Thud. Crinkle/slosh. “Yeeeaah!”
This was part of the soundtrack of my summer. If you missed it, this fad started with a Twitter post back in May. One teen boy on a stage, an empty table, and a half full bottle of water. Kid flips bottle, it lands upright on table, crowd goes wild. Video goes viral and kids all over start flipping half full-bottles of water.
For the last four months, different groups of male youth flipped in our living room, bedrooms, on the kitchen table, even in the baseball dug-out and all over our vacation route: thud-crinkle/slosh “Yeeeaah!”
The sound drove me up the wall.
But, I wonder, is this the audible equivalent of toddler handprints?
Right before the turn of the century, Bekah was 3 and Luke 2.
A family friend had given us a framed poem about remembering little hands that was surrounded by blank space for my own kids’ handprints to go.
Handprints? The messy things I cleaned off my walls, tables, and floors? Eyesores. Blights on my home.
The sweet poem brought up some fine points about cherishing the oft-present because at some point they will be non-present … but I thought maybe tiny kids’ socks or books would bring back more glowy memories than things that annoyed me, like handprints.
But the frame was lovely and the giver loved so I hauled the kids to the craft store. Outings to this place required patience: it was a store with tiny shopping carts and all the shiny things at toddler level. Our mission: buy washable paint in colors that the kids liked and I could live with.
Their choices were yellow and green. Or, as I saw them, goldenrod and avocado, but I was tired of putting small items back onto crowded shelves, and I did say they could choose.
At home I squirted a bit of each color onto paper-plates and helped the kids paint one of their hands with small foam brushes. I remember being nervous because we had to fit their handprints around the poem just so to make them both fit.
We had one shot.
But did I scream like the boys do when they successfully flip their bottles? No, I did not. I raced the kids to the bathroom to wash their hands before they could fingerprint any other surface.
Now that picture hangs right outside my bedroom. When I am feeling especially nostalgic I’ll put my hand up to the prints and do what the poem directed: miss how tiny their hands were. But I miss more:
How excited they were to make a handprint. On paper! In a frame! Onto the wall!
Our weekly outings to the store with the tiny carts. How we would listen to Kidz Bop in the car, pick out a craft, go home, make it and fill half a day in the process.
I don’t miss cleaning their handprints off the walls.
I don’t miss craft store vigilance to keep items on the shelves.
I don’t miss how exhausting herding and entertaining two, high-speed kids all day can be.
I really don’t miss Kidz Bop.
But those little hands in mine when we walked through a parking lot? The thrill a simple tube of paint and a foam brush could make? The look of pride on their faces when they saw their handprints in that frame?
Seventeen years ago, I never would have predicted that these were the things I would miss.
Maybe I’ll miss thud-crinkle/slosh in 17 years. Maybe the sight of a half-full water bottle may make me just as misty-eyed as a yellow and green handprint picture on my wall.