Clergy's internet toolkit at OHALAH
Reprint: Interview with Rachel Adler (in anticipation of OHALAH)

The last toddler house poem


You run and climb, sit backwards
on your little chair, ascend stairs
one footfall on each step. You sleep
in the big-boy bed your daddy made
and we're about to remove the rail.
You speak in compound sentences:
remember when we went on a big airplane
to Nonni and Papa's house, to Texas;
when I get bigger I won't try quesadillas!

You have fervent opinions
about which book to read next
which blanket sleeper to wear
which song I should sing and when.
You're a magic beanstalk, tall
as a four-year-old, and when you kick
the wall beside your bed
it sounds like an officer pounding
at the door. You're not a toddler
anymore: you're a child, a boy,
a youth. Most nights now you settle
at the end of your bed for our routine
because on my lap you sprawl
from my shoulders to my knees.
You're uncontainable. Daily now I pray
for the good sense to fence you in
only as much as you need, to enjoy
your bedtime-forestalling antics
(as though you really thought
your head goes at the foot end!)
to let you into my lap anytime you ask
because you do give super hugs
and someday you'll roll your eyes
instead of clambering all over me
but not yet, thank God, not now.

I think this is the last of the so-called Toddler House poems. I was looking back over those collected poems this morning and realized that they chronicle a moment in Drew's life which is already over; he's not a toddler anymore, and hasn't been for some time. So I drafted this poem to serve as the capstone to that small collection. I'm not sure what the collection's fate will be -- a wee chapbook, a sequel to the not-yet-published (but due this year!) Waiting to Unfold? -- but I'm glad to have the poems as a scattered chronicle of the toddler year(s).