“MaaaaaaMaaaaaaaaa!” Booger wailed it from her crib this morning. I prayed, as I pulled the covers over my ears. Sometimes, she’s a one-hit morning shouter and I don’t hear from her again from a good hour.
Ah, but it was not to be and she continued, now playfully: “Mom! Moomoo! MaMoo! MoooooomoooomooooMA!”
Her vocabulary’s increased ten-fold in the last week alone, but she still babbles. I asked her last night, in between her whines, to “use her words,” and after a look of disdain, she yelled, “BAAA BAAA!”
So on she shout-babbled and on I ignored it. But now Toots tugged at my blanket, and my respite was once and for all, violated.
“Mom, Booger is up,” she said obviously. Then, as every morning, “Can I have my milk?”
“In a few minutes,” I begged off. Maybe she’d fall back asleep. Standing up. Next to my bed.
Oh, but a mother can dream.
“Mom!” Toots shook me. “Now?”
Oh for God’s sake.
But first, the bathroom. With Toots trailing me every step of the way. “See Toots? This is how you wipe.” Every day I’m mopping up pee.
“Yeah!” The Rock shouted from his prone position in bed. “Do you want to be the smelly kid in school?”
“OK, but sometimes I have to pee really bad,” she jumped up and down.
“Like now?” I teased.
Booger screamed from her room and I knew I’d better get off the pot. “But wait! What does HAVING to pee have to do with not wiping yourself?”
“Smelly Melly!” The Rock chimed in again.
“I don’t want to smell!!!!” Toots widened her eyes in horror. She worried about everything. Yesterday, I made the mistake of telling her that TV would rot her brain. And every 10 minutes, she’d look up from The Backyardigans, asking, “Now? is it rotting my brain now? Right? Now? How about NOW?” I told my friend and she joked that Toots would be the kid wearing a tin foil cap to school. And I would not be surprised.
“MaaaaaaaMAAAAAMAAAAAMAAAAAAAA,” Booger wasn’t screwing around anymore.
I hopped up to get her. As I picked her up, she shoved a stuffed dog in my face and told me to KISS IT! and when I obliged she nestled her head in my shoulder nook, whispering, “Huggle.”
I changed her diaper with Toots tugging at my sleeve, asking about her milk.
Milk procured, Booger huggled, Toots reassured about her non-smelliness, and we’re piled up on the couch watching the Icelandic miasma that is Lazy Town. Today, I must work while The Rock does the Saturday routine: breakfast at our local joint, park outing, puzzlesplay-doh!chutesandladdersreadingbooksplayingmonster, naps. But for now, I hang out, enjoying the weight of my kids bodies flattening my boobs, with which they’re both presently preoccupied.
After respective milk guzzling, Toots and Booger assume their sibling rivalry positions: Booger kicking Toots in the face, alternating with an “I kiss it?” when she inflicts bodily harm.
Toots tells me about her dream, which is the same every night. “And there was a vampire? And he came to the party? And we told him to leave, but the witch was mad and she told the werewolf to…”
I tuck her hair behind an ear, watch her eyes glow with imaginings and think how beautiful she’s turned out to be. I wind Booger’s two little curls around my other finger and ponder the dried mucous omnipresent in her baby nostrils.
These days, I can’t stop looking at either of them. And I recall my mom doing the same thing; I’d often catch her staring at me or my siblings when she thought we wouldn’t notice, and as I got older, I’d admonish her “not to stare.”
Now? I know exactly what she was thinking.