Mornings with Children | Day 28

DAY 28

A BILATERAL EVENING WITH CHILDREN

EVENT 1 – GIRL

I pull up in my driveway, home later than usual because I had to stop at the pharmacy to pick up a refill of prescription drugs.  As I approach the front door, it swings open and my wife barrels out.  She tells me she’s going to her dance / workout class.  She’s in a rush because I’m late because of the prescription.  She points to the kids and says, “Kids are already eating.  Dinner is on the counter.  I love you.  Back later,” and with that… she’s gone.

I sit down at the table with my dinner – a salad consisting of chicken, turkey bacon, apple slices and some sort of chipotle-ranch dressing – as well as a bag of Flaming Hot Cheetos, a treat I’d picked up for myself at the pharmacy.

At the end of the table is my daughter, eating silently.  She’s not a big fan of chicken or turkey bacon so she’s just sort of casually dipping them both in her milk and then drinking the milk until there is just soggy meat at the bottom of a tiny plastic cup.  She sees my bag of Flaming Hot Cheetos and holds her hand out for one.  I’m all about teaching through practice so I just say, “Hot.  Hot,” and hand it over.  She says, “Hot,” before shoving the bright red stalagmite-looking junk food into her mouth.

She eats it, seemingly without cause, before asking for another.  I again warn her with, “Hot.  Hot,” and she repeats the behavior.  No hesitation, just shoves it in her mouth.  After a moment, a shred of recognition seems to wash over her face and she spits the (now) sand colored crusty onto her plate and scrubs her tongue.

After dinner I bathe her.  My daughter positions herself in the “corner” of the tub and slouches down as low as she can go until the water is resting just under her chin.  It’s a funny sight and I laugh.  She laughs.  She sits up and bends over and blows bubbles in the water and I laugh.  She laughs.  She grabs a bottle of my wife’s conditioner and pretends to spray some into her hand.  She then pretends to rub it in her hair, having seen her mother do this a hundred times.

I’m as bald as an eagle and haven’t used conditioner in seven years.

After the bath we sit on the couch watching the end of the Vice Presidential Debate, something I have never done in my entire life.  Quinn sits on my lap and I feed her animal crackers one at a time.  She asks for one and I say, “Say, AH!” and she opens her mouth and says “AHHHH!” and I say, “You’re still eating one.”  A few moments later she says, “AH!” again and her mouth is empty so I say, “Say, ‘please'” and she does so I give her another.

She eats three quarters of the cracker before rubbing the final soggy nub up and down my arm, getting a substance tangled in my arm hair that can only be described as “wet play dough”.

I tell her it’s bedtime and I put on her diaper and I put on her pajamas and she immediately poops in her diaper so I change her again.  I go to throw away the diaper only to find that my cocker spaniel has also pooped… on my kitchen floor… for the second time today… and the third time this week.

Back in the nursery my daughter is hiding in the closet.  I open the door, gently take her by the wrist and say, “Okay, time for bed.”  I put her in her crib, turn on the music box that plays It’s a Small World, say her prayers and kiss her goodnight.

Back in the living room I begin writing a blog entitled, “A Bilateral Evening with Children”.

 

EVENT 2 – BOY

I pull up in my driveway, home later than usual because I had to stop at the pharmacy to pick up a refill of prescription drugs.  As I approach the front door, it swings open and my wife barrels out.  She tells me she’s going to her dance / workout class.  She’s in a rush because I’m late because of the prescription.  She points to the kids and says, “Kids are already eating.  Dinner is on the counter.  I love you.  Back later,” and with that… she’s gone.

I sit down at the table with my dinner – a salad consisting of chicken, turkey bacon, apple slices and some sort of chipotle-ranch dressing – as well as a bag of Flaming Hot Cheetos, a treat I’d picked up for myself at the pharmacy.

Sitting right next to me is my son.  He’s feverishly gobbled up all the chicken in his little bowl before I’ve even had a chance to sit down.  His cheeks stuffed like a hamster, he begins pointing at my plate and making some noise that means something.  I pick up the bacon and he says, “No”.  I pick up an apple and he says, “No”.  I pick up a chicken piece and he pulls it off my fork, drops it in his own bowl and stares at it, seeming to wait for it to “become his”.  After a few seconds he reaches in and eats the chicken.  This process continues until all of my chicken is gone.

After that he points at my Flaming Hot Cheetos and I’m all about teaching through practice so I just say, “Hot.  Hot,” and hand it over.  He says, “Hot,” before shoving the bright red stalagmite-looking junk food into his mouth.  He eats it, seemingly without cause, before asking for another.  I again warn him with, “Hot.  Hot,” and he repeats the behavior.  No hesitation, just shoves it in his mouth.  After a moment, a shred of recognition seems to wash over his face and he spits the (now) sand colored crusty onto my plate and slowly pushes it back towards me, as if to say, “Here… you may now have this back”.

After dinner I bathe him.  I place one hand behind his head and another hand on his chest and I pretend to baptize him counting down before The Big Dip.  I say, “One.  Two.  Three!” and then I lean him back until both ears are submerged.  He pulls his head into his shoulders like he’s just gotten the chills and giggles uncontrollably.  He sits back up and I say, “One” and he suddenly shouts, “TWO!” and I say, “THREE!” and I dip him back again and he laughs and I laugh.

Later, I cover my face with my hands and all I see is blackness but I know he’s staring at me.  I rip my hands away, pulling the skin of my flesh back in what I imagine is a hideous mask, shouting in a guttural moan.  He laughs and I laugh.

After the bath we sit on the couch watching the end of the Vice Presidential Debate, something I have never done in my entire life.  Rory sits on my lap and I feed him animal crackers one at a time.  He asks for one and I say, “Say, AH!” and he opens his mouth and says “AHHHH!” and I say, “You’re still eating one.”  A few moments later he says, “AH!” again and his mouth is empty so I say, “Say, ‘please'” and he does so I give him another.

He looks up at me and does the strangest, cutest thing… He places both hands, wrist to wrist, under his chin and wraps his fingers up around his cheeks… like the way you’d imagine every baby Cherub sitting in every baby Cherub painting ever.  I kiss him with one hundred little pecks all over his cheeks and he laughs and I laugh and he does the hand gesture again and he laughs and I laugh.

I tell him it’s bedtime and I put on his diaper and he kicks out of my grasp before I can get the second latch done.  After vast amounts of cardio I finally have him dressed and ready to go but he’s escaped my clutches and has run into the closet, which is pretty standard bedtime fare.  We used to wrestle him out and put him back into his bed but we’ve since come to realize that he goes to bed moments after we leave all by himself.

While he’s out of my sight, I turn on the music box that plays It’s a Small World, and say his prayers out loud.  After I say, “Amen”, I say, “Okay buddy… goodnight” and I open the closet and he’s crouched down behind a shelf in the furthest corner, peeking out at me through a pair of slats in the wood.  He giggles and I slide the door closed, feeling like I’m the father of Eddie Munster.

Back in the living room I begin writing a blog entitled, “A Bilateral Evening with Children”.

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