The Girl is combing her hair, and the Baby is trying to climb over me to reach the pretty candles on the counter behind the couch. I somehow feel like I can't go on to the next thing until I have seen the completion of the hair combing. Why is that? Oh yes, because the second I look away she has a tendency to forget completely what she's been told to do and lapse into fantasy play once more, and then she'll lose the comb. She is moving so slowly. And the Baby's shrieks grow louder as she tries to play with the little shiny rocks in the candle holder.
"I'm hungry momma, can you make lunch?"
That's the Boy.who is alternately whining about his empty stomach and trying to run up the door.
"AAAHHHH!" (Baby talk for, give it to me now!)
she slides the comb across the same place again, flat against her scalp. She's accomplishing nothing.
She starts to edge towards the toy on the ground, completely forgetting the task at hand. The comb falls to her side.
"But I'm not done combing my hair."
"You're not combing your hair. You're distracted. Come here and I'll do it for you."
"But I want to do it myself!"
"I'm really hungry, what are you making for lunch mom."
The comb is at her side again.
No that's not the Baby, that's the scream inside my head.
"Okay that's enough. Get over here I'm going to finish for you."
I whisk the comb from her hand and briskly pull through the tangles, ignoring the occasional yells as comb meets obstacle. I slow for a moment for a few more gentle strokes through the now silky smooth hair.
"There, you're all done. You can go now."
She slumps on the couch and hides her face.
I know why, but I ask anyway. She is silent and keeps her face turned away.
"Are you sad because you wanted to comb your own hair?"
She nods, mutely. Her lower lip trembles. I am a heel.
The baby has finally given up climbing and moved on to other things.
"Can we heat up the stew from last night for lunch mom?"
He's stopped running at the door full tilt to once again ask how soon his empty stomach will receive attention. It's been almost an hour since I last fed him a snack.
"Great idea, that will be nice and fast. Will you get it from the fridge for me?"
The Girl remains a silent lump of hurt feelings beside me.
"I'm sorry I was impatient. I'm glad that you like to comb your hair. You are getting to be a very big girl. Would you like to practice on my hair?"
"What was that?"
In a soft trembly voice she chokes, "No I don't want to."
"Are you sure? You usually like to comb my hair. Are you sure you'd rather just go put the comb away?"
"No, I want to."
And I sit patiently as she combs through my hair, in every direction imaginable. She is so careful. The nerves in my scalp tingle as she barely touches my head with the comb and I feel the warm of her little body behind me. The Baby walks toward us smiling hopefully and reaches to stroke her own hair. I tell her she's lucky to have a big sister who is so good at combing hair because someday she will comb her hair too. The Girl runs to get the Baby's comb and I leave them sitting together on the floor, the Girl combing the Baby's hair as I warm up the stew.
He walks in to the aftermath of chocolate making and card c9nstruction at the tale end of dinner. He's covered in sawdust and throws off his jacket before picking up the Baby ambling toward him in greeting. He holds her head against his cleaner T-shirt as he snuggles her in greeting. The older kids run in for their hugs and show him their chocolates, their cards, and tell him their news.
Finally he falls to the floor, too tired to stand any longer and desperate to take the pressure off of his aching body. The Baby climbs onto his stomach and starts bouncing up and down.
And then, somehow, in the process of removing children who are dangerously close to jumping on him, I find myself in the Baby's place and I am spontaneously kissing him. It's a slow lingering kiss and I hear the kids giggling as his hand sneaks up my thigh beneath my skirt.
And then the Baby sits on his head.
Later I will abandon the chocolate encrusted dishes to their own fate and leave the crumbs on the floor in order to kiss him again before he falls asleep. And this time the Baby is asleep.
Happy Love Thursday Y'all