EVENT 1 – BOY
My son has a habit of pointing at me and saying, “Mama”. He also has a habit of pointing at his sister and saying, “Rory”. I wonder what Freud would say about this.
Being Saturday, I was home when they got up from their afternoon naps. Rory again, for the second time, has fallen out of his bed BUT… twice in around ten days isn’t too bad for a kid that’s used to sleeping in a box. Typically I’ll open the door, go in, say “Hi there!”, get them out of their cribs / beds and then we’ll all go out into the living room to, well… live.
But it’s so hot today. The Valley is just sweltering and I’ve been working outside all day prepping for this 80s costume party we’re having tonight in lieu of my 30th birthday. Jade and her brother were off running some errands and I was on kid duty so, instead of getting them up and running back out into the house, I just shut their bedroom door behind me, took them out and we played in their room for a while. It’s the only room in the house that has the air running and it’s almost always a solid 74 degrees. So beautiful.
I plop myself down in the fluffy chair and Rory runs over to me, throws himself into my arms and lays down on my chest, totally of his own accord. I don’t bother to ask if anything is wrong. My daughter is walking around with a piece of chalk and she says, “Mama”. My son pops his head up and looks right into my eyes and goes, “Mama”. I say, “No. I’m not Mama. Mama is out running errands with Uncle Jarod”. Then I say, “Who is this?” and I point to my chest. He looks at me for a moment and he goes, “Dah-dee” and I smile from ear to ear and say, “That’s right! That’s right!” HE KNOWS!!! I try to steal second with, “…and who’s this?” and I poke my finger into his chest and he says, “Roh-ree!” and I say, “YES! YES! THAT’S RIGHT! YOU’RE RORY!”. This is truly breakthrough territory.
I decide to try rounding third by saying, “…and who’s that?” and I point at Quinn on the other side of the room. He stares at her and I know he’s about to go for the triple threat. I can feel it in my blood.
I say, “Quinn, come over here,” thinking that maybe it’s because she’s too far away. Yeah, yeah… maybe that’s it. Quinn turns her back to me and pretends not to hear. I repeat myself, “Quinn, come here,” and she says, “No.”
I throw a little sternness into my voice and she comes hup-two to my side. I stick my finger gently square into the middle of her forehead and I say, “Rory, who is this?” and he says, “See-SEE!” I try again. “Say Quinn. This is Quinn. Say Quinn” and he says, “Seeee” and I try one more time, “This is SISTER. Can you say ‘sister’?” and he says, “See-see”. But this time he doesn’t say it like he’s straining. He’s saying it like he’s simply repeating what I’ve said.
See-see… sister… Quinn. Not bad. My sister called me “Boy” until she was about 4. I can work with this.
EVENT 2 – GIRL
If either of my children pee in the toilet, we give them an M&M, a reward that I wish someone would pour out on me. Once, as a joke, I asked my wife if they get two pieces of chocolate if they take a poop. She says, “Uh… no”. The problem with this system is that both children are usually in the bathroom at the same time but they both don’t always go to the bathroom at the same time. Obviously this is problematic when both children are standing at your feet shouting, “Chalky! Chalky!” but only one gets the reward.
You’re thinking I’m terrible. You’re thinking I’m horrible. But I don’t break. I don’t give them both chocolate or “chalky”. I only give it to the one that went potty. True, the other one typically throws their head back and begins screaming to The Great Deity himself, begging for sweet Wonka Rain but… this is the spoils of war. Potty training is a dark process and trying to train a baby to poop in a toilet is harder than trying to train a weasel to use a fork so you have to be tough.
So, same time as Event 1, I pull open the door, come in and we’re playing in the big chair and my daughter finds this tiny piece of chalk on the ground and she starts to taste it and I go, “Icky! That’s icky!” and my daughter goes, “Icky!” and my son repeats her and I say, “That’s right. That’s icky. That’s chalk”. And they both stop and look at me, frozen in time and space and I’m thinking, “What? What’s just happened? Why do I suddenly feel like I’ve walked into The Village of the Damned?” and Quinn goes, “Chalky?” and Rory goes, “Chalky?” and I say, “No… no no. CHALK.” And I grab the white stump from my daughter’s hand and I hold it up and say, “CHALK, not CHALKY. ICKY.” And they both go, “CHOCK.”
That was close.