Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Since long before I became a parent I’ve looked at paintings of Mary with Baby Jesus with a view as to how tired Ma is. I tuned into this by noticing that in late Medieval paintings of the Holy Pair, Mary usually looks droopy. Sure she’s Mother of God and all, but that doesn’t preclude being bone tired.

A couple weeks ago I dug a 19th-Century milk-drunk Jesus at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle. Don’t remember the artist, but I recognized the look from when the 2-year-old was more like a 2-month-old.

Now my beloved spouse is a great admirer of what she calls the 2-year-old’s “chub thighs.” And not just our 2-year-old, but any baby. Both next-door neighbors have kids younger than ours. Admirable chub thighs on the lot of them.

I’m usually with the 2-year-old on Tuesdays. I slept in while my spouse fed him breakfast and got ready for work. I had no plans for the day and didn’t know what we would do, but the 2-year-old wanted to go to the art museum, and so that’s what we did. In the few hundred years’ worth of European galleries in which Christian iconography dominated, the 2-year-old and I admired all the chub thighs on the Mary & Babe pictures. Sometimes Baby John the Baptist was in the picture too. “Two babies!” said the 2-year-old.

Sunday morning the 2-year-old and I went to the grocery store to get a helium balloon for Mother’s Day. As we brought it to the star of the day, she got out of bed, and the 2-year-old said, “Mommoo, you have chub thighs!” A very sweet Mother’s Day compliment.

She doesn’t -- she’s slender -- and now we’re trying to explain to our boy that while it’s nice to tell babies and little boys and girls that they have “chub thighs,” grown-ups prefer not to be told this even if it’s true.


At Westlake Mall today we heard a pretty good drummer playing various 5-gallon and 3-gallon plastic buckets for drums, and bottles hanging from a milk crate, and a bucket full of nails for the snare drum. At one stopping point the 2-year-old shouted to everybody, “Clap for the music!” and the drummer said, “Listen to the little guy!”

This evening, while I was cooking dinner the 2-year-old got out all the unused pots and pans and drummed away, which he’s done before, but this time he shouted while drumming, “I’m on the CD! I’m on the CD!” And whenever he stopped playing he would shout, “Clap for the music!”


A couple weeks ago when my folks were here we took them to Pike Place Market, a favorite destination that I don’t frequent enough. Always lots of buskers there, including, that trip, my first time seeing a busker playing erhu, and he was swingin’ it hard. Earlier we had seen a local folk-protest icon named Jim Hinde, whom I’d seen at Folklife, our annual folk festival, last year. Knowing he’d know the 2-year-old’s favorite song, I requested “This Land Is Your Land.” He played instead a pessimistic re-write of it by a friend of his named Jim Page, an extremely prolific and accomplished local songwriter whom I’ve met a number of times and seen play many times. I didn’t care for the pessimistic re-write, which I’d heard before -- “This Land’s Not Made for You and Me” -- but Jim Hinde played it well and the 2-year-old didn’t care, he danced and drew a crowd. As soon as the song was over the 2-year-old clapped and smiled and bounced up and down and said, “Again!” which is what he says when I finish playing a song or reading a book he likes.

Jim Hinde instead played a song I’d almost requested, which I’d heard him do at the folk festival last Memorial Day, a catchy rag-timey number about George W. Bush and his cabinet doing the “Perp Walk.” An optimistic song. The 2-year-old was bouncing, and my spouse and I were digging it, and my conservative parents were looking at other stalls in the market, when out of nowhere a 25-ish looking man walked by, deadpan, staring straight ahead, and singing a perfect harmony and the right words.

For a sweet delirious moment it felt like we were living in a musical.
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