Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Tale of Two FaceTimes

This morning as soon as I was awake and dressed, I FaceTimed my small nephew Fred. Today is his second birthday, which is of course the first birthday he actually understands at all, and he's both delighted and delightful. He held onto his Mama's iPad and beamed at me, and blew kisses, and told me he was going to have birthday cake. I'm also fairly sure he tried to say my name--that's Uncle Kim, and Kim is not an easy word for toddlers. I love technology when it connects me with a special person who's a little too small to enjoy and participate in an audio-only call, but whose face lights up when he sees me.

It's hard to believe we've had two years of Fred. I got to visit when he was only a few weeks old, and it was his older brother who'd just turned two. I've been lamenting all year about the acceleration of time and here is further proof. Fred! Talking and laughing and singing whole songs, already!

Oddly enough, I also FaceTimed my daughter this morning, not because it pleases me to get a glimpse of her lovely self, though it does, but because her horse was having an anxiety attack and needed her desperately.

Mickey was actually about to get onto a commercial trailer to be shipped to a barn near Katie's school. She'll have him with her for at least the rest of this semester. We used to have a dog that was afraid of suitcases--when we got ours out, he'd panic, convinced for the fifteen years we had him that we were just about to abandon him forever every time we went anywhere with our suitcases. Mickey must have similar associations. My daughter is his second girl, not his first, and he forms very strong specific bonds with people. (Many horses do; you'd be surprised.) So he's not done well in general with her not being here for four weeks, and today, when I put on his shipping boots, he just about lost his gourd. He paced back and forth on the crossties. He pooped. Four times. He peed in the barn aisle, which he'd never done before, and he flinched away from me and broke into a sweat (it was 63 degrees out) and in general was in full meltdown mode. And this really didn't bode well for putting him on a truck for 10 hours.

I took a photo of him and texted it to my daughter. "He's so anxious!" she texted back, and then we FaceTimed. I held the phone so Mickey could see her on the screen, and she talked to him. He doesn't understand phones, but he knows his girl: he leaned forward, stuck his tongue between his teeth, and clenched his molars, hard, until his whole jaw relaxed. Then he licked his lips, over and over. This is actually how horses express submission and relaxation. He quit sweating and when the truck showed up he stepped onto it calmly.

We live in a wonderful world.