Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Eleanor, at Two and a Half

As a toddler Nora still hasn’t lost her infant oral fixation – we have to watch where the mouth goes. And like my old dog Lady, who despite her high-minded name adored rolling in dead seagull, Nora's tastes lack the smallest measure of discretion. We’ve caught her chewing the soles of shoes, mouthing car tires, licking the window of a Mexican one-hour photo.

Much of the time her voice has the flat affectlessness of Rainman. Except when she is warning us of bears or exclaiming she’s found another cicada. But her body acts in the drama of a cape-wearing magician, a flamboyant conductor. “Put the key in the hole in the robot,” I tell her. “Okay,” she flatly intones, then takes the key for a roller coaster ride through the air before it makes contact with the toy.

Yesterday, she held a wet sponge against her ear. The top of her blonde head was dark with wet strands. She held out the sponge-phone to me and said, “I’m talking to the monkeys!”

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