Monday, March 31, 2008

Good stuff all the way around

Spiderman ukulele boy is now three!

And he goes everywhere with us. Yesterday he delivered birthday cake to all our friends and neighbors on the street. Today he went with us to the photography shop where we had our passport photos taken. He returned Sami to us at the critical moment but then morphed back into our favorite strumming superhero when we hit the sidewalk. He joined us at Lowe's where we hunted for seeds for our garden (more on that in a minute) and at the grocery store. He ate dinner with us and is now sleeping with his arms wrapped tightly around the ukulele. Oliver used to wear a one gallon potting container on his head every where he went. He even wore it to bed. That was at about the same time he was diagnosed so I thought it was a sign of pathology. Now I see it was the pathology of Three!

Today, ukulele boy and the other one walked with me through the fine rain to measure the growth in our garden since yesterday. I love this time of year because every day looks a bit different out there. And this year we have a new gardening adventure on our horizon: vegetables. A neighbor up the block got permission to turn a vacant lot into a community garden and we all got to work this past weekend. As everyone was busy turning the lot into a garden, hauling topsoil, manure and mulch, my two boys joined right in. It was an amazing day. Oliver showed a great interest in the building of a rabbit hutch and our neighborhood bob the builder was such a fantastic and patient guide, helping him to saw and measure and hammer nails. I stood back some distance, trying not to intrude, but inside I was dancing. And it was all I could do not to give this guy a big slobbery kiss at the end of the day. It is so rare to find people who genuinely treat Oliver like just another five year old boy.

A couple of times when I was working I looked over into the neighboring yard where all the kids were corralled and marveled. They were all dirty and digging, or walking around with sticks or buckets or whatever. A string of dark clothes was hanging between two trees, one of which housed the funkiest looking tree house you ever saw. Chickens wandered around at the feet of the kids. There was a giant ditch in the middle of the yard filled with muddy water. And Oliver was just part of the milieu. At one point I saw him chasing another little boy and, growing tense, I stopped to see what was going on. Later, the other boy explained that Oliver was trying to get his apple. He had tried to give Oliver an apple of his own but Oliver wanted the one that the boy was eating. Then, my good friend and neighbor explained to the boy that he needed to first take a bite out of the apple he was offering Oliver (for some reason Oliver cannot bring himself to take that first bite). Now, let me just say that this is kind of a strange thing about my boy. And I was too far away to navigate the situation for him, which always makes me feel uneasy. But watching all this transpire and hearing the boy tell me about it later, with a great deal of pride and humor, I felt immeasurably better. Somehow we have found ourselves in a community of people who are willing to help Oliver navigate without making us feel that he is so very strange or different. Sometimes, when I think of the school situation, I find myself thinking: there is just no place for my boy. But after this day of fresh air, blue skies and a couple of apples, I'm beginning to believe that might not be true after all and I am oh, so grateful.

This is the vacant lot that will soon be our garden!

And here it is underway!

The start of a rabbit hutch (portable fertilizer!).


  1. Wow, this is really heartwarming and beautiful. Sounds like a near perfect day in the garden.

    And Spiderman ukelele boy? HOw adorable! Yes, the pathology of THREE! LOL

  2. Lots of good news here- yay!

    You're exactly right about the pathology of three. Now that mine is 4, I can't remember the last time he wore a costume. Have no fear, he has retained his super-hero powers...

  3. Anonymous8:57 AM

    This is great, Christine. Feeling part of a larger community and knowing they welcome and respect you and your family is a wonderful thing. I can't wait to hear more about the garden this spring.