“What was that noise?” two-year-old Violet asked, concerned. She had amazing hearing, unlike her grandmother who’s hearing was decidedly not up to snuff anymore. I stopped and listened.
“I think it’s an airplane going over. We probably can’t see it because of the clouds.”
Violet looked up briefly, no longer really concerned, and then turned back to the sandbox. I always wondered how much of my explanations really meant anything to her.
She’s only known airplanes from pictures, mostly drawings, in books. I doubt she’s ever seen a real one, definitely not one up close. Clouds she sees all the time. But what are they to her? White and gray splotches over our heads, that move? There’s no concept of space, I’m sure. The sky is just the ceiling, outside.
She has always been wary of noises. I suppose kids are. Each one new and if they don’t know what it is, possibly dangerous. Over the two years of getting to know one another, I went from a comforting sounding word “Airplane’ to some words and a meaning, ‘An airplane, it’s like a car that drives in the sky.’ And now, adding a reason ‘We probably can’t see it because of the clouds.’ I never know if I’m doing it right, but if it stops her from being scared, I always assume that’s good. Right?
“What’s that noise?” she said again. I listened, not another airplane. Maybe a machine being run down the street? I offered a guess. “It might be someone mowing their lawn down the street. I’m not sure.”
She listened again and then she said, “I know it’s not Jonathan, he has a push mower, and that’s a riding one,” and she went back to the sandbox.
I guess it’s time to up my game...