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Friday, December 31, 2010

Play dates

I open the door in my pink fuzzy bathrobe, pulling it tight around me in preparation of the cold air. The girl runs up behind me, too excited about seeing her friend to wait much longer. I open the door and we exchange greetings. A child enters and mother leaves. The play date begins.

I wander around in my bathrobe until the husband arrives home from getting groceries with the boy. Now there are three kids running through the house. I am happy to sneak upstairs and take my time getting dressed.

The day passes in chunks of time. Playing. Eating. Watching a video. Playing. Braving the cold. Eating. Saying goodbye. Hours and hours that pass like minutes.

Each activity is fully embraced. The playing is enthusiastic. The movie is considered hilarious. The homemade sushi for snack time is devoured. Everything is loved. Except for the goodbyes.

*
The mother and I sit in the kitchen at the square brown table. We can't see the kids from here but we can hear them. The sounds are happy, so we stay where we are. I have to laugh. How can the sounds not be happy when three kids wearing swim suits are jumping off the couch into a swimming pool outlined with with masking tape on the hardwood floor.

I make tea. We talk. The kids come running to us whenever they want snacks. The boy eats his piece of homemade cake brought by our guests. After I wipe off the smear of whipping cream on his left cheek he hurries back to his sister and her friend.

*
We are late but they are still glad to see us. Everyone is glad to be there, except for the boy who cries on and off about being tired. Maybe you should sleep later then 4:30am I tell him. He ignores me.

We wander the museum, stopping when something interests us. The kids play and the mom and I have the broken conversation that comes with supervising four little kids in a public place. Enough is said though. Enough to understand.

The kids are older and taller then when I last saw them. That is the funny thing about time. It makes my kids older and taller too.

*

Here's to friends in 2011. The girl's. The boy's. Mine.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Atalanta

The first few strains of the music make me stop what I am doing. A smile creeps over my face. I have to dance.

The girl sees me down the hallway and she rushes to me, her arms outstretched. We clasp hands and start to twirl. The boy sees us and runs to join in. We skip around in a circle, our legs flailing wider and wider as we go.

We listen to each song and story as it comes, sometimes singing along, sometimes dancing. I think about all the times I used to listen to the CD when the girl was a baby. She was too little to understand. I really played it for me. 

The girl stands as close as she can to the CD player, maybe hoping that this way she won't miss anything. Finally she walks to the next room. But my favorite story comes on. I move closer to hear better. I don't want to miss anything.

Atalanta's father wants her to get married. She doesn't want to. He doesn't understand. She tells him she will run a race and agrees to marry the winner; she only agrees because she knows she will win. She trains and trains. But so does another young man. A man who only wants the chance to talk to Atalanta. To have the chance to know her better.

The day of the race comes and Atalanta is in the lead as she nears the finish line. Until the young man, John, pulls along side her. The cross the finish line together. The race is a tie.

Still. Atalanta's father the King offers John her hand in marriage. John doesn't take it. He says he could never marry someone who doesn't wish to marry him. Instead they spend the afternoon together talking before going their separate ways, each off to explore the world. Maybe they will meet again. Maybe they won't.

I feel the tears start to come as I listen to the children's story. Tears for all the girls and women that have been married off by their fathers and brothers. Tears for the freedom I have had to choose my own life. Tears for the girl I have just danced with.

May she always believe that she is Atalanta.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Miss. You.

Miss. You he says, laying his head against my shoulder. He has to lean far to his right from where he sits in the dinning room chair but he does it anyway.

He says it all the time now. When I come home from being out. When I walk into the kitchen in the mornings. When I have been gone from his sight, if only for a minute.

He doesn't just say it to me. He says it when we arrive home and find that Grandma is out for groceries. He says it as he waits for his aunt and uncle to arrive from out of town. He says it when the husband is at work. He tells the girl as soon as she arrives home from school.

He misses everyone. He misses all of us. I imagine he would like us all clustered together on the couch. He would go from one to another giving us hugs and kisses. He would lay his head against our shoulders. Miss. You he would say.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The day

I lay in bed, my eyes closed, waiting. I thought I was waiting for sleep to overtake me but I think I was really waiting for her. How else can I explain why I was wide awake at 1:45 am on Christmas morning. But I was.

Click. Slam. Thump, thump, thump.

Did you hear that? I asked the husband. Yes he said. We both jumped out of bed and followed the girl down the stairs.

