Today when my daughter woke up she did what both my kids do upon surfacing – she asked for me to come hold her. We talked and hugged and kissed for a while then I sat up to go prepare her some breakfast. And I told her I didn’t want her to get upset, but I had a question. “I kind of think you might be a shapeshifter disguised as a human girl, because you have leopard eyes. Is this true?” Phoenix reflected for a moment and then said quietly and with utmost seriousness, “I don’t know.”
I have to be very cautious playing make-believe as my children can either love it or hate it. They very much want to be taken seriously but they also flit in and out of devotedly-enjoyed games of Pretend (and is it even Pretend so much?). This goes for games of small-scale terror and overpower, too. One of my favorite amusements with Nels is when he’s laying in my arms; I tell him one of my hands is a stroking hand and the other is a pinching hand. He immediately smiles and squirms and says, “Which one is the pinching hand?” and I tell him Try not to worry about it, just whatever you do, don’t mess with me, or who knows which hand might respond. His smile gets bigger and you can hear the laughter in his voice as he ruffles my hair or tugs on my shirt and says, “I’m messing with you!”, his voice higher and his body tensed and – well, sometimes it’s the stroking hand that tenderly ministers to his little body. But he can’t help messing with me again and – you know the rest, as PINCHING HAND is then released in full-force upon his wee puppy-wiggling body and to his delighted screams. Kept entirely in his control he loves, LOVES being tormented this way.
Today Ralph worked a 12+ hour day and came home tired; he comes home spent from work very rarely indeed (it usually takes our nut-slapping family antics to wear him out). I had the house in great shape and the housework all done and was delightedly listening to a girl band anthology and sewing a Christmas present on my old Singer – a delightful machine that purrs along nicely. We passed our evening in peaceable family time – well as peaceable as it generally gets if Nels is conscious – and my husband fell asleep in my lap while I stroked his hair, like he has been doing the last few nights.
Left awake, my night-owl children and I, awake to ponder Christmas presents and the requested lunch and dinner I’m making my kiddos tomorrow (hot dogs and cole slaw for lunch ala Phoenix; slow-cooked spaghetti and meatballs alongside broccoli for dinner ala Nels) and friends going through difficult times and family conversations – and upcoming sewing projects. I got a fabric order in yesterday – an order I obtained through a loan for my mother – so I now have the velveteen needed for a winter coat for my daughter (better late than never since her previously provided version mysteriously disappeared). I am making the pattern myself and desire a unique sleeve based off the techniques in a vintage sewbook but I can’t quite figure any of it out. Ralph’s brilliant at that sort of thing but Ralph’s pretty overscheduled these days so I don’t know if I’ll make the request.
It’s late – late, late – and my daughter asks for my observance as she plays National Geographic‘s Animal Jam. I notice she is well-liked in online communities and no wonder; she’s a fast typist and an extremely empathetic and witty little creature. It’s more lovely than you’d think, sitting alongisde her and watching her play and listening to her voice and smelling her hair and feeling her warmth next to me. Just: lovely.