So my son Klaus, is quite shy. I have no idea how it happened. Considering his parents, he’s kind of a freak of nature.  My husband was known in the tri-state area for being a Disturber of the Peace, in his younger days. Good naturedly, of course. But, I’m sure if you mentioned his name to any of the teachers that tried to help mold his young mind, they wouldn’t have to dust off the old student yearbook to remember him.

I probably wouldn’t be as memorable as my Edward, not to the teachers at least. But I think I  just might be to the student body . You see, I pretty much made it my business to talk to them all, at some point. Sooner or later, they would come to know me, because they had no choice. Rides on the bus, out at recess, in class, during tests, woo! this one’s a toughy! after school waiting for the bus, sitting in the bathroom stall next to me, don’t you hate this toilet paper? in the lunch line, during lunch to borrow the ketchup. Anytime was a good time to get to know somebody.  My Dad used to say my Mom could ‘make friends with the devil’. I’m not a fan of Bealzabub, but if he was just hanging around the coffee shop…I might have a few questions for him. Half-caff  with Soy, one ice-cube please,  Double pump Chai’s can take a while, ya know?

 Have I established the fact that Edward and Me are pretty social?

So, we start up a cute kid-factory, and out comes Violet. It was quickly decided she could talk someone’s ear off. And tried to before she even knew real words. And Sunny, our baby, clearly loves the spotlight. I chronicle his antics on Facebook, and have delighted many with stories of his Bravado.

But then there’s the Middler. From the time Klaus was born, I knew he was different. When anyone strange to him would approach, he would bury his downy soft head into my neck, and hide behind my long hair. As he started to walk, I felt like there was an invisible rope, tying him to me. Where Violet would hold out her pudgy little hands to strangers, urging them with her body language to pick her up, Klaus put up a force field that put him and me on one side, strange people(anyone other than me) on the other side.

He’s not a baby anymore, and he has a wonderful group of little friends that know and love him for who he is. But I still see glimpses of his demure, bashful side when in a new setting. And certainly when put in front of an audience. So, when his 4th grade teachers hosted a Poetry Reading for any students that wanted to take part a few evenings back, I was blown away when Klaus conceded almost instantly to my strong suggestion for him to join in. Wow, that wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.

As we sat listening to his classmates, 3 little girls turned around in their seat. “Psssst!!! Klaus!!! Are you doing the Mushroom Poem???”.  I look over at Klaus. What do I see? Pride? Smugness? He grins and nods, and whispers back, “uh huh!!!”

 what’s going on here?

When it came time, Klaus strode boldly over to the tiny author’s stage.  It wasn’t  just the creative composition of his words, it was his delivery. Calm and confident in his ability to hold the audience’s attention, he brought down the house with this, his original poem:

The Mushroom Poem

Mushrooms are Squishy

and tiny

and they can sometimes be edible

and they are Squishy

And my dog ate one and puked on me.

And they are Squishy 

and they come in salads

And they are squishy

and can be hairy and they grow from trees

And they are Squishy

and colorful and sometimes deadly

and they grow in my yard

And they are Squishy

and look like ear wax

and they are flammable

and unicorns eat them

and aliens too.

And they are Squishy

and they grow in my little brother’s ears

And they are Squishy

and you could make earrings out of them.

And did I mention, that they are Squishy? 

 I meant to take a picture of him up there, but I was so delighted and taken aback by the experience, I completely forgot. O well. If I live to be a hundred, I doubt I’ll ever forget the way he looked; beaming as everyone chuckled and clapped. An image came into my mind’s eye, of everyone’s positive energy gushing towards him, and him just standing there,  soaking it all in like radiant sunshine on a winter’s day. He’s surprising me, this one. To look at your child, with new eyes….through other people’s eyes. Whoa.

People don’t see him coming. That’s his charm.

p.s. I’ll never know where he came up with mushrooms as a topic to write about. I had no idea they were flammable. But I’m guessing Klaus somehow found that one out first hand. That part doesn’t surprise me in the least.

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