Tuesday, March 19, 2019

A Little Visit with Sullivan Barclay Krause

I was reading on the couch this afternoon when Sullivan Barclay Krause (who you'll remember from this post) came in and sat beside me. I could tell it was him and not just normal Sully because he opened by mentioning that he'd purchased a new apartment in Austin, Texas (I asked what he bought it with and he said money and I said yes but where did you get the money and he said Sarcan—they give you money there).

Then he was quiet for a minute, thinking—or waiting—studying me very seriously. He said, "Okay." Like he'd called a meeting and I'd finally shown up and now we could talk about whatever we needed to talk about.

"What's up?" I said.

"We're going to have a little visit," he said.

I laughed, but he didn't. He just smiled politely. "Okay," I said, also smiling politely. "What are we going to visit about?"

He spread his tiny fingers out and set them on his tiny knees, studying them. "I'm going to count down," he said, "and then I'll tell you what we're going to visit about and how we're going to visit about it. Okay? Ready? Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, carwashes. First we'll visit about what our favorite carwashes are and then we'll visit about how carwashes work. I'll go first. My favorite carwash is SUDS. What's yours?"

This might seem like a strange line of questioning, both in execution and subject matter, but it didn't surprise me much. Sully adores SUDS—so much so that we took him to SUDS on his birthday. So much so that the last time we took him to the dentist, we used a trip to SUDS as a bribe to get him to open his mouth. (The time before, we tried using Menchies and that didn't work at all.)

I thought carefully. I knew that if I said my favorite carwash was also SUDS he'd call me on it because—silly mom—how could two people possibly have the same carwash?

"The one on South Albert," I said. "Petro...Can? Is that what it's called?"

He nodded gravely. "And do you know how carwashes work?"

I shook my head.

He sighed. "They spray your car with soap and then there are brushes and water and it just," he sighed again, so much work to explain such complex things, "it just washes your car and then it sprays your car with water and then it blows your car dry. Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one, vacuum cleaners. First we'll visit about how you build vacuum cleaners and then we'll visit about how they work. Your turn: how did you build your green vacuum cleaner?"

This question was also unsurprising. Barclay recently purchased a shop vac and Sully helped him put it together and it was the highlight of Sully's whole month.

"I didn't really build it," I said. "It just kind of came...built."

"Mm." He nodded again, his tiny lips pursed. "Well I built my vacuum cleaner. Had to attach the hose, put the wheels on, put the lid on, all that stuff. Lots of work."

The conversation continued on like that. Lots of brow furrowing and throat clearing and head nodding. I'm really glad that Barclay and I have obviously given him such a good example of normal, healthy adult communication, and am also thankful for the reminder that if I'm ever stuck in an awkward, aimless visit with someone, I can take charge of things by counting down backwards from ten and naming a new topic.