I was part of a movement of "dinosaur moms" when I lived in Maryland (Astrodon Johnstoni is the Maryland state dinosaur.) Which is nothing more than this -- dinosaur moms delight in the half-feral nature of the beasties they parent, even as they whisper Shakespeare and Kierkegaard in their ears at night.
Thursday, April 07, 2005
Meet the Dinos
Likewise, Jones is not “Jones.” He has one of those monosyllabic woodsy sporty names that defy the iambic expectations of our speech. It ends too soon. It begs for a suffix. Thus was appended “–sie”, which was deemed insufficiently manly; so we settled on “—ston;” which evolved into “—ston Jones;” then unaccountably shortened to “Jones;” (Sometimes “Jones Mc – ston Mc Jones,” if we are feeling really goofy).
Jones has a mild and entirely cosmetic birth defect. We in the family don’t even remember he has it, except when children ask us “What’s up with his face?” Further, without being asthmatic, properly so-called, his upper respiratory system does seem to be somehow lacking. In another time, he would have been one of those bedridden consumptives the curious heroine discovers locked in the attic. But he is too lively for any of that nonsense. When he laughs, he laughs uproariously; when he cries, the tears literally squirt from his eyes like from a fire hose. He wants alternately to eat you up with a spoon or to defy your parental despotism to the bitter end.
Jones is as boy as Girl is girl. They daily put the lie to all of the “Don’t dress your cat in an apron” undergraduate papers I wrote about how gender differences are culturally determined. From the beginning, if you rolled a ball to Girl she would name it and look for its baby ball and serve it tea. From the beginning, Jones would tackle us from nowhere like Kato in “The Pink Panther.”
We live in the most modest part of a preposterously wealthy and comically ambitious school district, soon to be redistricted such that we would live in the most prosperous part of a burdened school district. Similarly, our house sits in a town that is split by three counties, and happens to fall on the side of the county widely known for its success rather than the two famously chaotic ones. The incongruity has been good for keeping perspective.
The incongruity could be extended even further, because we live in the I-95 corridor of what we grew up calling “BaltoWash.” One foot in gritty, industrial Baltimore; one in lofty, cosmopolitan DC.