When I was small, my Grandma would call me “little friend” and I remember liking it…except when she was bossing me around. Which, she did often. It’s genetic.
I have never thought of my children as friends until recently, as my house gets farther and farther away from the infant stage and babies start talking and walking. If I could bottle the energy in the little toe of my toddler…
The baby I was just feeding pureed vegetables and burping last year is now dancing his way through the house, always dancing, or hopping, or running. He has pep in his step, and we’re friends now. I read him books and he makes jokes about things, usually about peek-a-boo, because nothings more hilarious than covering your eyes. I think everyone should try it at the next job meeting when the conversation gets intense. Screaming “peek-a-boo” when your boss asks you a question. It’s a guaranteed morale lifter.
Hypothetically. I haven’t tried it.
I could tell you some tales about things I did do when I had a job in the real world.
1) I started a 4 square tournament at work that’s still a big event after 7 years
2) I got my whole department to celebrate “World Egg Day”
Anyway, back to the baby.
He has started to roar.
“Are you a lion?” I ask him and he smiles big.
“YAH!” he replies in a sing song shout, and basks in the glory of finally figuring out how to tease his mother. He sees his big brothers doing it often enough.
The big brothers are truly hilarious. They’ve been my friends for a few years now, and they know how to party. They’re hard to keep up with. They’re fun to talk to. They are sort of bossy and often sweet, but sometimes I’m shot in the heart with a nerf gun bullet. I tell them they give love a bad name, but they just roll their eyes (they get that from their Father)(they also get their lack of love for Bon Jovi from him).
Sometimes I want to get away from them.
And that’s okay. Everyone needs a break sometimes. That’s what cartoons are for.
After a day like today, where there was vomit and banana bile, when my floor is sprinkled with the fairy dust of saltine cracker crumbs, where we’ve cuddled a lot and watched too much television…I was ready to clock out at 4:30. The toddler especially was a bit of a firecracker. He ran everywhere today, carrying electronic devices and his sick brother’s cups like a deranged football player.
When bedtime comes near, I have the hardest time mothering. Most of my muscles are against me, and I have to force myself to spend the last few minutes of the evening with my boys instead of checking out mentally and snapping them into their pajamas.
At sixish I gave the toddler a bath just to get him to hold still, and he lay on his stomach, staring at his pudgy little hands in the water. We read stories and rocked, and his hair dried into little baby ringlets. It was so perfect. I fed him blueberry yogurt and called him, “Little Friend” and he looked at me with tired, happy eyes and talked about his elbows.
The two bigger boys played Mario Cart. Shel kept crying, “I’m always WOOZING!” and drove off of cliffs like it was his job. I sort of ignored them, focusing on dishes and drifting into “is it bedtime yet?” mode. I suddenly realized the perpetual blur that is my toddler was missing. Things had gotten quiet and still. The clack of matchbox cars on the window seat had ceased. I asked from the kitchen, “Hey, where’s Tobin?”
We found him asleep on the couch, clutching a car in each tiny fist. We all gathered around him, big friends and little friends, and laughed and laughed. “The rock star has run out of steam!” we whispered, and I picked him up gently and carried him to bed.
A few minutes later I went into Q’s room to put fresh sheets on his bed, because after a day of the stomach flu, no one wants unwashed sheets. They were straight out of the dryer because I had forgotten about them until the 11th hour.
I have never seen anyone so excited about hot sheets. He literally could NOT stop talking about his warm sheets. The warmest he’s ever had. So cozy. He has never had sheets this warm. Did he mention they are super warm and he loves them? I couldn’t stop laughing.
Some of my best friends are little friends.
Update: Derrick was watching a preview for an action movie and said to me, “Steven Spielburg is producing this movie…” and the living room door burst open and Q said, “Hey! Did someone say my name?”
“Um, only if you directed ET.”
So we ended the night with a slightly confused 5 year old. Success!