At the bottom step I heard her call out Grandma! Grandma! but instead of running to where Grandma was sleeping on the sofa bed she ran in circles around the hallway and living room wall. It was on one of her laps  that she bumped into me.

What are you doing? I asked her. Come back to bed.

I can't find Grandma she cried.

It was just a bad dream I reassured her. Grandma is just sleeping. Everything is fine.

We tucked her back in bed and waited for her to settle. Instead she hacked loudly and coughed repeatedly. The boy's rustling in his bed made us decide to try something different. So I took the girl to bed with me.

It seems to be a holiday tradition now, spending the late hours of Christmas Eve together. I kept thinking about last year as the girl tossed and turned and tried to convince me it really was time to go downstairs. She didn't even care about the presents waiting under the tree. She was just ready to be awake.

By quarter to four I gave up trying and sent her back to her bed. She fell asleep instantly. The husband and I slept too; until the boy woke at for the day 4:30 am. Followed by his sister fifteen minutes later.

I despaired about the day when it was already 5am and I had been up most of the night. If it hadn't been for Grandma distracting them with their stocking for a few more hours while the husband and I slept, I would have been short on Christmas cheer.

*

It was close to 7:30am by the time the household was all awake. I was determined to push through my exhaustion. Luckily it was easy to get swept up in the kids' excitement. They had to show me each of the items they had earlier pulled from their stockings. The girl had to help me look through mine.

Playing back in the sunroom, the kids had yet to see the piles of presents under the Christmas tree tucked into the corner of the living room. Once we turned on the lights they rushed in and exclaimed about everything they saw. The girl was momentarily distracted by the huge dollhouse the husband and I had bought her. I wanted to have her love it. To know that she loved it. I think she does. There was just too many presents for her to stop for any one.

The girl kept us moving. She handed out the presents, helped slow people open them faster and quickly moved us onto the next. She had to cajole her brother into opening the stack of presents growing beside him. He was too engrossed with the car tracks he had been given, the very first present he opened, to care about anything else.

The gifts under the tree this year were all very thoughtful. The girl loved her ballet slippers from Nana. I was thrilled with my bread box. The boy stopped playing with his cars long enough to race up and down the hallway throwing his small Winnipeg Blue Bombers football. It was a very successful Christmas morning.

*
I felt myself flag briefly while both the kids napped. We had had to strong arm the girl into spending some "quiet time" in our bed, but finally she gave into the tiredness that was overtaking her. I contemplated lying in bed with her, knowing that this time we would both be sleeping, but there was too much to do. Too much I wanted to do.

I made lemon pudding. I cooked cranberry sauce. I helped the husband prepare and organize and prep the rest of the food for the dinner. I chatted with my sister. I talked to my mother-in-law. I felt myself float through the middle of the day on a cloud of contentment. Being glad to have so many of my family with me on this day. Happy to see everyone so happy.

*
With our guests due to arrive soon I hurried to finish getting ready. I put on a dress. I applied makeup. I wore new jewelry I had unwrapped just that morning. I was ready to celebrate.

Our friends were lovely. The kids all played well together. The food was good, especially the vinarterta. I had a flashback to Boxing Day gatherings in the past when we would join my Grandma's family for dinner, the kids eating in front of the tv and the adults in the other room. As I turned on a video for the four kids snuggled in two chairs I finally understood the value of the age separation. The adults were able to talk as the kids giggled and yelled from the back of the house.

I had to ask my friend Do you let your kids leave the table once they are done? Are you ok with them not eating everything on their plate? Can they watch a video? We have had company before where the differences in our parenting suddenly became apparent in the dining room and made for an awkward meal. Her easy attitude to everything made the evening go smoothly and made me resolve to have them for dinner again soon.

*
The kids were ready for bed, the boy wearing both his and his sister's new pajamas, and I said goodnight. I ate some more vinaterta and then headed to bed myself. Tired but pleased. Certain in my knowledge that I had my best Christmas yet.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas gift

I give to you my love.

You won't find it at the bottom of your stocking.
It's not wrapped up under the tree.
It's nothing you can open.
I hope it is something that you can see.

It is here in my hugs.
You can feel it in my kiss.
It's the way I look at you.
It is how much you are missed.

When I say "no more cookies".
"Stop and just sit down".
"Don't push. Don't hit".
Yes, even then, the love is all around.

