just today

I woke up to footfalls in the hall, a cold child, wet sheets.  I loaded the washing machine, heated the coffee, poured the milk.
Before I had time to sit and think about how we could spend the day, the other one stumbled down the stairs, hair askew, ready to snuggle.

Where do your sneezes go when they disappear?  Like I needed to sneeze and then I think it got stuck in my teeth?

I do another round of coffee and milk before we dive into cereal and grapes and bagels with cream and berries with yogurt and bacon.  Bottomless pits.  I move laundry through and reconnect Playmobil parts and read books.  We still don't have a plan.  We're all still wearing pajamas.

Mama, do you want to see where I keep all the aliens I capture?  They're right here under my seat on the crane.

Yes honey, I can't wait to see where you store all the aliens.

I peel carrots, boil eggs, roast cauliflower, get caught up in the kitchen.  I think about calling the preschool, about ordering a battery tender, about getting library books returned.

Mom, would you check out this new aircraft I built.  It has a propeller that spins.

Oh buddy, I love this creation.  And I love you.
I pack overnight bags, scrub a spot on the rug, bribe them to trim nails.

Mom, you know what the good news would be if I cut my nose with those clippers?  I could paint with it!  Instead of using chalk, the blood could be my red color!

Days alone with the boys are kind of difficult to describe.  They can feel utterly exhausting and almost perfect all at once, with some very prosaic hours in between those two extremes.  Fixing crocs that are on the wrong feet, slicing apples, changing wardrobes, recapping markers, wiping chins.

I'm not sure I know that purple car with the orange fire, but I will keep my sharp eyes out for it.  Can I help you find a different toy car to play with now?

They're hungry again.  I scramble eggs and rinse blueberries and cut cucumber.
I make a shopping list, clip coupons, look ahead at the calendar.  I ask them if they've considered what activities they might like to participate in this fall.

I have fine fighting skills.  Like punching and grabbing and scratching and kicking and poking.  So I don't need karate like Tucker takes.
They are playing mama and baby, pet owner and cat, aliens and astronauts.  I am marveling at the luckiness of a little boredom.  We spend the rest of the day adding numbers, tying shoelaces, painting frogs, sounding out big words, singing songs.  We spend the rest of the day cooking and eating.  Chicken drumsticks and carrots and cheese.  And ice cream.

Of course there are tears and tough parts.  There always are.  There always will be.

I'm sorry your feelings feel hurt when your brother calls you little.  You are a big boy.  You will always be his little brother, just like Daddy will always be Uncle Adam's little brother.

Raising kids is a good many things.  It is expensive and exhausting.  It is also not certain things.  It is not glamorous or routinely exciting.  But it sure does feel like a privilege to fumble along and figure it out with these boys.


rht said...

I like the way you turn mind-numbing into thought-provoking. I have always wondered about those missing sneezes myself. Maybe the aliens snatch them?

Christen said...

Tollie's confidence in his fighting skills - hysterical!

Andy and Jenni said...

And ironic, Christen, because I think the point of karate is to learn discipline and self defense - not to perfect things like scratching and biting. He is a confident kid though :)

Poppy John said...

Jenni Baby,

Don't let Donald Trump learn the boys are keeping aliens! Huge fines!