Reading the signs, shaking them off

Ironing my shirts through game two of the World Series.  I was going to have to iron slacks if the game went into extra innings.  Like the managers and catchers, preschool teachers have unspoken signs to communicate across distances.  There's the "Please cough into your elbow" sign, and the "Don't pick your nose--icky" series of signals that ends with the "wash your hands with soap" pantomime.

My Chicken Little student has extreme difficulty retrieving the names of things from his brain.  All week he has been doing an initial sound work about Y.  Yuh, yuh, yuh, yellow, yarn, etc.  The major challenge is the egg yolk.  Each time he brings me the picture card he says, "Yuh, yuh, yuh, silk thread."  Y, Y, Y, oh, why does this five year-old boy even have "silk thread" on his brain spool?  I want to crack an egg on his head instead of an acorn.

There's lots of room for confusion with the signs and signals I get from my father.  He speaks very little,and the associations are difficult to place in context.  He makes up and down lines with his index fingers pointing at the end of bed.  He closes his eyes in exhaustion and frustration with his clueless daughter.  Finally he says "stick".  Later he says, "straws" and "stand".  In the middle of the night I wake up realizing he wants his cane or his walker so he can try again to escape.  He is not really talking about the three little pigs building their houses.

In the Buick I'm listening to a cd of Norman Maclean's Young Men and Fire.  It is painful to get out of the car and leave the storytelling, so clear, so ordered, so profound.  I want to keep driving, perhaps all the way to Missoula.

Once inside, I am reading Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus.  It also pulls me into a fantastic world that is painful to leave.  So I sit beside Dad as he naps and remain in the black and white tent.

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


Kim said...

I love baseball. I am rooting for Texas this year as I am a Cub fan and we are not allowed to root for the Cards in the Series. Also I want to read that book Young Men and Fire, especially now when you describe it as so well written!

Collagemama said...

Kim--The cd of Young Men and Fire is really good. I am going to have to read more of MacLean. You must get The Night Circus!


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