I’m lying face-down on the kitchen floor, which sounds very much like some culinary accident. But it’s not. My arms are outspread and there’s a measuring tape trailing from my left hand some nine feet into the living room. Cayde is perched on my back.
“So how many feet is this,” I ask wiggling the fingers of my right hand, “To the end of that measuring tape?”
“Excellent. And what does that equal?”
“Turkey vulture plus condor!”
This is bedtime story time which has recently morphed into Google image search/science lesson. Every night, Cayde comes up with a topic and we research it on the web. Tonight it was turkey vultures which necessarily led to condors, and with so many facts about wingspan, the measuring tape got dragged out and I wound up lying on the kitchen floor, a prone turkey vulture on the linoleum. I don’t mind.
Cayden can sometimes be difficult which is code for ‘Cayden is difficult.’ He’s a smart kid, and, that has its challenges. But when he’s engaged, there’s something fantastic in his particular combination of adult affect and otherwise child-like curiosity. Like when he tells me we need to do some math and figure out what condor plus vulture equals.
Before bedtime, Cayde and I planted a sage–a nice Peruvian variety all silver with purple flowers. He helped shovel in the dirt then got distracted by a piece of chalk on the porch.
‘Oh-Daddy! I want to write a funny sentence!’
‘Ok.’ I’m still smarting from when Cayde got mad at me for a lecture about ‘not tearing up the coral-bell flowers’ some weeks back. He promptly wrote on the sidewalk: “I love my Mommy so much!” Then he drew a picture of me with sharp teeth followed by the words: ‘I hate you Daddy!’
The hose erased the picture, but the words are hard to erase from memory.
Tonight, Cayde wrote: “I hat you, Daddy!” And he drew a picture of a hat.
“Isn’t that funny, Daddy?”
He smiled, and I gladly accepted his apology. I now gracefully accept my current role as face-down turkey vulture, for whatever that means.