I’m in the Bom Bom room with my granddaughters, Simone (Mone), 3, and Naomi Lou, 2. It’s really the Jazzercise studio. Mone named it “Bom Bom” way back when she’d just learned to walk. We’d go out there to goof around. I was playing tunes for her, trying to decide what new routine to learn and she bounced up and down the most-est to this one, by Sam and the Womp: “I’m the cat with the bass and drum, goin’ around like, ‘bom, bom, bom’.” Catchy. Fun. Her hips wiggled side to side. Boom, boom, boom.
Today, we decide we need mats, lots of mats, from the shelf in the closet. Down they come. Boom, boom, boom. At least twenty of them. I tried to get Naomi interested in the song Juicy Wiggle, earlier, in the kitchen, when she wanted juice, which she calls “juicy”. I put it on now. Red Foo sings, “I asked them what they doin’ and they said, ‘juicy wiggle’.” As you can see, the tunes me and my girls listen to have deep lyrics and great political value.
Anyway, after we dance around the Bom Bom for a while, showing each other our juicy wiggle, I start placing the mats, rolled into cylinders, upright around Mone. Eyes bright, giggling, you can tell she’s imagining what our fort will look like, feel like. Her nose has been running all morning. She’s been saying “boogie” over and over. Her hair is wild, a thin braid running down her back with tons of strands escaping out the sides. She’s wearing her cute maroon t-shirt dress from Old Navy, with the flouncy netted skirt, like a tutu. Naomi runs around, tight Frozen pants on, quilted pink sweater, blond hair fine, short and sticking up here and there.
When Naomi gets to the fort, I say, “Say, ‘open sesame’.” “Open sesame,” she says in her precious soft voice. (My mom told me this about my two girls. “They have the sweetest voices.” I was so busy then. My girls had sweet voices too?) I create a doorway by moving one of the mats. And there they are, two little sisters inside a big fort inside the Bom Bom! It’s so exciting! And brief. Accidentally, one mat gets knocked down, then another, then another and then they’re both flinging mats all over and the fort is destroyed.
“Again? Again?” Naomi says.
And I rebuild. It’s what we do, us humans, is it not? Build? Knowing nothing lasts? Everything needs mending, sometime hence. Things, people? They all fall down, eventually.
Mone and Naomi knock the fort down again. I rebuild. They knock it down. I chase Naomi around and around and around and she giggles and giggles and giggles, while Mone makes me a blue mat road, lovely and smooth.
I say, “Ok. Tidy-up-time.”
“NO,” says Mone.
I give her a time-out, to think about this, in the corner, where there’s lots of light, where the patio door and the windows meet. She’s frustrated and sad, but alert. After watching Naomi hand mats to me, one at a time, to put it on the shelf, she jumps up, hands a mat to Naomi, Naomi hands it to me, I put it on the shelf. Teamwork!
We go in to the flour-dusted kitchen, chow down on chocolate chip cookies they helped me make earlier. I put some in a baggie for them to take home. We gather up our stuff, then play the Leaving Game in the mudroom for a bit. The Leaving Game goes something like this: Mone puts my boots on and clomps around. Naomi puts her boots on the wrong feet without her socks then remembers she has to pee-pee. Mone puts her coat on upside-down. Naomi can’t find her hat and when she does she puts it on backwards. They’re both captivated by the navy and white umbrellie in the brass stand. I have to show them the five more umbrellies in my closet. “Too many umbrellies!” we say. When we’re finally all stuffed into Flexi and buckled in Mone says, “Oh no! Stripes blankie!” and Naomi says, “Oh no! Cinderellie!” I must go back into the house, to the rescue.
Driving home, we go on the Wee Road, where there are gigantic hills, up and down, and really sharp turns, left and right. “Hold onto the rails,” Mone warns her sister, grabbing the sides of her car seat. Then Mone says, “Paw Patrol is on a roll.” It’s what Marshall, the Dalmatian, says. You have to say it in a low, deep voice. “Paw Patrol is on a roll.” We all practice it, over and over. Then it’s time to turn onto Funshawe. Because it’s so fun, on Funshawe, you have to laugh and laugh and laugh, slapping your knee. Try it. It is fun and makes you really happy, even if you’re tired, even if you’re sad. Travelling on Funshawe is kind of like Laughter Yoga – Hasyayoga. You start off pretending, then next thing you know, you’re on a roll of real, contagious laughter. All your cares just melt away.