‘When it comes to The Kidlet, no stone is left unturned.’
I know I wrote about The Child (AKA “The Kidlet,”) just last week. About how she can recite pi to like a googillion places. (Cool word, googillion. Thanks, Spelling Bee!) But tomorrow’s her birthday. And besides, I thought of a cute story about her Kidletness that I don’t think I’ve told yet.
This is about how, when she was small, The Child would carry a rock around with her pretty much all the time. This would not be a big rock — more like a pebble. (See the photo at the top of this post for a great example sitting right there on the picnic table.) Fortunately, she was attached to just one rock at a time, sort of like mineral serial monogamy. But she had to have that rock on or near her person at all times, usually in a pocket. (Yes, I’d have to check before doing the laundry; we almost destroyed a dryer once when I forgot. You never heard such clunking.)
It wasn’t just rocks she liked. She was into stuffed animals, too, and had a whole menagerie of plushy friends. There was Lion and Penguin and Bear and Squirrel. Also Cow and Lamb. Their names? Lion and Penguin and Bear and Squirrel and Cow. The Lamb was the only animal with a more namelike name. She called him (her?) “Lammie.”
When we’d go on a trip, she would select an animal to accompany us. “Squirrel got to go to Gramma’s last time; now it’s Penguin’s turn.”
But back to rocks.
In addition to the “emotional support pebbles” she would carry around with her, The Kidlet had a rock collection. Her Dad and her Grampa and others were constantly contributing to her hoard. We had one Geologist Friend who gave her a wonderful uncut garnet once. In fact, she liked them so much that she actually wanted a rock in her Christmas stocking.
And, to this day, nothing excites her more — or her Dad, for that matter — than a rock shop. The last Christmas we spent in Flagstaff, our SIL secretly bought a rock his Dudeness had admired in one such shop. It was a terrific gift, though it was a bear to schlepp back on the plane.
Speaking of planes, that’s the story I was talking about. We were on our way to Bonaire one Spring Break and had a layover in Miami. This was back when I had some nice work-related perks, so we were able to while away the wait in the American Airlines Lounge. It was nice; I remember it had tropical fish tanks.
Anyway. We finally left the Lounge and boarded our plane. I’m helping The Child get settled with Lion, I believe it was, when a look of sheer panic crosses her cute little five-year-old face. “I forgot my rock! My rock’s not here! We have to go back for my rock!”
Well. Good Mother that I am, I got up, went to the front of the plane — where they were closing the doors — and said, “I must leave the plane; my child left something behind. Something very important.”
And guess what? They held the doors and let me go back to the Lounge, where I found said rock wedged between some cushions, pocketed it, and rushed back onto the plane.
Of course, I did not reveal that the “very important” thing left in the Lounge was a rock. But I didn’t lie either. Smiling sweetly, I merely said, “Thank you for waiting. My child will be so relieved.”
So happy birthday, dear Child. I’d send you a rock, but you know — postage. Here’s hoping you enjoy this story instead.
Amagansett, New York. March 2023