By Heather O.
The Wiz called, or, rather, I think I called her. I was bored, trying to figure out what to make for dessert tonight. She suggested Tracy’s BEST BROWNIES EVER. J was plunking out songs from “The Sound of Music” on the piano, and since he was trying to play the songs by ear, there was a lot of repetition, which means The Wiz got an earful of “Do Re Mi” played at doublespeed, over and over.
“Is the piano not driving you CRAZY?” she asked.
Not really, because at that moment, I was dealing with a clingy, snotty 2 year old who was following me around like a bleating goat saying, “Ima holjoo, Ima holjoo”, which, for those of you not conversant in Little Sister-ese, means, “I wanna hold you”. Of course, the direct translation is, “I am going to follow you around like Mary’s little lamb whining pathetically until you pick me up in your arms and make you carry me until I get so heavy you feel like your arms are going to fall off. And then I’m going to cry when you put me down.”
I’m SO glad my daughter can express herself with such brevity.
So I told The Wiz that no, the piano was not really bugging me, and then, just as I said it, I realized how LOUD my house was at the moment.
“Well, you have 3 kids. Isn’t your house loud?”
“Yes, but not at the moment.” Then she decided she just couldn’t take it anymore, and hung up.
And of course, the realization of the noise level in my house made me realize just how mind-numbing Do Re Mi played 40 million times can be. And then it DID start to make me crazy. So I made J switch to trying to figure out My Favorite Things, and then to that Yodelayhee-hooey song thingie. I really thought he was going to make it through the entire soundtrack, but he got stymied by the yodeling song and gave up.
But throughout all this plunking, I still had my little bawling lamby at my heels, and I still had to make Tracy’s BEST BROWNIES EVER, so I pulled up a chair and set her stirring the bowl as I added the ingredients, taking intermittant breaks to help plunk out varying phrases for my budding musician. Every time I left, of course, Little Sister took that opportunity to spread more chocolate on herself, and I finally appeased her with a chocolate laden rubber scraper to lick, which gave me the necessary time to spread the brownies into the bowl, help J figure out, “And then I don’t feeeeeel soo baaaaad”, and put the brownies in the oven.
But the cost of giving my toddler a chocolate laden rubber scraper is that she has basically covered herself, her clothes, and the chair she was sitting on in chocolate. So I break out the paper towels and do a halfhearted cleaning job, knowing in the back of my mind that it’s a losing battle at best. Surely there will be something else in the next 5 minutes that requires more cleaning. Better to just get it all done at the end of the day when I have no little sabotuers behind me.
And in the midst of the chaos, I wonder. Is this what parenting is supposed to look like? Is this what I’m supposed to be doing? And I tell myself that it is. I tell myself that my son is learning all kinds of things by just being left alone, for the most part, to discover the wonders of music, and the mysteries of making it. I tell myself that synapses are firing when my daughter sticks her finger in a small puddle of chocolate batter that she has plopped on her chair and smears it around. I tell myself that the laughter that lights up my children’s faces when they lick the spoon and lick the bowl lays down permanent bricks in their souls, the bricks that build their lives’ foundations, bricks that tell them that the world is full of people who love them and will keep them safe.
Then the moment passes, and what’s left are just dirty dishes, a chocolate trail through my kitchen, a grumpy toddler, and a kid who has abandoned the piano and turned his attention to Scooby Doo.
But I cling to my hopes as I pick up the pieces. And wait for the next moment, the time when J wants to figure out the yodeling song, and Little Sister wants to play with bowls of flour and spread it all over my kitchen floor. Because I tell myself that is what a mother is supposed to do.