Josh and I are discussing pizza. It is a great weekend treat for him, but I have to admit, “I don’t really like pizza.” It is an age-old debate between the two of us, but this time, someone was listening in.
Samantha pipes up from the room adjacent. “Mom, have you even TRIED pizza? I have, and I really enjoy it!”
Silence and peace. Samantha and Seth are eating. Simon is in the shower.
I am standing over the sink, eating lunch, staring out the window into a beautifully sunny day, pondering the mysteries of life in this tiny slice of mental space.
Seth moves from stuffing his belly to deconstructing his lunch, crumbling his biscuit into the floor, and rubbing the slice of turkey in it on his chest.
Simon appears in the kitchen door, water sluicing down his stark naked little self.
He grins at me, as the water mixes with Seth’s crumbs. “I left foot prints.”
It’s been very quiet since we moved, once we got past the drama of moving. The summer has been filled with long walks and playing in sprinklers. I have a collection of wonderful moments: the sound of a happy, tired toddler babbling in his daddy’s arms, both wet from the sprinkler; watching Simon do his happy dancing run that I hadn’t seen since he was a toddler; having long conversations with Samantha. Not so many moments seem so surreal or so hysterical as they did before the move.
Here’s a little flavor of summer, before the heat goes and the fall begins:
Doesn’t that sound delicious? You can laugh now. I don’t tell the children that name. I tell Samantha they’re just grape juice. Simon doesn’t care what they are. They’re frozen, and sweet, and tasty, and that’s all he needs to know. Seth is decidedly pre-caring about names.
I started these because Simon in particular needed something new. Kombucha is off the shelves, and I can’t make it to save my life. He loves the stuff, and it keeps his stomach the healthiest in the house. Without it, we have been lost. Curse Whole Foods!
I use a bottle of liquid probiotics that have more bug variety than our coconut yogurt. I put just one tablespoon of the liquid (that’s 1 serving according to my bottle) into 12 ounces of fruit juice. I used grape because our probiotics are grape and berry flavored. With that mixed well, I freeze it in our kinderville molds. Samantha loves to crunch on the popsicle, but will not drink the melted juice. Simon gets irritable that he can’t have all four. Seth thinks they’re fun to play with, and will eat half of one. I will play with the amount of probiotic until, hopefully, I can get a full serving into each popsicle, and still get Samantha to eat one.
Josh grilled burgers. They were done and ready before the buns were completely defrosted. So while Josh gathered up the children, I stood over the toaster oven, rotating bun halves through. It was taking awhile, both with the buns and with Simon, who was being goofy and uncooperative for Josh, on the other side of the house.
All of a sudden, Simon comes running into the kitchen, “NO, MAMA! DON’T DO IT!”
Startled, I look down at him, trying to figure out where on earth he’s coming from.
He gives me the cutest sheepish grin, and tries to snatch the buns from my hands. “Mama, please don’t put fingernails in my burger.”
I rescue the buns, still trying to figure out this randomness. A suspicion grows. “JOSH! What did you say to him!?”
Josh grins, “What? It’s not what you think!” He pauses, before he clarifies, “I said boogers. I don’t know where he got fingernails.”
It was longer than that before he explained that he’d told Simon I was putting the burgers together, and told him I might put boogers on there if he didn’t hurry in there and tell me what he really wanted.
Tricksy hobbitses, messing with the precious. Simon’s burgers are serious business.
Lunch is a little late. Everything’s okay. Samantha is off in the back playing with her dolls. The boys are on the floor playing with their cars. I’m putting it together as fast I can go. The timer is running out on getting lunch to the table smoothly before exhaustion and hunger trigger the pack into meltdown, but I’ve got it. Barely.
Seth’s distress signal sounds. A series of high-pitched squealing grunts. I look over to catch Simon’s scowl, the one he uses to tell me, “There’s nothing to see here!” He shouts, “We’re SHARING!” He and Seth are both holding the same car, yanking back and forth. Seth locks his eyes on mine, and increases the volume of his distress beacon. Simon starts growling.
Samantha rounds the corner behind them, holding a dress on a hanger. A dress from the forbidden closet. The split second question flashes across my mind, “How on earth did she even reach that?” She asks, “Hey, mom. Can I wear this tonight?” and looks up at me, expectantly.
Three pairs of eyes, locked on mine. Need distilled. Overwhelming need.
Remember Meryl on The Truman Show? “Oh my God…How can anyone expect me to carry on under these conditions? It’s unprofessional!”
It’s that moment.
I made breakfast bars this morning for breakfast. I told the children they were cookies. I might have been buying good will and affection this morning. I might be more mature than that. The point is, the ingredients look awfully similar to oatmeal cookies.
Simon, hungry, comes into the kitchen. “Are the cookies ready yet! Cookies are my best friend! I love cookies!”
I’m already laughing. “They’re not done yet, baby. They’re still baking.”
Simon’s eyes narrow, “Baking?! WHAT IS BAKING?!”
“It means they’re still cooking.”
He scowls, “BAKING?! BAKING IS BAD! I want my cookies!”
He stomps out of the room, leaving me to collect myself from the floor.
Samantha is playing in the living room. She overhears a snippet of me asking Seth about the green beans he is eating in the kitchen. She hears just enough to misunderstand.
“Momma! Why are you calling Seth a green bean?”
I don’t feel like explaining her error to her. “Because I thought it would be funny.” I instantly regret saying that.
She answers back, “Well, it’s not funny. It’s just not!”
She is not a fan of nicknames.