Seventh Summer: Sprinkles on Jello
I despise Jello. It reminds me of being in the hospital on a clear liquid diet. When Chloe asked me to make some, I told her I wouldn’t eat it because it’s nothing but sugar and artificial flavors. She said, “I’m a KID. I love artificial flavors!” She has been intrigued by the bits of Jello that have jelled when mixed with water in her cooking “lab.” It’s way easier (and less messy) than making candles, so I said ok. Having only partial boxes, I mixed flavors to get whole packages to mix the right amount of water, but it came out of the mold pretty wobbly. Being a kid, she gilded the lily by adding sprinkles. She loved it, and took some home to her mom.
This was the best day yet. After lunch I was feeling tired and nauseated, either from the heat or from the smell of making Jello (which also reminded me of the horrible stuff I had to drink before my last colonoscopy), so Gary took Chloe to the pool while I napped. He plays kind of rough with her–monsters and things–while we play mermaids, sea horses, sometimes lost and homeless kitties or puppies–very affectionate play. She makes up names like “Sparkle” and “Rose.” This time she was “Memory.” Her mermaid Barbie was her “sister,” and she got very jealous because Barbie was sick and I, the mother, took care of her. It got weird–Chloe moved out and would have nothing to do with her mermaid mama for a while. I told her it made me sad, that a mama has enough love for all her children. The moment passed, but I wonder what it was about. When it was time to get out she didn’t fuss and carried in her toys, and there was no pre-dinner meltdown; I got some things out for her to play dress-up while I fixed dinner.
She and Gary went out to the courtyard test kitchen, until he quit (“escorted out by security”) because she was flinging sand at him. Chloe came in, “bored” and idly picked up the candle we made. She sculpted a lizard and a rose. I tried to make a bird but it turned out more like a seal (it’s hard to make spindly wax bird legs). On the way home Chloe made a bird and a nest. That discarded paraffin has proved its worth!
I told her mom I hoped Chloe would be as good for her as she’d been for me. Chloe said, “Mama, I still have some good left in me!”