I hope you like your presents.
I hope you like your toys.
I hope you know I love you.
I love you, girl and boy.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Go. Stop.

Go. Stop. Go. Stop.

I have come to see my life as a series of moments. Some over in the blink of an eye. Some stretched out like salt water taffy, pulled apart piece by piece until all the little bits are shoved quickly into a mouth and slowly savoured.

Go. Stop. Go. Stop.

The holidays are almost here and the pace of life has changed. No school. Many preparations. The days feel longer. The days are fuller.

Go. Stop. Go. Stop.

I find myself thinking about all the moments that have come before. Last Christmas. The Christmas morning I found out I was pregnant with the boy. My first Christmas as a mom. All the Christmases of my childhood that seem to blend together into one. Like a technicolored dream.

Go. Stop. Go. Stop.

They rush past me. Around the table, past the tree and into the hallway. I find myself wondering where they are going. Running so fast through their their childhood; pulling me along behind them. Sometimes I try to keep up. Sometimes I am dragged kicking and screaming.

Go. Stop. Go. Stop.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

4:32pm

This is when I start to watch the clock. I will glance over every few minutes, hoping that a time warp has occurred and it is now 5pm. That any minute the husband will be walking through the door.

My bag of tricks is empty. We have painted. Cut with scissors. Visited the park. Read books. Baked cookies. Run around in circles. We have done everything and anything for the last nine hours.

I feel myself getting twitchy. The same way I feel when I wake too early and I am waiting for my cup of coffee to brew. I know I just need to get through these next few seconds, minutes.

But I am done.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Four ways to eat a cupcake

Place a chocolate cupcake topped with two inches of vanilla icing on a plate and carefully cut it in four. Make sure all the pieces are the same size.Watch what happens.

Someone will put all the icing in his mouth in one big bite and then cry more, more. When told there is no more icing, he will eat half of the cupcake before running off to play. After five minutes he'll return to eat the rest.

Someone will spend ten minutes licking the icing as if it was an ice cream cone. Lick, lick. The sides of the icing will be eaten first until a tall tower seems to grow out of the centre. Then the cupcake will be slowly and carefully eaten.

Someone will use a fork to break off pieces of the cupcake to eat bite by bite. He will reach his long arms across the table to spear sections of his cupcake instead of moving the plate in front of him.

Someone will close her eyes as she takes the first mouthful of chocolate goodness. Each bite will have an even distribution of cupcake and icing. Each bite will be savoured.

Everyone will wish more more.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tree

We bought the tree from the grocery store. I pushed the kids home in the stroller while the husband walked ahead of us, the big tree leaning against his back as he dragged in along. The boy was asleep by the time we reached our house so I lay him on the mat in the hallway while I took off his snowsuit and then tucked him in bed. The girl started asking to decorate the tree before it was even in the house.

The boy decided that he didn't want to sleep longer then ten minutes so he joined us in wresting the tree into its stand. The girl remained focused on decorating the tree. We said that it would need to defrost and fill out first. Then we surrendered and opened the box of ornaments.

I sat on the couch fiddling with the star lights to hang in our window while the kids decorated the tree. Ornaments were clustered on the bottom left of the tree; two or three ornament hung on each branch. They were so pleased with themselves. So happy.

I remembered that I should take a picture. I grabbed the video camera from on top of the fridge and leaned into the living room from the hallway. I watched the kids through the screen as they helped each other slip the hooks of the ornaments onto the branches.

The tree looks beautiful. Every time I see it I smile. Even when I am cranky about the mess, the kids not listening, the coats flung everywhere. the demands barked at me. The tree makes me smile.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Presents from the girl

I stepped onto the bus to call to the girl and hurry her along. The bus was ten minutes late and there were lots of stops after us. She bounded towards me and all I noticed was the brightly wrapped packages in her arms. Which she started to unwrap as she walked down the steps.

Look what I bought she said of the wrapped presents. There is one for my brother, and one for you, and one for dad.

Let's go inside I said, waving to where the boy sat in the front window watching us. Wait until we get inside to open them!

The girl complied only because she was distracted with telling me all about buying the gifts in the school gym. We had sent her with a handful of quarters zipped into a plastic bag this morning to shop in the parent run store. Gently-used donated items were up for sale to all the kids, with volunteers on hand to wrap them with paper and bows.

The girl started to pull the first present from a gift bag as soon as I opened the front door. This is for him she said of her brother. How about we let him open it then I suggested. Too late. Instead she handed it to him just as he came around the corner. It's a fluffy bunny she said. He grabbed the bunny and gave it a hug.

