Character study: Khaki

Current age: 8 months

Always wears: Huggie, red package

Always carries: his oh so sweetness

Theme song: I gave my love a chicken that had no bone

Defining moment: to come

Khaki visited his great grandma, the negative one, who could only say, “why don’t you like me?” He turned that around when he said, “ba,” and somebody found a half deflated ball. Khaki gets the ball and sends it to Rene, who tosses it to Dad, who tosses it to Great Grandma, and her tone becomes lighter.

Khaki seems to understand turn taking, even though his motor skills don’t allow him to aim his tosses too well. Suddenly, Mom, Dad, Rene, Gio, and Great grandmther are all engaged in the same game. Family united. Khaki in the middle of the circle.

Khaki has a rough night in the basement at great grandmother’s. His parents are right there, but he wakes and cries inconsolably, many times during the night, in a way he hasn’t since infancy. Covid? Ear infection? Night terrors? Nobody knows.

It has snowed a couple of inches overnight, and is expected to snow three more by early afternoon, so we all decide to leave as soon as we get packed. Didn’t even take time for Great Grandma’s delicious bacon and eggs, but nobody is opposed. Khaki will be in the car, and his safety is the first priority in everyone’s mind. THe road is snowy and slick, but Rene has driven home from the holidays in such worse weather that she knows she only has to go slowly and brake as little as possible.

Back at the cabin after the slippery, snowy drive home, Khaki calls “ey” when Renee leaves the room. It stops her in her tracks. She goes back into the living room, says, “Are you talkin to me? Are you talkin to me?, in the Taxi Driver voice. Khaki responds with a smile. Rene gets down on the floor, picks up a blue wooden block, and says, “Blue block, blue block,” emphasizing the B sound, and putting it into the blue block shaped slot of the wooden box.

Khaki’s mom says, “I love how you are with him.” Rene’s soul smiles, remembering that is exactly how she was with her when she was a baby, and she plays b-b-blocks with Khaki some more until she really needs to get started cooking.

Khaki army crawls into the dining room where he can see Rene in the kitchen, behind the peninsula. He calls out. “Eh!” The sound slices through Rene’s consciousness and grabs her attention away from planning how to get everything done and on the table at the same time.

“Hi, honey! C’mon!” With an exaggerated hand movement, Rene signals him to come. Khaki has an expression on his face that is wanting to make connection, hopeful anticipation that he will succeed. A hint of a smile.

The smooth vinyl floor hampers his crawling style and Khaki cries a bit, until Dad picks him up and brings him closer to Rene, where he can see what’s going on.

Christmas Eve dinner is a mound of snow crab legs, Instant pot zucchini and mushroom risotto, Ina Garten’s oven fried potatoes, salad from a bag enhanced with tomato and cuke, topped with Ranch dressing because that’s what’s available. Khaki also has some squash and some blueberries. He says “boo-ba” twice. He has a place the foot of the dining room table, connected by a clip on baby chair, so he is fully present at the table has visual access to everyone: Rene, Gio, Mom and Dad. And all the food has been cooked with minimal salt with Khaki in mind.

Everyone enjoys the food and eats with abandon. Khaki eats more solid food than maybe he ever has before. Gio lets Khaki suck on a piece of crab leg, unaware that little Khaki has figured out how to slowly suck out the meat so you get the whole piece in one bite. Gio stops him just in time; Khaki can’t have too much salt.

After dinner Khaki goes down in his Pack n Play and has the best sleep of his entire trip, while Rene, Gio, and Khaki’s mom and dad begin watching the movie Australia. Which is cool, because that’s where Khaki’s parents met. They watch the movie until the first of many what-feels-like endings, after opening presents and while indulging in the sweet contents of their Christmas stockings.

About DeMillo Design

Connie DeMillo is an arts educator and former graphic designer. I currently teach Design Basics and Online Drawing in Plymouth, MN.

This site is about sharing knowledge I find helpful on my journey through life, trying to improve as an artist and as a human being.