His Name is Desmond


Almost every week, since I’ve been back in Montreal I babysit Desmond.  Desmond is my friends’ one year-old.  And Desmond I have known since he was a peanut-shaped blob on a dark, grainy ultrasound.  I was at the hospital on the day he was born, and he is the only child that I have had the honor to watch “grow up” over the past year.

Our days together usually look a little like this:  I show up and his face lights up when I pop into the door, only momentarily however, when he realizes that my arrival means mom is off to work.  I distract him by pointing at any old thing out the window, while she sneaks out the door.  And then we do the usual; playing, reading, eating, napping, diaper changing, walks in the Snugly, chasing the cat…..but what Desmond and I are really good at is wrestling.

And we throw down.

He backs his bum up to me and sits on me, slamming his body back over mine.  I scoop him up and we roll, and he always comes back for more.  Sometimes we wrestle with his stuffed shark, which is twice the size of Desmond.  But he takes that shark by the tail and drags him around until there’s no doubt who’s the king of the food chain in this scenario.  The pile-driver bum drop is Desmond’s signature move and it conquers Jaws every time.  He wrestles silently and seriously until I start to tickle, and then his peals of laughter ring out.  We wrestle until we are breathless, and then we wrestle some more.

I gave Desmond a fork to use for his squash cubes last week and I sat in quiet fascination watching him learn to use this new tool.  He never got frustrated when half of his food fell onto his lap.  He never opted for the instant gratification of using his hands, but instead he patiently tried again and again until the yellow gourd was successfully navigated to his mouth.  With pride, he scrunched up his nose, curled his upper lip into the cutest smile you’ve ever seen and chortled breaths in and out of his nostrils.  Which is especially adorable because his mom snorts when she laughs too.

For seemingly no reason at all, while he was playing, he dropped his toy, came up to me and wrapped his tiny arms around my neck and laid his head on my shoulder for a hug.  Little people too, it seems, sometimes have no words for love.

When we walk in the Snugly, I turn him out to see the world and since he is almost at my eye height, I try to see the world through his eyes.  He is quiet and contemplative and I wonder what it must be like:  New.  Safe.  Sparkling.  An enchanting sensory smorgasbord.

What I’m getting at is that I think it’s important to have kid-perspective in your life.  I believe that they are some of my greatest teachers.  They are Zen warriors and they live in the moment, every moment.  They live bravely in a big world, wearing their emotions with honesty and freedom; uncensored and unabashed.  Undiluted purity, not at all watered down with cynicism or doubt or anxiety.   Pure curiosity.  Pure fleeting focus.  Pure wet diaper.  Pure exploration.  Pure joy.

He might have a little body, but Desmond teaches me of strength, patience and big, BIG love.

This post is dedicated to the families, victims and children in Connecticut who lost their joy this week.  My heart bleeds for you.   




2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mélanie
    Dec 17, 2012 @ 18:04:41

    Thanks Jen, again…but especially this time. I think you know why this post is touching me… deeply.


  2. Trackback: A Glimpse of a Girl | Memoirs of a Downward Facing Dog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: