Most mornings, Will wakes us up about 45 minutes before we want to be awake. Sometimes his first scuffs on the tough coconut fiber mat in the living-room are enough to wake me up, and I can hear him carefully pick a path around the furniture in his dim journey to Mamma and Pappa. He smells worse than most things his size, and at that time of the morning, he has a formidable aura indeed.
Recently, he has been bringing his belongings with him: a blanket, a stuffed dog and two stuffed bears--all fake of course, the pillow from his bed and the one from the floor next to his bed, where we hope it will save him from another smack on his head after a short fall. Needless to say, this often takes him two trips. He sometimes comes in with the first load and unceremoniously dumps it on our bed, and without so much as a glance at us turns around for the remaining pillows and animals.
After he is settled in our room, he finds the flashlight that Joie keeps near the bed and proceeds to make shadow puppets. Since his pappa only knows how to make a pretty sad looking dog and a five-legged spider, Will's shadow puppets are appropriately pathetic even when his wildly wagging fingers are in the beam of the light. When this gets boring (as it soon does), Will climbs all over us or dumps out his toys or carries the dirty clothes around the house. Anything that keeps him quiet keeps us very happy and we find that in the early morning we are exceptionally supportive parents.
Sometimes we talk about breakfast, and Will gets very excited. If he hears the word 'chai' or 'tea' or 'coffee', he holds us to it. He can say all three words, though he seems to make no distinction. He just knows that Mamma will give him a warm and milky mug of good drink.
About 7:30 AM, EVERY DAY OF THE BLESSED WEEK, the garbage guys come to graciously remove our previous day's garbage, which we keep topically separated in two pails. When Will hears the doorbell, he sits up and says, "Babbage!" I have always been amused that Will thinks Charles Babbage has come to visit, and it makes me smile knowingly to think that old Chuck has been dead for a hundred and thirty some years now and Will is none the wiser. But we always correct him and tell him that it is the garbage, and then he slides down off the bed and lumbers over to the kitchen with the same manly air that any boy has the first time he helps to carry a piano or cut firewood or stare at a greasy engine. Will's deep breathing and his steadfast gaze during the task speak of his dedication and sense of duty. He is really very proud to contribute in this way.
Usually Joie gets up to open the door for him. If she is slow in finding the keys, I can hear Will yelling "Keys! Keys!" and urging her to hurry. Sometimes Joie comes back into the room to put another blanket on me and shut the door so I can sleep a few more minutes, and I think that at that moment I feel like the most loved man that there ever was. Eventually Will, to whom every day is a summer vacation Saturday morning, bashes through the door to excitedly welcome me to the day.