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Mom, Look Closer


Thing2 went to bed at nine last night, with supper but without  iPads, Harry Potter wands, muscle padding or any other accoutrement which might inspire more creative ways of avoiding sleep.  He would get his revenge.

About 10PM, the Big Guy and I finished a rerun of The Office and headed to bed.

Lately, I’ve been heading to bed and grabbing items that might make a good still life in the morning.  Perhaps because I almost stepped on them for a repeat of my unfortunate performance, Thing2’s cracked iPad and yellow Lego car made the journey down the hall to the Mom-Cave.

Before the clock struck on the half-hour, I had a lovely arrangement of garlic (I love garlic in my still life) and an old-fashioned looking camera in front of a stack of elegant books, crowned by the cracked iPad and yellow Lego car. It was perfect.  I didn’t know what it represented, except a desire to avoid tripping on the Lego if the cat’s exploration of the kitchen island (which, coincidentally, sounds just like a burglar rummaging around in the dirty dishes), but it was perfect.

At 5AM the alarm went off. The animals were let out to use the facilities.  The fire in the wood stove was lit. Music started, and at 5:30, I sat down to immortalize the still life.

Five minutes later, the dog was ready to come in.  As soon as I shut the door, the cat was climbing on the screen, letting me know he was coming in, one way or another.  Back down the hall I hobbled, settling into study the still very still life on my desk.

It was 6:00AM. A whole hour before the kids had to be out of bed.

First the outlines.  I started penciling in the reflection of the car on the iPad just as  Katy the wonder dog began scratching at the door of the Mom-Cave, certain that there were turkeys crossing the yard in the dark with no one to bark at them.  The door opened as the Big Guy poked his head in to say good bye.

The iPad was beginning to look like an iPad, and the pencil began filling in the first book by 6:20 when Thing2 popped his head in to say he was ready to go skating after school, and, to his credit, he was dressed and ready to go, six hours and forty minutes ahead of time.  The swish-swish of his red puff coat filled the room as he draped himself over my drawing arm in various positions, trying out his favorite exercise – HOGA (hugging yoga).

“Hey, why do you have my iPad?” Thing2 broke out of the Meditative Trachea Squeeze Pose.

“I’m drawing it,” I said. He leaned over my shoulder to study the barely begun sketch.

“Wow!”  The seven o’ clock chimes began, and he moved into Parental Arm Entrapment Pose.  “Why are you drawing all those things with it?”

“I don’t know, buddy,” I answered truthfully.  “It’s supposed to be a still life.”

“What’s a still life?” he asked.

“Just a picture of a bunch of stuff,” I said.  “I just picked a bunch of stuff from our life.”

Thing2 nodded, but there was still a crease on his brow.

His morning HOGA complete, Thing2 moved into the aerobic phase of his workout – Badgering Older Brothers out of Bed (burns TONS of calories and is a terrific form of birth control for most older siblings).

Noon was skating time, but a case of pink eye brought us home early.  It seemed like a perfect time to wrap up the morning sketch, so I took care of a couple administrative issues and toddled down the hall to the Mom-Cave.  I sat down and opened my book, automatically picking up where I left off.

But then I had to look closer.

The still life I had so carefully contrived the night before was missing a few pieces (over which I will surely trip tonight).  Thing2’s homework was done, so I really couldn’t restore the arrangement, but I decided on another sketch for the evening.  Suddenly that stationary pile of inanimate objects didn’t seem to be a good representation of what I had almost written off as a terribly still life.