6.23.2008

My Budding Marxist Casanova

When I was on a mission in Ukraine not too many years after the Soviet Union disintegrated, I was riding the tramvai with a Ukrainian friend of mine. She was a philosopher of sorts and she suddenly held up a tattered little kupon, the transitional currency of Ukraine - it said 1,000,000 on it but was the equivalent of maybe $5.00 US.

My friend started talking about how, when you think about it, it's disgusting that we use money - dirty, tattered, paper money to trade for things like beautiful red, juicy apples. She waxed positively poetic about the beauty of produce and the yuckiness and valuelessness of money. I was taken in. I felt she was right. Why don't we trade beautiful produce for beautiful produce - why does money need to be involved at all?

I later realized in my reading of the Communist Manifesto and the German Idealogy that she wasn't being poetic; she was just regurgitating Marxist philosophy from her school days in Soviet wonderland. And then I married David and now I think a little bit more clearly about it all: The poetry breaks down terribly when you consider the guy who needs potatoes to feed his starving family but all he has to trade is shoes and the potato man doesn't want his shoes. Filthy ugly money could really help a guy out in that situation, unless of course he knows how to make shoe soup. It's also easier to keep cash from spoiling before you can exchange it for things you might need later than it is to keep your apples from spoiling.

But...rational observations about social economy aside, I still think about those beautiful apples she talked about and especially how pathetic and dirty that kupon seemed in comparison to the wonderful things we trade it for.

So I was busy in the kitchen the other day when Calvin came in and laid a dime on the counter. "Mom, how can we buy things with money? Like this dime. Who wants a little piece of metal? That's all a dime is. Dirty metal. And it's little. How can we buy things we actually want with a little dirty piece of metal?" Hmmm. He hasn't even gone to real school yet, and definitely hasn't been exposed to any Marxist poetry in our house. I'm a little concerned. (*wink*)

Last night he convinced me to "snuggle him to sleep." He doesn't get much of that anymore, but apparently really craves it. So I climbed up on the top bunk (my main reason for not snuggling him more often) and he started the million questions. I swear he ponders the things of the universe every minute...I decided to get him to unwind a little bit by playing a game his dad and I used to play when Cal was a baby and wouldn't go to sleep: The Goodnight Moon game.

I should really post a whole thing about this game, because it one of my sweet memories from our early parent days...but the jist of it is that you lay in bed with a restless fussy baby and rub the baby's back while the two of you say goodnight to everything you can possibly think of. You take turns and add adjectives or descriptive phrases to the items you are saying goodnight to: sometimes funny adjectives, sometimes tender adjectives, sometimes sarcastic little complaints about life...

"Goodnight, brainless temp job that I have to go to again tomorrow because my resume keeps disappearing into a black hole where no one responds to it..."

"Goodnight, pile of laundry that I'd like to get to sometime but sleep is more important..."

"Goodnight, aggressively floral curtains that I will never replicate whenever we have a house of our own..."

"Goodnight, squirrels with a death wish..."

You get the idea...No "old lady whispering 'hush'" in our game. David and I would giggle about the random things we would think of, and the baby Calvin would slip off to sleep while we were quietly trading "goodnights."

So anyway, I was telling the five-year-old Calvin about this game and I got us started. He would giggle at my funny things and try to think up his own. Then as he was getting more and more calm and quiet, he started saying things like, "Good-night, little growing tree in the back yard..."

And then, without warning: "Good-night, beautiful, beautiful face of my mother..."

It was dim in the room, but light enough that I could see his melty eyes looking into mine, his voice was so suave, and when he put his hand on my cheek as he said it, it actually gave me butterflies and a lump in my throat.

Be still my beating heart.

I'm pretty sure the world does not need apples or dimes. It just needs to be wooed by a little boy.

5 comments:

Real said...

Isn't it just so amazing that with all of our flaws and short-tempers and mistakes that these little, short people love us so unconditionally and that their entire world revolves around us?

Beautifully written.

Morning Glory said...

Oh my goodness, I've just been reduced to a puddle of goo! How precious!!

Katrina said...

Oh my, that literally took my breath away. What a treasure you have!

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

Really really nice.

The game sounds wonderful--silly to sleepy--what 5 year olds excel at.

NOBODY said...

LOooooooooooove this post. Wouldn't trade it for even a shiny, juicey, beautiful red apple.

Would trade it for a debonair little brown eyed wooer though.

I love your Goodnight game too. Totally stealing that idea.