The matchbox cars

20190531_184236.jpg

Matchbox cars are always good. These are old, some sand from a sandpit in the seventies fell out all over the carpet. Digger, trucks, tractors, trailer, the trailer with a sharp edge.

Pa says, watch that trailer, it has a sharp edge. But Max has already assessed the trailer rubbed his thumb across the razy edge of its spine, noted it with interest.

Should file that off! (But doesn’t.) As it’s not been done for three generations.

Max adds noise to the vehicles, amazing that he knows so much engine talk!

Pa dozes next to the car park, the toys were all his, then our kids, now the grandkids. Must be the same play in a different decade, on a chilly evening, Pa snoozing and Nan reading and the dinner not even ready yet.

Jane and Sally teach Max to build with blocks using impressive strategies

Jane_(2)

Sally and Jane came over to play. They tip out the basket of wooden blocks, made by a devoted great great uncle who cut and sanded each one by hand. They are silky and woody and click side by side in a pleasing way. Sally and Jane are emperors of the creative. They kneel and get to work, frowning, concentrated and direct. Max stands back, awed by the energy, drawn in, breathing hard, unable to join in with this much information confounding his eyes.
He wants to build, but so far in his toddler life, he has only participated in knocking things down, a powerful and passionate game that fills his mind and hands with cloudy and lovely detail.

But Sally and Jane have progressed beyond deconstructing to creating. Sally is making a wall and Jane, a robot. They talk to me at the same time. They tell me the local street gossip ( once when Jane  fell from her bike, this other person just went past and did not help) and all the things happening at school. There is a boy who teases Jane and she must tell him that she does not like this. The sisters exchange significant looks. Apparently, the boy does not listen very well. To be in grade three and grade one is exhausting, there are always complex difficulties. Max sits on his heels and gazes at the faces of these little girls, he watches their eyes and their words and their lives.
He wants to knock down the wooden blocks.
Jane can see his baby desire coming true but she outranks it with a better idea. She offers him a treasure, a block from her stack, for him, to build. She says: here you go Maxy. Build it up, build it up.
Sally says, without looking up: give him more than that!
Jane says: don’t you worry about me Sally!
Sally says: well I know that my bike has a sore tyre.
Jane says: here you go, Maxy
And then Max is building. Building by himself, mouth open, breathing in the strength, dribbling ideas, stacking three bricks by himself, staring at this balance, at this outrage, at his new and accumulating evening.

 

 

 

 

 

Sally and Jane live next door

20180328_174706

Sally and Jane live next door and we call them the Fairy Canaries and they are always interesting, always unfailingly kind and always say really good things.

Sally says its good that they don’t live too far away from us.

We think so too.

This afternoon when I arrived home from the shop, Max has just spilled off his little bike into the grape vines and is fairly unhappy.

Sally and Jane can hear him from over the fence.

After school each night Sally and Jane have a rainbow life in their garden, front and back, and also out on the road with all their friends, racing thought the warm sunlight, inventing games and multiplying their ideas, their health and their life every hour.

When they hear Max, they ask after his health. They say: is Maxy ok? Is he all right? Kerry, can we see him?

I hold Max up and he stares over the fence in amazement at Sally and Jane being right there and he is covered in tomato sauce, biscuit crumbs, vine leaves and tears.

Sally said that when she was a bobbler she also had a fall from her bike and she showed me with her foot the exact place that she fell, which is where she is standing right now. She measures out a line and explains how she crashed right there. Then she examined the line and rubbed it out. She redrew it carefully about five cm to the left and said: no, actually it was there.

They told me that they are practicing for sports day.

They said that Max needs a bath.

They said oh well, never mind, Maxy, these things happen and then will you be ok again.

Then they went away and the afternoon continued on, moving through the dazzling warm light and the dust and the children playing and Max not wanting to go inside for a bath.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Max puts one decoration on the tree.

Screenshot_2017-12-06-11-19-22.jpg

And this takes all morning as it is delicate work.

Max’s Christmas decoration is three nappy pins joined together.

He thrusts it into the tree but the branches bend. Other decorations fall down. The tinsel is annoying, it annoys his eyelashes. More things fall. He does not blink and he does not mind, things falling are not his concern.

He kneels on top of the nativity, he does not notice that the whole nativity has toppled, the pieces stare upwards into his concentration.

The room is filled with concentration, Christmas has gone quiet. He has chosen a superb place for the nappy pins to hang, the lowest branch but the lowest branch, although looking solid will not support his clutching fervent hands or his loud breathing. He falls, the pins fall, an angel and three green baubles fall, then some purple tinsel falls with a sigh and he stares at the purple for a long time.

Max is not perturbed, the branch is still there, the pins are still there, the work can continue.

He thrusts the pins onto the lowest branch over and over and suddenly, they stay there. He sits back, regards them steadily. But he is unimpressed. He pulls them off and hurls them to the floor, they make a noise, faint, the faint noise of pins falling to the floor when they are joined together. He picks them up and shakes them, and again, and again.  Now there is new work to do.

He turns his back to the Christmas tree.