complete engagement

unpolished thoughts 3/17/2019

My daughter and her cousin are making apple cinnamon pancakes, talking together like experts.

“This butter you put in here really makes them crispy.”

“It’s gonna make everything easier. Just trust me.”

I love how kids have no idea how hilarious they are.

These two are a kind of natural match. Just put them together and the sparks start to fly. After their last sleepover, my daughter told me, “Our conversations are AH-mazing!”

They are never bored. The latest movie, a new pair of shoes, their parent’s annoying habits – they could go on forever.

Their engagement with the topic at hand is complete. There is no other background buzz in their attention as far as I can see.

I wish I could pretend it took no effort to enter into their world, jump into one of these conversations without any background buzz of my own, no grown up concerns about what I need to be getting back to.

The other cousin just emerged from Dreamland and joins them in the kitchen. She immediately enters into the mix, commenting on the smells. They inform her immediately of everything they are doing and why, bringing her up to speed.

My daughter then tells a story about a TV show, beginning with why her friends told her she should watch it and then the blow-by-blow.

“Oh my GOD!” the cousins say when she hits the highlights, as if the story were about someone they knew.

Returning to the pancakes, one of them says, “These look perfect. I mean, they don’t look disgusting.”

Sounds like success.

The butter that makes everything easier sizzles on the saucepan.

New conversation topic:

“If you had to sneeze or cough for the rest of your life, which would you prefer?”

Sneezing is the clear preference for all three girls.

One of the cousins wants to take a video of my daughter flipping the pancakes. “She says I’m an amazing flipper,” she explains to the other cousin.


Apparently, the flip really was perfect – and caught on film.

They could go on like this all day.

In two hours from now, when my sister comes to pick them up, there will likely be drama. At her house, the cousins usually act as accomplices, telling me they have no idea where my daughter is in the least believable way.

(She is under their bed.)

Soon breakfast will be ready. I will be the restaurant guest and there will be copious instructions to follow: where I should sit, what I should put on my pancake, what to notice when I take my first bite.

“Seth, the pancakes are ready!” shouts a cousin.

She is quickly shot down, “No, no, no – they’re not ready yet!”

The announcement is quickly retracted.

It isn’t just breakfast, after all. It’s a major event, and it can’t begin without the proper ceremony.


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