Friday, July 1, 2011

The PowSessions

The “Pow” Sessions

(3 years 8 months)

Dear Trevor,

You are one proud boy after our daily "Pow" sessions. Today you spoke with your shoulders back and your chest puffed out, "I counted to one hundred."

And indeed you did. With very little help. One interesting thing you did was to follow seventy-nine with seventy-ten, eighty-nine with eighty-ten. Perfectly reasonable, I thought.
You probably won't remember our Pow sessions, so I'll explain them. And I suppose while I'm at it I might as well start at the beginning of numbers for you. And before we begin I think it is only right that we nod in homage to The Count, that great, revolutionary counter of things common and extraordinary, who thrilled and delighted us with his endlessly inventive, and enchanted techniques, proving to a doubting world that good counting form is appropriate always and everywhere.

As you know we live on the fifth floor of a tall building. On each floor on the wall opposite the elevators, is a good-sized black, plastic panel engraved with white that says, "5 Floor.” So one day when you are about eighteen months old we get off the elevator on our floor. You are in my left arm, and the sign just jumps out at me. I step across the hall and point to five. ‘You know what that is?’ I ask. And without waiting for a reply I say, ‘Big five,’ and smack the sign with flat of my palm. You lighted up. You respond to things done with gusto. I held you close to the sign and you gave it a good whack, and sang out, ‘Big five.’

That was the beginning. I found a beautiful graphic on the Museum of Modern Art calendar that features a golden 5, and had it framed and hung it in the vestibule of our apartment. Now when we came home we had two five's to call out.

Next we started in on the lighted numbers above the elevator door, both inside and out. At first I would call them out and you would repeat them. Soon we were calling them together. And then you were calling them, and I was the echo. You loved it. And the reason I think is because we always did it with gusto, both in voice and gesture.

You were so enthusiastic I made up some flash cards. We'd be hysterical counting up to ten. Shouting and laughing like we'd been possessed by the numbers genie. And it was this that led us to the Pow game.

Each morning, after breakfast and woo-wooing, we do teeth. Did I tell you about teeth brushing? There came a time, you were probably about two years old, when you started to resist the idea for no apparent reason. I was concerned that what up to this point had been a lot of fun, might degenerate into a struggle. I was really more than concerned, I was panicked. At that time you were heavily into Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends, and Mommy suggested I name the teeth after the engines. That was a stroke of genius, and got our little enterprise chugging right along. We got one of the little advertising sheets out of an engine package and taped it to the wall above the sink. Reading off the sheet I now address each tooth by name, always, of course, beginning with Thomas. Should I recite the names of the engines out of order according to the flyer, you hastily correct me.

First we brush our teeth together, then I brush yours. Lately I have played the role of Sir Toppam Hat who has come to inspect the engines, and we have a dialogue as we make sure the wheels and coupling rods of each engine are spotless and shining.

I forgot to mention that we sing during the part of brushing where we are each doing our own teeth. Usually the same song we use to wash our armpits in the shower.

Anyway, when Sir Toppam Hat is satisfied, we wash your face. Sometimes you have to fill the sink at this point, and I will take the opportunity to put in my lenses. When you let out the water out of the pond, your two frog hands follow the water down the drain while I supply what the frogs may be thinking or saying. So there we are, I'm sitting on the toilet seat with my hands under a towel, and you're standing on the little ladder, wet hands and face. I take your two hands into the towel and help you off the stool. I rest my hands on my thighs, palms up under the towel. Then we do Pows. I say, ‘How many Pows today?’ or, ‘Ten pows.’ You strike the towel briskly, alternating blows with left and right hands, counting the "Pows" as you go. Sometimes we bargain about the number of Pows. I'll ask for twenty, and you'll say, ‘No, ten.’ I'll say, ‘Okay, ten,’ and off we go. I almost forgot, each time you strike the towel I call out POW!
You’re latest accomplishment is counting to one hundred by tens.

So here's my problem. If First grade is only up to introducing lower case letters, you will be bored out of your bean. And boredom is a killer. I’m hoping for divine inspiration.

Love, Daddy

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