"Morning baby, time to get up." I rub her back and push back the golden halo of hair that surrounds her.
"I'm tired," she mumbles in a small sleepy voice.
"I know honey but it's..." There is something brown and crusty surrounding her mouth. "Did you brush your teeth last night? What is that?"
Crying ensues. Mouth shuts like an oyster almost snapping off my fingers when I attempt investigation. I walk towards the bathroom. "Come in here we need to brush."
"No mommy I brushed last night. I did. I did, really. What is it? What is it? What iiiiisssss it?"
I realize I need to resort to threats in order to achieve any cooperation. "One. Two..."
Brushing begins. Now there is pink. "What were you eating? This is disgusting."
"I don't know Mommy." More tears. Light dawns. Aha, the loose tooth. That would explain things.
"Honey open your mouth and let me take a look. I think you may have lost a tooth." More crying. Hmmm, this is an unexpected reaction. I thought a development like this might prompt a more positive response considering it had been six months in the making. Reactions are difficult to predict these days. As quickly as they begin they can suddenly change.
"We need to write a note Mommy. A note to the tooth fairy Mommy."
Mental note to self. Daughter lost tooth.
Okay, two more stops and I'm done, Post Office and Bank. I hear the phone ringing, but by the time I dig it out of my purse and answer it there is no one on the other end. Missed call from Home it says. I call back.
"Hi Mom I'm home." Son number 2 checks in.
"Ok did you have fun? Great. Okay, you know the deal. Get to work cleaning your room."
5 minutes later. Again with the ringing? Home again.
"Mom? Ummmmmm, there's a Police officer here. He says someone dialed 911."
"Well did you?" Rhetorical question. "Ok, hold on, I'm pulling into the driveway."
Take a breath. Here we go. The officer is standing at the door. The neighbors must love this.
"Your son is telling me he has made no calls."
I turn to face him, "Well that is not entirely true. You called me ... Twice."
The officer continues in the most authoritative tone he can muster, "And then we called here 3 times and he hung up on us each time."
My sons voice is now very small and wavering a bit. "I saw the caller ID said Town of Topsfield and I thought it was my principal."
Oh boy. "Are you in trouble with him too?"
The departure of Officer McGruff is met with relief and the shedding of a few held back tears. This is not funny yet but it will be in about a half hour. So I manage to hold off commentary for about 10 minutes.
Stop by the store. Pick up daughter by 5:30. Cook dinner. Put dinner on the table.
"I'm not eating that."
I'm not sure which child that came from since I have not even sat down yet.
"But you like it." My tone is more pleading than anything else at this point but that could change fairly quickly.
"I know .... but I'm just not in the mood for it tonight."
Seriously? I walk away.
20 minutes later we are back in the car. Off to baseball. I've taken on passengers but the Shorties in my cab don't appreciate me. They stiff me on the fare and I get no tip. At the field I use my infinite charms and convince an unsuspecting dad to provide a ride home.
I feel so clever, so resourceful. Smugly strolling back to the car I think I may even have a few feminine guiles left up my sleeve. I see my reflection in the window. There is a piece of spaghetti in my hair. Ok so maybe I shift the emphasis from feminine guiles and focus on the fact I appear to be teetering on the edge of overloaded mommy mode.
Whatever. I'll take what I can get with the sympathy vote. It works and I don't have to do pick-up.
My daughter is tucked into bed. I'm done, finished, finito. I've punched out.
No matter what she says I'm not going back in that bedroom one more time. She calls out to me. Ok fine, one last time, but this is it.
"I just wanted a hug... but I understand if it's too much." Sigh.
Oh, she is good. She is unabashedly playing the bad mommy guilt card. Kids don't play fair. I go in for the obligatory hug but can't help softening and falling in for the full embrace.
"Ok, I'm leaving now, goodnight." I'm walking.
"But I can't sleep." The voice is pathetic.
"Of course you can't sleep if your eyes are wide open and you are still talking. Just lie still and quiet and you will fall asleep."
It's quiet for a nanosecond. "Mom?"
Pause. Try not to sound annoyed. "What?"
"Mom, are we Republicans or Dominicans?"
Don't laugh. DO. NOT. LAUGH.
God this is beautiful. I could not have written something that good. How do I not laugh?
Don't laugh, you will only encourage more talking.
Don't laugh. Breath in. Act like this was a normal question. Ok here we go.
"Dominicans honey. Buenas noches."