Sunday, February 9, 2014

Family Close-ups

When I knocked on the door of Mabel's apartment on Saturday afternoon, her mother answered and told me, "She woke up from her nap, but she's still in bed because she didn't want to get up before you got here."

Three-year-olds have literal minds. Hearing that I would arrive "after nap time," Mabel kept herself in bed so as not to finish nap time before I arrived.

There is no great wealth of pictures from the long rainy afternoon and evening that passed happily in Mabel's apartment while her parents were out on the town. I did not take any pictures during the hour or more while we played fire engine. I did not take any pictures when we made faces out of dried blueberries on top of our yogurts and then ate the yogurt-blueberry faces, and then made them over again, and then ate them over again, and then made them over again, and then ate them over again, etc, etc. etc.

Mabel remembered that she took my picture with my big heavy camera when we had our last Special Day together two weeks ago. Somehow in the meantime she had figured out how to use several additional buttons and commands. Mabel could trash her own pictures with the trash-button if she didn't like them. She asked me to switch between color and black-and-white and watched how I did it. By next time, I am sure she will also be able to do that for herself.

This time around, my portrait came out sideways.

"Horizontal," said Mabel.

She pointed the camera at the windows, where afternoon faded to dimness behind the glass.

But we didn't spend much time playing with the camera. Not only did we have our Fire Engine game to act out, we also had the talking Wonder-Woman-Rescue-Jet to play with. Wonder Woman's rescue passengers included a lapel-pin shaped like a bear, and a small blue plastic letter M.

There was a bubble bath after dinner. Then we read book after book in the rocking chair until Mabel's eyes began to fall shut and it was time to tuck her into bed. All these things are stored in memory, but not in photographs.