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Irrepressible Niblet This I Believe

When I Was Young and Full of Grace

I believe, when my aunt labeled the Wee Niblet “irrepressible,” that she saved me at least twenty-three minutes of racking my brain to find the most apropos adjective for the little nutter. Indeed, without her astute assessment of him, I might have thoughtlessly described the lad as merely “zestful” or “bubbling.”

What a mistake that would have been, for he and his occasional mohawk efortlessly infuse twelve thousand bubbles, with small lungs and a twisty straw, into piles of unsuspecting zest, shake them to the tune of a mambo, stir the concoction with Mad Maxian vigor, and top it all off with an olive (or rather, ten of them, pitted, each waggling on the tip of a grubby finger).

Niblet is four. Niblet has remarkable mojo.

It is rising.

Placing a call on his hot dog phone

His days begin when he rolls into our bedroom, climbs into the parental bed, and starts kneading my belly, elbow skin, and neck folds (there are no greater expressions of affection from this tactile preschooler). After a bit of a cuddle, he’s ready to “watch,” a half-hour that has him singing and dancing in front of the tv…unless his watching gets derailed by a pick-up round of “Animal School” with his Girl sister. When they play Animal School, she teaches; naturally, he is a student and sits in his assigned place among the penguins, unicorns, bats, and gorillas. So effortless is his popularity that he may run for Animal School Council (they need a new treasurer).

As he watches or plays, Der Niblet munches on his breakfast of beef jerky, pickles, and/or croutons. By 9 a.m., his visionary and entrepreneurial spirit has awakened, and we find ourselves making helmets that are half-alien, half-dinosaur. Generally, the purpose of the helmet is not specifically revealed, but we’re amenable to pitching in because participating in the process means that we have license to make a whole lot of googly eyes and antennae–honest work that keeps us out of the meth lab. Plus, he needs an assist with the hot glue gun.

In between projects, there is some dabbling with chess, playing Camel Poop Care Bears with the neighbor girl, organizing his Pokemon binder, breaking eggs for the pizza dough, and cutting up National Geographic magazines. At some point during this agenda, The Boy Hurricane either makes a case for it being a pajama day or for wearing tights, a sportcoat, and a Frankenstein tie.

Best of all, while his given name is fairly unique in the U.S., setting him apart in any classroom or puke-ridden ball pit, he finds it unsatisfactory. Several months ago, as Niblet sat in his sweat lodge, toying with his ceremonial pipe, a new name delivered itself to our chap, a name that he, in turn, revealed to us. It is his true name, he maintains, and it should be the only one we use to address him.

It is Dinko.

Certainly, I slip up. Sometimes my mistakes slide by; sometimes I am quietly but firmly reminded of his Dinko-ishness. Sometimes he’d like to reprimand me for being so absent/neglectful/audacious as to not recall my own son’s name.

But then he spots his little sewing machine or a bag of magnets across the room, and he’s gone. I am temporarily off the Dinko hook.

Of course, when he trips up to me, three minutes later, holding a pop-up book about King Tutankhamun in hand, I’m back in the hot (glue gun) seat. You see, Dinko is adamant about the pronuciation of that dead pharaoh’s name, and when I read it with its traditional inflection, the boy grounds me with a glare and an exasperated: “Maw-om, it’s Too-kin-ham!”

Quickly forgiven once I apologize and practice, I am then invited over to his ever-evolving diarama of King Too-kin-ham’s barge, where my finer motor controls are required–to tape in a few new loaves of bread and storage barrels. The whole thing is made out of grocery bags, chopsticks, and unfettered whimsy.

Dinko’s days are full; he has many departments, from barges to monster-making, that require constant attention.

Frankly, we can’t figure out from whence all this zany caprice stems.


Although the origins of his character are murky, it is clear that Dinko is a one-man goof troupe.

This, I believe.

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pillows subjects of passion This I Believe

Coyotes; Time As An Abstract

NPR runs a weekly audio essay entitled “This I Believe” in which average folks hold forth on an issue or idea that they hold dear; NPR describes this segment as a forum where people “…from all walks of life share the personal philosophies and core values that guide their daily lives.”

Since I walk and have a life, I must also have philosophies and values, ja? And dammit, but I’ve held back with my personal views long enough on this blog. It’s time to cut loose.

Thus, I’ve decided I will occasionally feature my own “This I Believe” posts, from time to time, especially when blogging time is at a premium, and I need easy filler. My “This I Believe” posts are just me vamping a bit (again, not something we’re familiar with on this blog).

But let’s keep that vamping part just between you and me, okay?

Shake on it?

Cool. But your palms are a little sweaty. Are you hiding something?

After much consideration and vetting (I had to toss out gun control and the death penalty–too thinky for this hollow noggin), I have arrived at this week’s issue of deep passion:

I believe pillows, like my belly, should be fluffy.

When punched and scrunched, a good pillow should change shape. A good pillow, after the fashion of my husband, should give and give and give and then, to top it all off, be a little more flexible.

I detest a hard pillow. Those unforgiving ironing-board-like pillows that never take on an indentation, even when brass knuckles are applied with great force? They’re just mean.

And after my early thirties and a particularly-bad break-up, I made a solemn vow that never again would I allow Mean into my bed. Whether a wolf in sheep’s clothing or an ironing board in a pillowcase, I will not abide the mean.

The thing about an adamantine pillow is that it hurts me, even when I’ve been nuthin’ but good to it. I give it flannel and jersey; I speak to it gently; I lay the freshest of heads upon it. But then, during the night, it gives me, in return, a bloodied cauliflower ear. It makes the side of my head feel like a lugnut has been soldered on during dreamtime, and I do have ever so difficult a time hanging earrings off a lugnut.

Hard pillows, those compressed anti-downers, need to be fired. Take away their jobs; put them in the incinerator; glaze them and shove them into a kiln–but fire them.

This, I Believe.

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