I am always interested to hear -- or overhear -- how Lil E talks about where he lives. There's a lot behind an address, more behind the explanation from a kid who has only a few memories of when his dad and he and I all lived together.
He used to say he had three homes -- with me, with his father and with my parents, where we lived for seven months and where he often spends Sunday afternoons or the night when he needs time alone with his grandma and grandpa. Even though he is comfortable and happy at his dad's place, he always calls it just that -- "Daddy's house." It has bins of toys and he hauls Nerf guns and Legos and light sabers in an overstuffed backpack from there to here -- "our home." It's not something I've pushed or ever corrected. It's just how he talks about the places where his bed and books and each parent is.
Perhaps he flips the language when he is with his father. I don't know. He may very well refer to "Mommy's house" around him and call their apartment a few minutes away "their home" on alternate weekends and Wednesday nights.
Whatever he says, I hope it feels like the Star Wars fitted sheet that somehow stays snug even during fitful nights and wrestling matches and meltdowns and pillow fights and quiet afternoons stretched out with a chapter book. I hope it feels right and cozy and good to call it whatever he does or will or has.
I thought of this all a few weeks ago during parent-teacher conferences. I sat on a tiny chair outside my son's first-grade classroom reading pages from his portfolio. His notes from an inquiry project on the planets, reactions to poems the class memorized, stories, and a self-assessment about how he felt about school were all bound in a notebook charting Lil E's progress over this part of the school year. There was also this, the last page of a story he chose for one of the publishing parties his class puts on.
Here he is, I thought, as I read the two lines over and over. Here's where he is right now.
How does your child talk about the home or homes where they live?