How are the kids?

28 04 2008

When people call up and ask, “And how are the children?” I never know what to say.  I am too close to them, I think.  Watching them nearly every moment of nearly every day, I lose my perspective.  Behavior problems swell until they seem like Rocky-Mountain-sized obstacles.  Or I develop sudden onset parental amnesia.  When this condition strikes, I cannot remember anything we have done in the past month, although I know we must have been doing something.  I feel tired, at least!  You’d think that would indicate something.

The truth is I don’t know how the children are doing.  It’s like trying a recipe out of a new cook book and having someone walk in while you’re still adding ingredients and ask, “So, how is it?”  Well, I don’t know.  It’s nowhere near finished yet.  Ask me in eight years.

The best I can do is tell anecdotes.  Today I dressed Patrick in his red striped long-sleeved rugby shirt.  The back of his hair stood up in little curls around his ears, and I found him irresistible.  He climbed up on the bed with me after his nap and flopped on  top of me.  One of his tricks is to lift his chin near my face, which means he wants his creamy, soft little baby neck kissed.  He likes me to rain soft kisses on his dimples sometimes, too.  This time he laid his head on my chest.  I breathed in a deep breath of his fresh hair and sighed.  The sigh must have rumbled under his ear, because he copied it.  He hummed a sigh.  So I sighed again, and he giggled and sighed.  I have no idea how long we kept this up.  It was utter bliss.

Two nights ago, we were at the new house painting.  Neal finished the second roller coat on Brenna’s room and began painting Mike & Pat’s room.  I really like the blue I picked for their room- it’s quite blue, rather intense, without being a glare-your-eyes-out blue.   Michael wanted to help me paint the trim, and to put him off, I promised he could help Neal with the roller.  It has been my experience that although small children are fascinated with the roller, they give it up quickly when it tires their arms.  Michael loved rollering.  He kept up a constant flow of chat while he painted.  “I am doing a good job,” he announced, “I have very strong arms.  I’m a good painter.”   When he handed the brush to his dad for the high parts, he looked at his feet very seriously and said, “No, no, no!  Don’t step in the paint!”  He stuck in there and nearly finished the whole room.

Neal was working on the computer one evening while I was fixing supper.  The children were out in the yard.  I took advantage of their temporary absence to flirt with my husband a little bit.  He wheeled the desk chair over and I sat in his lap and kissed him.  I suppose it was a little more than a “welcome home honey” kiss, because when I looked up my daughter’s head was tipped over to one side, her eyes were goggling out of her head, and her mouth was open with an expression of total disbelief.  Bren is quite dramatic.  I hopped out of Neal’s lap and tried to look nonchalant.   “WHAT were you doing?” she asked.
“Kissing your dad.”
“Yeah, but you were all like,” and she pantomimed me draping my body all over him and smooching like a soap opera star.
“Well,” I said, trying to be matter-of-fact about it, “Your daddy’s the only person big enough that I can sit in his lap now.”
Fortunately she seemed to accept this explanation.  I can remember feeling weird and tingly when I caught my parents kissing.  I could feel the electricity between them, and it was disturbing to me as a child.  Then, when I got older, I remember feeling outraged that they would joke about it.  I had a definite feeling that intimacy should not be a laughing matter!  I mean, do you ever see the hero and heroine in a romantic movie GIGGLING when they kiss?  Not hardly!  I think I eventually decided they were just old and sort of beyond all that now.
Now I guess I’m old and beyond it, because Neal and I laugh, too.  We laughed at the look on Brenna’s face.  She might as well have held up a sign that said, “Gross!  Old people kissing!”

An anecdote about Donal will have to wait, because I have to go change a diaper and finish dinner.  Scouts tonight.

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One response

29 04 2008
Linda Miller

Angel,
As usual you always can make me see, hear and smell what you describe. Patrick being adorable with his sighs & giggles. Mike with his sturdy little body straining to help his Dad with the painting. Brenna catching you guys stealing time for a snuggle in the kitchen. We still try to steal a little time for snuggling anywhere we can find the energy and would still be giggling when we were caught. Old – nonsense! was your Dad’s response. We’re just getting started.
Love & hugs,
Mom & Dad

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