Tag Archives: toddler

petrichor


petrichor n. the smell of rain on dry ground

feet

It’s a rainy day. The sky is gray and the clouds are all smushed together, blocking the sun. The city air is embalmed with petrichor. As a lover of perfumes and scents, I’ve always noticed that “rain scented” perfumes don’t smell like petrichor at all – at least to me. It is true that they capture an essence of it, but I always feel that the imitation version smells much too nice. Petrichor seems to smell a little bit more like soil than the man – made versions do.  I think the world tends to glamourize petrichor with the high language of music and poetry, but quite honestly, there are some days where the rain on the pavement kicks up the scent of feral cat piss more than it makes me wax poetic about the odor in my nostrils. NYC  petrichor can smell like China petrichor to me – mildew and dirty. Suburban petrichor is a mix of cat piss, cedar chips and fertilizer most of the time. I would guess the petrichor of the forest is probably the best there is, the one closest to the imitated version, but couldn’t it be confused with mountain air or just the scent of the woods? In general, smell is an odd and wondrous thing not easily described or pinned down.

The other day my son and I were playing “pee-yew” feet,” which is mostly just me taking his nasty socks off after a long day at daycare and pretending to smell his genuinely stinky feet. He thinks it’s pretty funny for me to say “pee-yew feet” and repeatedly stick his feet in my face. We both crack up laughing over and over again. On our way to the kitchen to have the 3rd yogurt of the day, I started thinking about whether he understood the meaning of “pee-yew” or even smell at all. To my knowledge, he’s never complained of a smell to me. I wonder if he knows about smell. I know he can taste, so I am assuming he can smell as well. But how can I describe it to him? It’s not like sight or sound or even taste. Those senses seem so much more tangible. Smell is like the umami of senses. You just know, I guess, but it is frustrating to not have the words to describe since it’s actually quite an important part of life.

I remember the way school smelled on the first day of school. It was a mix of chalk dust, the teacher’s perfume and fresh paper. I loved that smell.  The smell I hate the most from my life are the medical smells – hospital cleaning solutions and iodine. I remember the pungent odor of chemo and alcohol swabs. I dread those smells the most and almost enter into a panic attack just thinking about them. When we were house hunting not too long ago, I always noticed that the houses smelled similar, as if there was a prescribed “clean” scent that they all achieved. It must have been some sort of Glade air freshener that was popular or possibly a mix of lemon Pledge and bleach. That smell means “clean house” to me now that I own my own house. The treasured chlorine reek of an indoor pool makes me warm and happy just thinking about it. I used to love swimming in that smell and then satisfyingly showering it off after as a reward for my efforts. But the smell of art supplies – paint, conte crayon, rollerball ink – these are among the most intoxicating for me. They signify freedom, relaxation and excitement for what I am about to create.

One day my son will understand what smell is and he will have his own opinion on petrichor. I will just give him time. For now he can enjoy our scentless game of “pee-yew” feet for everything but the smell.  I hope someday the memory of stinky toddler feet reminds him of me and our silly “pee-yew” game.

Smell

by William Carlos Williams

Oh strong-ridged and deeply hollowed 
nose of mine! what will you not be smelling? 
What tactless asses we are, you and I, boney nose, 
always indiscriminate, always unashamed, 
and now it is the souring flowers of the bedreggled 
poplars: a festering pulp on the wet earth 
beneath them. With what deep thirst 
we quicken our desires 
to that rank odor of a passing springtime! 
Can you not be decent? Can you not reserve your ardors 
for something less unlovely? What girl will care 
for us, do you think, if we continue in these ways? 
Must you taste everything? Must you know everything? 
Must you have a part in everything? 

 

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personality


personality n. the combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individuals distinctive character

I’ve been home for some time as a full time mom raising a young child, as you already know from reading this very blog. I have too much time to think about things. My brain seems to run all day. While I was driving to our morning coffee and munchkin ritual today, I got to thinking about personality and the role it plays in our lives. It’s such an odd thing – this term personality that we choose to signify all of the good, bad and ugly things we tend to do regularly. It becomes really important in our day to day lives and interactions. I think this scene from Pulp Fiction best sums it up.

In certain situations, I have been described as somewhat quiet. Growing up I was rather shy and would frequently not know what to say. Yet when you get to know me, whether through my writing or by just hanging out with me, you soon come to find out my quirky, goofy personality – my collection of characteristics that make me Kim. I’ve never actually sat down and thought about what these characteristics are. I suppose I can be a pessimist at times, but I always hold onto hope – so I’m not super negative or anything. I’d describe it as having a firm grip on reality. I can be stubborn – I’d rather say “determined” and that has led me to achieving goals I set in my little life. I love to laugh. Whenever I reconnect with people from my past they always mention how much I used to laugh…even if something wasn’t THAT funny. I think I’ve made quite a few people think they are actually a lot funnier than they are. I am terrified of bugs…and I mean terrified. I once called my husband crying on a business trip because there was a bee in house…in the room upstairs, with the door closed…completely distraught because I was terrified of going near it. I frequently make my dog Stella eat spiders and other insects I find around the house. She’s like a 60 pound furry aardvark. I would also say that I am somewhat of an idealist. I expect a lot from people. I assume that most will do the right and honorable thing all of the time and get really disappointed when they don’t. But I am forgiving. I love a genuine apology. I adore honesty even more.

So that’s sort of a summary of my personality. Just a blurb. I guess I can add that I love hip hop and gangster rap. Being a 5’2 very caucasian female adds some humor to that characteristic when you drive a large orange Honda Element with the whitest baby in the world sitting (and dancing) in the back seat.

I haven’t really cultivated this personality of mine. It’s taken me quite some time just to admit to some of the characteristics that comprise “me.” I feel it would be inauthentic – which is another characteristic for my collection. I like things as they are – unforced and natural – like my son. It’s somewhat refreshing to be around a toddler for this reason. He can’t help but show his true colors all of the time – especially when you don’t want him to. He  is the most authentic person I know. Perhaps sometimes a little too authentic. He’s terribly stubborn and outspoken at times. He can be a bit shy with new people at first but warms up pretty quickly. He loves to dance and be the center of attention. He is in fact very much a ham. He generally doesn’t want his mom to be doing anything but paying attention to him – including running with the jogging stroller. His personality was so strong today that he screamed the entire 2 miles drawing several looks of pity from everyone that passed us along the trail…including the wild turkeys and dogs.

I can already see how my own personality is starting to rub off on him…in not such pretty ways. I suppose it’s a good thing he spends so much time with the dog. She’s very calm and zen…and protects me from all of the spiders and bugs. Having a second insect killer in this household is definitely a good thing.

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