Justin came home today with a little piece of paper that had some red scribbles on it along with two big puffy pink heart stickers. He was so proud of it. Apparently a girl who rides his bus gave it to him. He doesn’t know her name. I’m not sure if she singled him out, or if she has a habit of passing out these little missives.
Alex was jealous. He was pouty about it for a lot of the evening. So while he and Justin were outside cooking up God knows what kind of mayhem, I decided I’d make Alex a little note. I got a piece of pretty blue, green and yellow striped paper, put some stickers with his name on it, and decorated it with some flower and butterfly stickers.
When he came in, I gave it to him. He liked it, but was disappointed there were no hearts on it. I offered to draw some on it, but that was no good. He wanted “real” hearts. He got a drink and went back outside. I went back to the drawing board. I cut two hearts out of some white paper and glued them on the yellow back of the card where I’d signed my name.
I went outside to walk the dog. Alex said to me, very sternly, “You got hearts?”
“Yes, your card is in the kitchen.”
“Did you draw them?”
“No, I glued them on.”
He nodded in approval, and ran off to chase Justin on his bike. Once I rounded everyone up, and forced them inside when it got dark, Alex took a look at his card. He seemed to like it.
“Where did you get these hearts?”
“I cut them out of paper.”
“I wanted hearts NOT here. I want them on the front of it.”
“Did you now?”
“Yes. This is NOT the best card ever.”
He went to bother Cameron and Justin, who were at the kitchen table playing a football game Cameron invented using pencil top erasers for players.
One last shot, I thought. I was feeling extra patient tonight, found some textured saffron-colored paper, cut out some more hearts, and glued them to the front of the card. This seemed to meet Alex’s standards, and he carried it around for the rest of the night, telling me how much he loved it.
Alex. The boy in him is so sweet. The four year-old in him is exhausting.
© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2011