Monday, September 20, 2010


I had a really lovely day yesterday. Music Boy's folks were headed to a grown up party in Manhattan so he came over to hang out with me. We chose my house because on Sundays in September they close off about 4 blocks of the Avenue outside my door and basically let us all just screw around out there for 5 hours. Some of the local merchants have events or serve food or sell things but mostly it's one block of music and 3 blocks of outdoor seating and places for kids to play. I figured I could bring the dog and the boy to that and we'd have a good time.

We did.

We would not have had as good a time if Teddy's Girl had not joined us for a goodly portion of our street closure goodness and done most of the Eddie-wrangling. After she had left I was able to keep the dog close and help the child navigate the social white waters* of the elementary school set but I had limitations. We would certainly not have been able to participate in the painting. Oy, the painting. It was fun and we all got paint on us, seriously, all of us, right down to the dog. I nearly fell on my ass before I realized how perilous a combination tempera paint and plastic tarps can be. But we did participate because Teddy's Girl held the dog and stood to the side and whispered, "There's cups over there, go! A kid has yellow right over there!" and the like.

You'll notice, though, that there are no pictures. I didn't even take a cell phone shot of the elaborate chalk drawing the Boy created. I'm told it was Clifford The Big Red Dog outside looking into the house where Emily Elizabeth was standing in the window. By now there's probably a beer truck parked on it to make a delivery and I can't show it to you.

A big part of taking photographs for me is recording things for posterity. I like being able to tell the tales of the day and illustrate them with some snaps. Sometimes there are moments or feelings better shown than told. Even when I can't take a lot of shots I tend to grab just a couple and I almost always bring the camera with me even if it's unlikely I'll be able to do much with it. I didn't even bring it with me yesterday. It was partly an exercise for myself to not feel so tied to recording every moment and partly an honest realization that I couldn't wrangle a young dog, a young boy, the social fabric of Myrtle Avenue and photograph it all at once...even with an extra set of adult hands. While we were hanging out I wasn't sorry at all. It was as tough and tougher than I anticipated to keep us all on the right path and happy. If I'd added one more element I wouldn't have been having fun. I had fun and that was the point.

Last night, though, when the Music Parents returned I keenly felt the absence of my pics. Maybe they've seen a hundred drawings of Clifford and Emily Elizabeth but they haven't seen this one. The one I let go without looking back. I know I did the right thing for me/us yesterday but, rather than teaching me the value of not trying to record every teensy milestone it's only renewed my desire to document life with my friends and family. We're all intensely busy and, despite an abundance of technology, it's hard to grab a shot of that fleeting special moment when we're slogging through the intricacies of every day. Most of the time I've got a free hand to click the shutter, though, and I'm going to keep on doing it.

*Wow, I know the kids that I'm close to are an especially well-behaved bunch but it's never more apparent than when we interact with other children in the world. I could fill the internet with just the stories from yesterday but I'll stick to one. We're playing ring toss and have secured 2 of the 20 rings and are sticking to those. We're readjusting which post we toss to about every 5 seconds because other kids are walking in and just pulling them apart or taking them away but we're still having fun. A little girl has all 18 of the other rings strung up her arm. When Music Boy tosses one of his rings to a post she pounces (literally!) and grabs it. So I, feeling just hideous about having to do this as there are no actual parents in sight and I somehow believe that I have a stamp on me branding me as a non-parent, step over and explain that someone else was using that. She replies, "I'm using them." So I have to go with, "Well, we're all sharing so please give that back." And, miraculously she does while I contemplate how long ago I taught classes full of be-tutu'd little girls of her ilk. Moments later she tosses all her rings in the air and walks away from them. But that's not the best part! The best part is that 2 minutes after that when another, slightly younger, boy is hoarding the rings and snakes one of Music Boy's out from under him that same tiny Princess stalks over and lectures him on the importance of sharing until he walks away with no rings at all and decides to play something else. It's like Lord of the Flies out there, folks, and I was almost Piggy.

** While we were tossing rings an Oscar winner was street bowling right next to us. Anyone what to guess who?


  1. im waiting for the name of the oscar winner.

  2. So you don't want to guess? Do you need a hint?

  3. @beebott3:35 PM

    Still guessing on FB!

  4. But maybe really Kate Winslet because she's filming in Bklyn.

  5. No to all guesses so far. At the time this person's movie was made he lived in the East Village but I guess he lives in Brooklyn now.

    You get bonus points just for trying Olivia de Haviland.

  6. I dont want to guess. I just want to know. my brain juice is limited so i'm into instant gratification these days.

  7. Ah, I saw the answer on facebook. That's fun.
    Plus, Spike Lee never won an Oscar. I must have been channeling Kim Basinger when I guessed him.

  8. It was Morgan Sperlock, the guy who made Super Size Me. Looks exactly as he did when he made the movie and his kid is a dead ringer for his partner. They seemed like nice people. He was playing with his kid and said kid did not try to rob Music Boy of any toys so I was bound to like them.