• DRINK TO THE LASSES: Notes from a Woman's College Womb
    DRINK TO THE LASSES: Notes from a Woman's College Womb
    by Mary Beth Ellis
  • Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers
    Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers
    Random House Trade Paperbacks
This area does not yet contain any content.
« Welcome MSNBC.com Readers | Main | On Being Extraordinary »


"I'll see you Sunday?"

This is how Jim The Small Child Nephew shatters my heart in four million pieces, by innocently letting me know that it's OK with him if I'm around, by accidentally reminding me that it is currently God's decision that I should not accompany my godchild to Mass. He'd already demolished his uncle the day before, by gazing up at him with the following: "I like playing trains with you, Uncle Josh."

So I held him to me and his little legs swung off the floor. "Aunt Beth has to go back to Virginia," I said. Will The Baby Nephew, perhaps sensing that Aunt Beth was not thrilled about the idea, squinched his eyes shut and huddled down in his high chair.

"Hiding," he said.

When we entered the room where he and his older brother were playing, Will slid off the bed, smiling in my direction and greeting us with something incomprehensible. "What?... What?" his mother said, and he repeated himself with greater force until we understood it as "Beth here."

"Here," he said firmly, and I leaned my sad grown-up head against his little warm one. Then again, he also repeated "Soccer ball! Soccer ball!" twenty times in a minute and a half, and also, with equal assurance, announced that "Compass is a pigeon."

This was the first time Will and I have been in true conversation. He's a whisperer. "Flowers," he said softly when I pointed to a picture of a kangaroo standing in a garden. When I pick him up, he clings like a koala, even to my hair. He's a sidler where his brother stomps. He will barely tolerate one of Jim's favorite Aunt Activities--perching on my shoulders--but he clamped onto my legs, wailing, when he saw his brother get a turn as soon as I took to tossing both of them around the room. This one... not like the other one. Which is just as he should be.

Jim proposed carrying my camera around, but settled for holding onto the strap. Uncle Josh and I then made the hideous childcare error, but classic extended family "HA!" move, of pointing out the shutter button...on a camera which is exactly like his parents'.

I am now pleased to exhibit my godchild's photographic art, the great bulk of which features said camera strap. Although he chiefly focuses on still life, here's a sampling:


Stink, The Enormous $13 Horse Aunt Beth Bought For Me In a Truck Stop, On Table






Reflections On Closet Door



Aunt Beth and Uncle Josh






Two Pages of Curious George





prints available in the lobby at: mbe@drinktothelasses.com

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (7)

Christmas Card quality, for sure!

May 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterElisabeth

One out of seven ain't bad :-)

May 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterred pill junkie

Jim's onto something with that horse photo...it's pretty solid composition. And the one of his mum makes complete sense! That's exactly what we all stared at when we were three feet tall and heard, "here, give mommy your hand!" whenever we were going someplace.

May 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterj.s.

See, I always knew he's a genius. And as long as we're on extrapolating life views from the photos, I'm highly amused at the fact that he's TOWERING over Will in the closeup of his head.

May 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMB

Sadly, I can't see the horse photo - it just won't open. I love the picture of his mom! It's exactly the view a small child would have when reaching for his mother's hand from behind.

My nephew is 8, so his composition is a bit more mature. However, his photos of his 5 year old brother tend to be views of the back of his head from his "towering" height. That is a disturbing theme. Luckily, he is only holding a camera and not a club!

May 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMonica

Wow, I love that young kids can be handed cameras now...their perspectives are interesting, truly. I wonder if this'll generate better drawing skills at a younger age...


May 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSophie

[...] way, the used high chair, the divided attention.  He combats all of this via extra cuteness and stellar aviary identification skillz.  Every family ought to have a Will– but you can’t have [...]

Comments for this entry have been disabled. Additional comments may not be added to this entry at this time.