Monday, August 31, 2009

Bathroom Monologue: I was the oldest child and the last to learn to tie my shoes

I kneel before my son. He is chubby cheeked and almost cherubic, except for the evil Transformers on his little tee. He kicks up a foot and I take it in one hand.

“You’re my boy,” I tell him, “and I want you to understand how there is harmony in the universe. All life is patterns.”

“Okay, dad,” he says, unfazed thanks to years of comic books about cosmic struggles.

“You’ve got this shoe here,” I say, wiggling his foot. He nods with polite interest.

“And see how the other one looks the same, but flipped over to fit the other foot?”

He nods again, a little less polite. “No shit, dad,” he could say if he knew how to swear. “Shoes match.”

“They do. And you lace them up the same, then tie a knot.”

His lips pull down. He’s been struggling with tying his shoes.

“Look,” I say, squeezing his sneaker. He looks and I narrate, taking one lace by the neb, “I make one loop with this lace, and then what do I do with the other?”

“Make another loop?”

“That’s right! The two sides imitate each other. Then you cross them, like so.”

I pinch and loop the laces. One makes a circle, and the other goes through it.

“Did you see how they did different things there, but swapped sides? One is still one each of your shoe. Pull them tight like that, and you make one whole knot that’s actually a pattern of two laces doing the same stuff.”

He frowns down at Megatron on his shirt. “I don’t get it.”

I release his left foot and pick up the right one.

“You will, with repetition.”


  1. My face still hurts. The soft smile went that far, feeling in a doorway, peeking at 'that kind of a Dad' to surely that kind of a little boy, more prone to Wonder, because of well, that kind of a Dad. (one that would write intensity so sweet)

    ~ Absolutely*Kate, who has been a follower of "The Bathroom Monologues" for some time on my google-reader ... which shows me patterns as well

  2. I think that's one of the sweetest things i've ever read. Thank you for the warmth.

  3. Happy to bring warmth to some people with this one. I wondered how it would be received.

    By the way, I don't have a son and hate children.

  4. You're a mean mean man Johnny the non-father. I melted. I purely melted. And I know those other folks felt it too.

    Well, goes to show you the reach of your writing . . . to connotate such a moment. Though now I wish the kid had kicked the dad's writer pal. ;-)


Counter est. March 2, 2008