She extrapolates that to the pre-flash of a camera...witness that on my facebook page in a photo taken by Andi Rorick.

Stars in the sky, the star design on her pants, metal star decorations on people’s houses sets her singing, “Twinkle, twinkle, little star...”

“Momma told the doctor and the doctor said, no more monkeys jumping on the bed,” she sings, and wags her pointer finger.

Maddie, also home for the weekend, can’t distinguish Caroline’s words or what she’s singing.

“What’s she saying?”

But she can totally appreciate the cuteness factor.

When Caroline declares “all done” in turn as she observes each of our empty plates at dinner, I thrill inside that she’s gone from declaring she’s “all done” with everything from eating to reading a book, to observing that other people are also “all done.”

She’s so aware and so curious and so smart, so why can’t she comprehend that she can’t splash in the giant dirty greasy puddle in the parking lot? I love how she throws her head back when things don’t go her way. She is just so sweet even when she breaks down...and so incredibly sharp!

My heart just sings that someday soon we will get to repeat this, that baby Ryland, home after 84 days in the hospital, will be singing about monkeys and spiders and stars—and a miniature version of David’s blue Crocs will be sitting at the base of the stairs.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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