I knew by Zoomie's tone that this was going to be a serious question--one of many he asked while he was staying with me last week.
"Why is your arm loose?"
With no small concern, I ran a quick check on my left arm from shoulder to wrist. When all appeared to be in order and no dismemberment seemed imminent, I breathed a sigh of relief. That's when an inquisitive little hand reached out to wiggle-pinch that flap of skin on the underside of my upper arm. Yes, Zoomie had discovered that bane of existence plaguing every woman with an AARP card.
"It's not exactly loose," I reassured him. "It's just--kind of--soft, I guess."
Instantly my mind traveled to the iconic Lake Wobegon, home of writer Garrison Keillor and his elementary teacher, who demonstrated this same anatomical anomaly when writing on the chalkboard. Who could forget that scene where a classroom of little north country smart-alecks in the '50s immortalized the arm flaps of their teacher by naming them "Bob" and "Hoppy"?
Shuddering, I changed the subject before the creative side of Zoomie's brain kicked in and he began to contemplate names of his own. Knowing him as I do, and aware of the preoccupations of four-year-old boys, I figured any names he would come up with would reflect rather crude body parts or functions.
"Just think," I said. "It's only a few more days until your birthday." I was thankful for the direction our conversation took from there as he tried to guess what Pa-pa and I had gotten him for a present.
Today is the birthday of the sweet little guy who entered the world five years ago today looking like this:
Now, like his cousin Beenie, he is ready to enter kindergarten in the fall. It is hard to believe how he has grown and changed:
Happy birthday to you, Zoomie. What a joy to have spent with you the last glorious week you were four. It will be fun to hear your take on the new worlds that kindergarten will open for you. I know you will love it, and your natural curiosity and desire to learn will take you far.
One suggestion, though. Should your teacher turn her back and write on the board, it might be prudent not to ask her questions that involve flaps or jiggles. Just keep your focus on those letters and numbers, and you will sail through your first school year like a rock star.
Good night now, sweet boy. Bob, Hoppy, and I have had a busy week, thanks to you, and we are ready to call it a day. May your dreams be filled with cakes, candles, and presents, and may these first days of being five years old be your best ever!