How about we take off your snowsuit and sit on the couch? I suggested. The girl stopped long enough to take off her coat and then started to open the second present. This is for you she told me. It's a Dora umbrella! For you to use when it is raining. It will be good in the rain.

Wow! I say as I take the bright pink child's umbrella covered in images of Dora and Boots from the girl. I love it.

And I got dad a book about wood. Because he really likes wood. Do you think he will like it?

Yes I said, certain that the husband has never ever read a book about wood. Never mind made anything with wood. It was very thoughtful. He will love it.

The girl chattered on about all the presents. She hugged the bunny. She opened up the umbrella to illustrate its usefulness. The excitement was high, which meant that the only possible ending to the scene was tears. They came when the girl twirled around with the umbrella and poked her brother in the eye.

I held him on my lap and cuddled him while he cried. Would you like to say thank you? the girl asked me politely. Of course I said.

Thank you.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Test

I called him from the pay phone. Ignoring the handful of people waiting at the nearby bus stop I sobbed into the phone.

The midwife said the baby is breech. I have a week until my next appointment to try to flip the baby on my own. If not we have to go to the hospital where they will try to move the baby and that will hurt and it might not happen. And then if that doesn't work I will have to have a C-section.

The words poured out through my gasps and tears. All I could think about was how the birth I wanted was suddenly on the verge of disappearing. Poof. Gone.

He was quiet for a moment. I thought he was processing all I had said. But something felt wrong.

How was the doctor? I asked.

Instead of joining me at the midwife's, an appointment he rarely missed, the husband had had a medical appointment of his own. After weeks of waiting he had been to see a retinal specialist. We were both hoping for answers to the question about what was happening to his eye.

One day a blurry spot had appeared. Not in the middle of his eye, not huge, but close enough to the centre and big enough that the husband's vision was affected. He had gone that day to see our family doctor. She told him to go immediately to the Emergency, worried that his retina was detaching.

It didn't. Nothing happened right away. An ophthalmologist at the hospital looked at it. An appointment with a specialist was made. We waited.

Standing in the phone booth on a hot July day, my feet swollen, my eight-month pregnant belly huge and my face streaked with tears I listened to the husband tell me that he had macular degeneration. He was thirty-three.

The doctor really didn't go into details. He was told that they would monitor his eye. That he should call if there were changes to his other eye. He was told he would need a series of shots to try to improve or slow the damage. The doctor neglected to mention that the injections would be in the eye itself until he advanced on the husband with a large needle.

All of a sudden the baby being breech was less important. Even as I tried naturopathy and Chinese medicine to encourage the stubborn baby to flip, my real concern was that the husband wouldn’t see this child. I began to worry that his sight would disappear instantly. That he would wake up tomorrow and it would be gone. That one more blurry spot would be the end of the eye.

We've since learnt that it doesn't happen like that. His eye continues to deteriorate, as does the second eye that has also been diagnosed with macular degeneration, but the decline in his vision is gradual. The shots will help for a while and so the doctor will decide that he can stop treatment. Then months later the husband will begin to swear while he eats his lunch at the kitchen table on a Saturday afternoon and even though I ask, part of me already knows what is wrong. An appointment is made with the doctor and treatment starts again.

Bit by bit his eye sight weakens. But advances in drugs and treatment continue and maybe something can be done before he loses his sight completely. Five years later and he still isn't blind. He saw the girl be born. And her brother. That is something.

That is something I thought as I pushed the double stroller home over snow banks on a cold Tuesday afternoon. The girl had just been for her first eye exam. She is often skittish in new situations and with new people, but I was more nervous than her. With the boy on my lap I sat tensely while she read out the numbers projected on the wall across the room. Only when I started to hear the very goods from the optometrist did I begin to exhale.

She has twenty-twenty vision the doctor said. I grinned. There is no sign of myopia (high myopia can contribute to macular degeneration) she told me. I could have cried with joy.

I didn't. I bundled the kids back into their snowsuits while they licked at the caramels pilfered from the candy dish in the eyeglass store. I managed to get us out the door and started towards home. As I walked I felt giddy with relief. I was sure I would never care as much about her doing well on a test as I did with this one. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Go!

