My foster grandson will turn three in less than two weeks. I unexpectedly got to spend the day with him last Sunday. I had planned to attend my longest-time friend’s ballroom dance competition that day, as it was the first time it worked out that I could finally see – and celebrate – what has been her passion for several years now. As grandson D is an easy-going child who sees wonder everywhere, he has accompanied me on many great adventures in his young life. I decided to bring him along.
He was fascinated by riding in the glass elevators at the Hyatt, likewise the oversized lobby furniture he scrambled into with great triumph. As it happened to be the day after Halloween, the lavish costumes of the dancing couples didn’t strike him as particularly noteworthy or unusual. He sat upright in his chair, watching the dancers attentively. After each brief dance was over, he clapped heartily, hopped off of his chair, and said with enthusiasm, “Is it over? Can we go back to the car and go home now?”
Each time, I said, “No, not yet! Just a little while longer, OK?”
On the drive back home, he chatted about the trains we passed, the differences between various construction vehicles, and where the passengers waiting on the train platforms might be going.
He was clearly headed in a philosophical direction at that point. And make no mistake, the following conversation was deeply philosophical, with all the curiosity, underlying wonder, and joy at the ability to reflect that entails.
“Tiabuela (which is what D calls me, as in a Spanish conflation of aunt/grandmother), do you know what I’m doing right now?”
“No, D, what are you doing?”
“I’m picking my nose! Do you like to pick your nose, Tiabuela? Do you do it very often?”
“Um, sometimes I pick my nose. Not very often really.”
“I love to! It’s a really good thing to do! If you don’t pick your nose, how do you get your boogers out! You have to get your boogers out!”
“Well, usually I get a Kleenex, and then I blow my nose into the Kleenex.”
“Hmm. I blow my nose sometimes. It’s way better to pick it.”
“I’ve noticed that you do it quite a bit.”
“Know what I’m doing now, Tiabuela? I’m eating my boogers!!”
“Uhhhhh, D, yuck! Don’t they taste yucky??”
“No! They don’t taste yucky! They taste good in my mouth! I like the way they feel inside my mouth! And they don’t make my stomach hurt! They’re not yucky, and they don’t make my stomach hurt.”
“So, some things make your stomach hurt?”
“Yes, but not boogers!”
There was a brief lull, as D gazed out the window and…seemed to be chewing.
“Well,” he said. “What about eye boogers! Do you pick those?!?”
art, top to bottom: Henri Matisse, Robert Henri, Pablo Picasso