Friday, January 5, 2018


* A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2017*

Matteo:  This weekend, I found myself back at the Lady Fair Laundromat.  I thought the washing machine fad had passed, since you suddenly stopped talking about them all the time.  Hot Wheels had come into your life.  At four years old, your focus was singular.  Your love of washing machines led to the purchase of three toy versions, so you could run your own mini laundromat.  You spent hours filling them with assorted small objects--blocks and trucks and smiling figurines.  These forgotten toys suddenly had a new purpose: the investigation of how size and shape and weight are affected by spin cycle.  The more noise they made while clanging and spinning their way around the tiny drum the better.  You also did “laundry.”  Oh so much laundry.  You would pull the socks off my feet, cramming them into your spinning cleaning machine.  “I’m going to wash your big socks, Mama!  One at a time.  Veerrry carefully.”  You spent hours watching DIY videos of washing machine repair.  Front loaders were better than top loaders, in your opinion.  On the weekends, you begged to go to the laundromat.  We would offer to take you to the park, the trampoline center, the children’s museum, but you preferred the “laundrymat.”  We gave in a few times and took turns escorting you there, inserting dollars into the change machine, purchasing those tiny boxes of Tide from the vending machine, pushing buttons on the machines, watching them spin and slosh soapy water at high speeds.  Suddenly, I understood the appeal of water and moving parts in one.  It was pretty cool, when I thought about it.  I hadn’t been to the laundromat since college.  I remember passing the time it took to wash and dry a load of laundry drinking coffee and reading heavy textbooks.  Now, I passed the time watching my four year old run up and down the rows of machines, opening and closing doors, marveling at the size of a jumbo washer, meant for heavy duty items, like rugs.  “He sure likes washing machines,” random strangers informed me.  Yup.  But then you got closer to five and toy cars were suddenly everything.  Every question that had led to “washing machines” now led to “Hot Wheels” instead.  What do you want for Christmas?  Hot Wheels.  What’s your favorite toy?  Hot Wheels.  No more trips to the laundromat for us.  But here we are almost a year later, and your old flame has been reignited.  You want to go to the “laundrymat” and watch the machines spin.  Our greatest loves are like that, I guess.  Sometimes we move away from them for a while, but they usually find a way to spin back around into our lives again.  I think that’s a good thing.  

Lilah:  You are so good at keeping yourself busy during our mornings together.  I love this early time with you, before nap time, while you are still well-rested and easily entertained.  While Mama sweeps the floor or gets the bread ready for lunch, you happily line up all the little animals to dry in the sun.  You call them your babies.  They had a bath before Brother left for school in the morning and you found them just laying there, haphazardly, in a soggy pile on the table.  They look much happier now, sitting up and soaking in that nice warm sun through the window.

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