Mommy no go! he says to me when I bring up the idea of a babysitter coming to play with him and his sister. He doesn't like the idea of me going out and leaving him with someone he doesn't know. Or maybe me leaving at all. But we have finally found two amazing babysitters, sisters, and we plan to take advantage of them.

I know I say, trying to think of something that will make him agree to me going out without him. What if your aunt and uncle have some special playtime with you when they come for Christmas and mommy and daddy goes out. He stares at me for a second as if he is seriously considering it. Then he replies, his voice firm and authoritative. Mommy no go.

What about I say trying to infuse my voice with as much excitement as possible. What about your aunt and uncle take you to the diner for a special lunch when they are here for Christmas! That would be fun.

I watch the possibilities flicker across his face. He asks if his sister could come. I say yes. He mentions that he would eat macaroni and cheese. I tell him that sounds like a good idea.

His voice firm and authoritative he issues his decree. Mommy go.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Two sided

There are two sides to everything. I have to remind myself of that sometimes. When she is whiny and clingy. When he is crying and pushing. Then I forget the other side.

She is sweet and loving. He is caring and kind. They play together so nicely. They are only four and two.

And me? I am cranky and frustrated. I am attentive and encouraging. I am also old enough to remember that there are two sides to everyone.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Poetry

She was sitting at the table eating her peas. I made up a poem, struggling to rhyme as I went along. She liked it and stopped calling everything bad, bad mom bad grocery list bad writing, long enough to listen.

She asked for more when I stopped but I said I was all out of poems. So she started to make up her own.

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe
She had so many children she didn't know what to do

We smiled at her poem, and so encouraged, she continued on.

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe
Because she didn't know what to do
She started to eat her children!

The last line was said gleefully. For a moment there was silence and then the husband and I broke into laughter. I looked at him accusingly as if to say gee, I wonder where she would get an idea like that from. He shrugged as if to say what? okay fine all my stories involve baking the main characters in pies. so what?

We just looked at each other and then her. And kept listening to her poetry.

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe
She had so many children that she baked them in a pie!
Ha ha

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A long afternoon

The afternoon was going to be long.

The boy fell asleep on the walk home from the girl's school after a busy morning spent "volunteering". I wondered how much help I was actually being to the teacher as I chased after the boy and tried to get him to play quietly while the kindergarten kids sat in a circle on the carpet drawing letters on chalkboard tablets. I managed to set out the snacks, clean up the snacks and use the hot glue gun to stick bits of coniferous trees to the hibernation dens being made out of tissue boxes.

I definitely got more out of the morning then the teacher got out of me.

I saw the girl in her classroom, met her classmates and watched her interact with her teacher. I put faces to the names and images to the things she talks about at home. I left feeling confident that she loves her school.

I also left exhausted. Shortly after we arrived at school the boy came to me crying. Tired he said. So am I, I wanted to say, so am I. He was lucky enough to fall asleep on the way home in the stroller. As I carried his snowsuit clad body into the house, laying him down in the hallway to remove his outerwear before carrying him upstairs to bed, I wished I could crawl under the warm covers with him.

Instead it was cooking with the girl, reading stories and listening to audio books. The boy woke from his early nap shortly after noon and then the second part of the day began.

We had snacks. Read more books. The kids had a picnic in the living room. The girl decided she didn't like the cranberries she begged me to let her eat and spat them out onto the kitchen table. Then I heated them up with water and sugar and she devoured eight crackers topped with the warm red sauce.

In the middle of the afternoon I sat on my bed watching the kids run back and forth down the hallway wearing long pieces of fabric pulled from the cupboard and tied like capes around their necks. It made me forget my tiredness, the long afternoon I was only halfway through. All I could do was stop and laugh.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Interruption

She fell asleep. I was putting her brother down for his nap and she fell asleep reading books in my bed. When I opened the door to my room to get her I saw her head peaking out from under the blue comforter, her eyes closed. She looked so sweet lying there. I left her sleeping, figuring that she probably needed it after listening to her brother cough all night.

An hour and a half later and they were still both asleep. I expected the boy to wake any minute. I decided to wake the girl first.

I crawled under the covers next to her in bed and called her name. She kept sleeping. I rubbed her back. She came sleeping. I stroked her hair. She kept sleeping. I was on the verge of giving up.

She startled suddenly and lifted her head off the pillow, looking me directly in the eye.

What are you doing? she demanded of me, accusation and disgust flickering over her face.

I stifled a giggle and responded You were sleeping. I'm waking you up.

