One morning Hallie came into my closet while I was getting dressed. She does this frequently, and likes to comment on what I've chosen to wear and my appearance in general, so I didn't consider it out of the ordinary when she ran her hands up and down the arms of my soft sweater, stroked my hair, and held my face between her hands to inspect my chosen color of lipstick. She complimented my choices for the day, and then wrapped up our encounter with a quick but sincere, "oh Mommy, I love you so much".
And then, as she pranced out of the closet, I heard her comment to Tom, "I really should go wash the poop off my hands now."
I got back in the shower.
Put Down the Scissors and Step Away From My Head
On Friday mornings when she doesn't attend preschool, Hallie watches and talks incessantly at me while I dry and style my hair, apply my make-up, and get ready for the day. On occasion I curl her hair, or allow her to put a little blush or lipgloss. Then one day I was feeling really generous, and I let Hallie put make-up on me (flashback to the kindergarten Mother's Day Makeover Will gave me a year ago). She took her time applying blush, powder, lipgloss, and lipstick, and then she brushed my hair as gently as you'd expect a four-year-old with Hallie's zest for life to brush. (Not gently at all, in case that wasn't clear.) Then she took a deep breath and exhaled a quiet, "well…" I asked her to repeat what she'd said, to which she replied "well…" once again. As I turned around I saw her - twinkle in her eye and scissors (where did she get scissors?!) in her hand - standing at the ready. "Well…" she continued, "I guess the only thing left is to go ahead and cut off your hair."
Will: Do you want to know what my super power is?
Will: I can be invisible.
Will: What’s your super power?
Erin: I can fly.
Will: No, that’s not it. Your super power is singing while you’re eating. And Dad’s super power is driving with his eyes closed.
Will: Mama, I know it’s not your birthday today, but I have a present for you anyway.
Erin: Really? What is it?
Will: It’s a sticker with a number four on it. Because I’m four.
Erin: That’s very nice of you, Will. Thank you.
Will: Whew. Now I don’t have to get you anything for your birthday.
There were two donuts left, and I offered the one with chocolate frosting to Hallie (you never know if chocolate has dairy in it, so lucky Hallie always gets the one of anything that has chocolate on or in it) and the blueberry one to Will.
Will: How come I get the blueberry one?
Erin: Because it has your name written all over it.
30 seconds later I realized Will still hadn’t taken a bite and was turning the donut around and around in his hands.
Erin: What are you doing? Don’t you want to eat your donut?
Will: Not yet – I want to find my name first!
Last month we traveled – via four-hour airplane ride – to Washington for a wedding. Once on the airplane Will required very little of his parents’ time and energy; thanks to his Leapster and a few snacks, we heard from him only when he had to go to the bathroom. Hallie was a different story, needing an endless supply of books, art projects, cartoons, and snacks to distract her from kicking the seat in front of her and screaming at the top of her lungs.
Toward the end of our flight, a restless Hallie desperately wanted Tom to read to her but was less-than-thrilled about the books in her backpack. At that moment she discovered the seatback pocket in front of her, pulled out the safety manual, and handed it to Tom.
Hallie: You read dis.
Tom: (Reads Hallie the entire safety manual while Hallie listens intently.)
Hallie: Now seen (sing) it.
Hallie: You seen (sing) it to me.
For the remainder of the flight, Tom sang the safety manual – cover to cover – to Hallie. Now if you ever hear her singing about lifeboats or oxygen masks you’ll know why.
Will's fairly obsessed with winning these days, to the point that he somehow trained Hallie - who has no idea what losing actually means - to think that losing is cool so that he can always be the winner. We've recently heard all of these exchanges between the kids:
Will: I’m the winner!
Hallie: I da loo-ser!
Tom wore a nice pair of plaid dress shorts and a polo shirt to church. While the choir was singing, Will tugged on my arm and motioned for me to lean down so he could ask me something.
Will: (in a whisper) Mama, why did you let Daddy wear his jammies to church?
Erin: Those aren’t his jammies, Will. Those are his shorts.
Will: Hmm. They look like jammies to me.
Not VERY Pretty
Will, Hallie, and I were sitting in the car, waiting in line to gain entry to a parking garage. A young women - likely a college student at TAMU - was collecting money at the gate. As we crept closer and Will could see her out his window, he commented to me that he thought she was pretty. I knew that if I was that young woman I would appreciate knowing that a sweet little boy thought I was pretty, so when I finally reached the entrance to the parking garage I told her what Will had said.
Erin: I have to tell you, as we were pulling up my son (gesturing to Will in the back seat) told me he thought you were very pretty.
Young Woman: Really?!
Erin: Yes. I just thought you'd like to know.
Young Woman: Thank you!
Then, as we were pulling away but while my window was still down and the young woman was still within earshot, Will yelled at me from the back seat.
Will: I said she was pretty, not VERY pretty!
A commercial for Neutrogena’s new Anti-Wrinkle Cream popped up on the television.
Will: Mom! You gotta get that!
Will: It’ll make all your wrinkles go away!
Erin: (near tears) Do you think I have a lot of wrinkles?
Will: I don’t know – what are wrinkles?
Will: Mama, when will I get a driving license?
Erin: When you’re 16.
Will: (defiantly) Ha! I’m going to get a driving license when I’m 15!
Erin: Actually you can get a learner’s permit when you’re 15. You can’t get an actual driver’s license until you’re 16.
Will: How do you get a driving license?
Erin: You have to take two tests – first a written test, and then a driving test with an instructor.
Will: What’s a constructor?
Erin: An instructor is a teacher.
Will: Will you come with me with the constructor?
Erin: No, you have to take the test with just the instructor.
Will: (with tears beginning to well in his eyes) I don’t want to go with the constructor by myself!
Erin: Then you don’t have to. We won’t make you take the test to get a driver’s license. But you can’t get a driver’s license without taking the test. It's the law.
Will: (with tears streaming down his face) But I want a driving license!
Erin: Will, this isn’t something you need to worry about right now.
Tom: Will, how old are you?
Will: (bawling, holds up four fingers)
Tom: So you don’t have to worry about getting your driver’s license for at least 11 years.
Will: (still bawling) Mama, how do you get your kid back after the test?
Erin: Well, I’ll take you to the DMV –
Will: (through sobs) What’s the DMV?
Erin: The Department of Motor Vehicles. (At this point I couldn’t hold it in any longer and I started laughing because the conversation was just so ridiculous, and I had to take a moment to compose myself.) I’ll take you to the DMV, you’ll take your tests, and then we’ll leave together.
Will: Did you have to take the tests?
Erin: Yes. Grandma Brenda took me to the DMV and waited while I took my tests; then we drove home together.
Will: How do you find your kid after the tests?
Erin: Moms wait in the lobby for their kids.
Will: What’s a lobby?
Erin: A room where people wait for other people or to be called for appointments.
Will: Are there chairs?
Erin: Yes, there are chairs.
Will: (having calmed down and gotten undressed for his bath) Look Mama! I’m buck naked!
Happy Tuesday, friends. I hope these brought about a laugh or two!