The other evening as I was getting gussied up to go somewhere, I caught Oliver leaning in the bathroom doorway, watching me. I’d been plucking a few stray grey hair from my head, and quickly explained to him that though they didn’t really bother me, I found them distracting sometimes. When I catch my reflection, I keep thinking that white thing I see is a bit of fluff, or dry scalp or something… so I just get rid of it so it doesn’t bug me.
He: You have lots of them in the back.
Me: I’m sure I do. I can’t see them, so they don’t bother me at all. But I am having trouble getting this one… *points to a spot at the side of head I can barely see*
He: Would you like me to get it for you?
Me: Would you? Thanks! Daddy never helps me. *hands tweezers over sits on toilet seat*
He: Why won’t daddy do it?
Me: Oh, I think he just thinks it’s weird and unnatural. He’s worried that it’ll hurt me. And you know, I’ll stop one day when I have more grey hairs than black ones. I mean, otherwise… I’d eventually have to pluck them all out, right?
He made a small smile, but his face quickly returned to a concentrated mask as he plucked out one silvery hair, and then another.
He: Does this hurt you?
Tender boy. His voice sounded small with regret.
Me: Not really. I’m ready for it. Of course, if you just walked up to someone and yanked a hair out, it would be more than surprising… but I’m ready. It’s okay. Really.
He was still quietly unconvinced, I could tell. I decide to distract him.
Me: Hey, do you remember what we call the end of the hair? The little part like a plug, that keeps the hair in your scalp? What that’s called?
He: Um… it’s, um… does it start with ‘F’?
He: Ffffff… faaa…
He: No, I forget.
Me: It’s folicle. Can you spell it?
He: Um… eff, oh, elle…”
He: Eff, oh, elle, eee…
Me: Eff, oh, elle, eye.
He: That’s what I… I was… I’m spelling in French.
Me: Oh! Excuse me. Continue.”
He: Okay. I’ll start again, en Anglais.
Me: As you wish.
I really take such delight in hearing him switch in and out of his language like this. Like, so much.
He: Eff, oh, elle, eye… cee… ay… elle?”
Me: Almost. Cee, elle, eee. Fo-LI-cle. But you were close. Enunciation. You know. It helps with spelling.
He: Mmm-hmm. That’s why you sound like that when you talk to Ava?
Me: What do you mean?
He: Well, just today, you said caah-rot, and not… you know… kerrit.
Me: Well, how would you spell ‘kerrit’ if I said pronounced like that?
He: Um… kay, eee, are…
Me: See? Not helpful when you’re just little and learning.
Me: *lays palm out for tweezers* You can stop now – we don’t have to get them all, you know.
He: *gives me a once-over* You’re pretty, mummy.
Me: *gives him sidelong glance* Stop it. I’m already married.
He’s a nice kid. Not too shabby with the spelling, either. En Francais, that is.