No I wasn't she informed me. I was just trying to sleep.

With that she turned away from me, lay down and fell back asleep. I listened to her breathing as it quickly deepened. I closed the door quietly on my way out of the room.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Makeover

Two days later and I still pause when I walk past a mirror. Is that really me?

It is. My long brown hair is gone, replaced with a short red headed bob. I have bangs that skim the top of my eyebrows. I look noting like the me I was. I love it.

My friend won a makeover at a salon and invited me along. I was tentative at first. I would keep my hair long. I liked it long. Long hair is easy to care for. All you have to do is put it in a ponytail.

I had been growing my hair out for years now. Every so often, and by that I mean once a year, I would get it trimmed. By Monday it fell past my shoulders and stopped short of the middle of my back. If I cut it I would have enough to donate. So when my friend decided to be brave, to embrace change, to go for it, I did too.

In a bright white room we sat side by side in black chairs. Facing the mirror I watched the tattooed arms of my new favorite stylist as he poised his scissors near the top of a my loose braid. In unison our long hair was cut. With two quick snips the braid lay in his hand. As the remaining hair swung freely around my face I immediately wondered why I hadn't done it sooner. I hadn't realize how much the length of my hair was weighing me down until it was gone.

Sitting in the chair while my hair was smeared with thick white paste I stared out the window. I watched a school bus stop across the street and wondered if that was the girl's bus, finishing its rounds after dropping her off home to her dad and brother. Sitting under the dryer, smelling the faint scent of bleach, I wondered what they were doing. I wondered what they would say when they saw me.

The new cut slowly took shape beneath the scissors of the stylist. I squinted in the hopes that the blurry figure in the mirror in front of me would become clear, but without my glasses it was hopeless. So I waited while the hair went from wet to dry.

Finally my glasses were on and I could see myself. It didn't look at all like me.

*

I was dropped off just as the kids and the husband arrived home. Despite the darkness of the hour, they all exclaimed over my hair. Both kids recognized me and neither cried about the change. You look like Little Red Riding Hood! exclaimed the girl. She meant that as a compliment and so I said thank you.

The next day the girl continued to comment on my hair. The boy ignored it. The husband paid me compliments. I loved it. I still do.

I have decided that every now and again, it's time for something new. And the best way to embrace change is with a friend by your side.

*

Our makeover was filmed by the salon, so all you have to do to see the transformation is go here.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Brotherly love

A brief moment of quiet among a day full of standoffs and tears, yelling and fights, finds us sitting on the couch reading books. I would happily read book after book if it would maintain the calm equilibrium we have miraculously achieved.

The boy says something to the girl. She says something back. Then she leans over to where he is sitting on my lap and gives him a big hug. I love you she says for the millionth time that day.

The boy looks at the girl. I love you he says. 

It is the first time he has ever said that. I am happy he choose to say it to her.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Compliance

Neither of my children are particularly compliant.

The girl likes to verify that I really mean what I say before she complies. Repeatedly.

Can I watch another video?

No.

Just one more video!

No.

How about I watch one more video?

No.

Only one more?

No.

I have a great idea. How about one more video!

No.

It will be the last video.

No.

I'm going to watch one more!

No.

Can I watch just one more?

No.

I think I should watch one more.

No.

Even as I long to gouge out my ears with blunt, broken crayons, I still admire her perseverance.

The boy prefers to ignore me.

We aren't going to have any treats.

There aren't any treats in that cupboard.

Please put the chair back at the table.

Please get down off the chair.

Get down off the chair.

Don't climb on the counter. There aren't any treats in the cupboard.

I told you there aren't any in the cupboard. Let go of the doors.

Please get off the chair or I am going to lift you down.

Don't push me.

When ignoring me doesn't get him what he wants he does the only thing left. Watching him stand in the middle of the hallway crying with all his might, I can't help but admire his sense of conviction. If not his compliance.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Waking

His body is warm. His hair is tousled. He reaches his arms up to me and I lift him up. He rests his head on my shoulder and wraps his legs around my waist. I wrap my arms around him.

I sit down on the couch and pull a wool blanket around the boy. He leans into me. We cuddle while we watch his sister watching a video.

He starts to cry. What's wrong? I ask him. Papa he says. You want daddy? I ask. Yes.

I put the phone on speaker and the boy mumbles and nods his head as the husband's voice fills the room. Nothing is really said, but it's enough.

We say goodbye.