Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"I'm not a giant, Mommy."

I truly savored my kids' baby days. Those squishy legs and arms, softly swaddled in Dreft-scented rompers. The way they'd sleep with their little tushies raised in the air, legs tucked under, and wake up from naps with their fine downy curls damp from sweat.

(Okay, I'd better cut it out, before I find myself in the throes of my third bout with baby fever; right now, at least, we really like our guest room strictly as a room for guests.)

As Jacob and Rebecca head further and further away from babyhood, the one thing that will occasionally inspire me to look away from their baby pictures is their fresh, surprising and often hilarious take on the world. Aside from a few isolated incidents (get me drunk and one day I will tell you about how the Culligan Man found my daughter, shortly after she learned how to walk, waddling down our street alone) surely they weren't so funny before they could talk like little grown-ups.

A few tidbits from Jacob, who at age 5 (and a half! he'd be quick to remind me), tackles some pretty weighty topics ranging from competitive birthdays to love to morality:

On why he's excited for Rebecca's upcoming birthday, "After Rebecca's birthday, I won't be the third one in line to have a birthday next! I'll be in second place!" The poor kid's been waiting since April 23 (his birthday is the 22nd) to be first in line again for a birthday.

When asked what he ate for lunch: "Bad news. I didn't eat my lunch because it was a ham sandwich."

The school cafeteria's offerings often get Jacob talking. On his first day of school what he wanted to talk about most--much more exciting than the new school, new teacher, new friends or even his new Superman backpack--was the experience of buying his first school lunch: "Mommy, it was like a giant chicken finger, but it was a big circle, and it was in between two pieces of two big round pieces of bread. It was called a chicken patty sandwich, and I loved it!"

He doesn't just care about his own food--he wants to make sure we're all happy with what we eat. We were just at an ice cream parlor and I ordered the fat free coffee frozen yogurt. Jacob asked me, "Is that your favorite kind of ice cream, Mommy?" Looking longingly at his full-fat rocky road, I admitted, "Not really." He said, "But you're a mommy and mommies LOVE coffee! Try it again, I know you will love it."

On good vs. evil: "Who is worse, Haman, King Pharoah or King George? I know Haman wanted to kill all the Jews, but King George made everyone pay taxes."

On the rule preventing siblings from marrying: "But why can't I marry Rebecca? I don't love any other kid as much as I love her. I will miss her if I have to marry someone else."

On why he wanted Obama to be the next President of the United States, "He's probably better at sports than McCain, because McCain looks like he's really old. Plus, he's on the blue team and blue is my favorite color."

Rebecca, meanwhile, is quite a chatterbox at age 3.

She's very concerned about emotions these days. She always asks me, "Mommy, you happy?" If I answer in a less than emotional voice, "yes," she corrects me: "No, say yessssssssssss!"

I was squinting over the New Yorker recently (I know, it might be time for reading glasses) and Rebecca asked me, "Why are you a little bit mad at your book?"

It just cracks me up to see the quirky way she strings words together. Like when I told her to wash her hands after using the bathroom, and there was no stepstool in front of the sink: "I'm not a giant, Mommy."

Trying to explain that the episode of"Little Einsteins" she was watching had recently ended: "Little Einsteins is only a little bit over."

Staring at her fingers: "This one's the Mommy finger," pointing to her middle finger, "and this one's the baby" (the pinkie.) [So next time you flip someone the bird, what you're really saying, according to my daughter, is 'your mama.']

* * *

Now, it's not always "Kids Say the Dardnest Things" in our house. Occasionally it's "Oh Where Did Mommy Leave the Duct Tape" like when Jacob asked me, "Mommy, do you have the biggest tushy in our whole family?" Or Rebecca, in a public restroom with me, "You a big girl, too, Mommy! You not wear Pull-Ups either, you have big girl panties like me!"

But then there are other moments, when I'm lying in bed with Rebecca, reading her her favorite bedtime book (the exceedingly politically correct "No Hitting" by Karen Katz, which teaches children to scribble on their art pads instead of writing on their big brother's homework and to lick a fruit pop when they have the urge to scornfully stick out their tongues at their parents).

Petting my arm like she's petting a dog, she says softly, "I like you, Mommy." Which, when she says it, is seriously more moving than the most profusely passionate declarations of love. Jacob turns me to mush as well when he says, "Chocolate pudding!? Wow, you really ARE the best mommy in the world! And, I really like your nail polish."

I guess that's payback for all those sleepless nights and diaper blow outs. Which, as much as I'd love to hop into a time machine once again hold my kids when they were squishy-limbed infants, I can't say I miss all that much.


Wendy said...

Brilliant Mommy! I'm glad you're back to writing and entertaining me!!

Cammie said...

This is almost as good as you writing another book. yeah!

Lauren said...

I am beyond thrilled that you now have a blog. I love love love your writing.

Sarah said...

So glad you've got a blog! Great first post!

merryjoy said...

So cute! My little one says things are "very over". That is pretty final!