Today for dinner 13 adults and two toddlers gathered in an 800 square foot (very hot) apartment, to celebrate the new year with black eyed peas, campechana, tamales, sparkling cider, and chaos.
The babies discovered they could run in a circle – the living room, through the breakfast area, the office, bathroom, bedroom, and back to the living room. While we tried to eat and visit, they ran in a circle, chasing each other. On occasion they would stop for a drink of water, would fall, get distracted, or take a very short break on a lap. But for the most part it was circles and squeals, for an hour or so.
After we had eaten, the matriarch, 85 years old, broke out the tweezers to get the whiskers on her aunt’s chin. Her aunt, 90-something. Two old ladies, tweezing. Matriarch couldn’t see the whiskers very well, so enlisted the help of her granddaughter, mother of one of the kids. Aunt was sitting in a chair, matriarch pointed out whiskers, granddaughter did the plucking, and her mother held the flashlight. Four generations of women, with one task.
This activity stopped the babies in their tracks. Four people focused on one task fascinated them. There was a little footstool they pulled to a place where they could see, sat side by side, and watched the tweezing. You would have thought they were watching a movie. For five or so minutes, they were still.