Kai yells to me from upstairs, from the top bunk. It's 9:30, long past the time he should have gone to sleep. I rush up, not-so-secretly thrilled that he's summoning me. I've observed that boys in this house—at age three—tend not to prefer me. They want Olin. All the time. The first time around, the rejection was unbearable. Physically painful. But after seeing Jules circle back to me in the last year, I'm handling the Mama-disses better. Taking them (slightly) less personally. Still, when Kai calls for me, there is a joy-surge. No matter the time. Even if it's because he's peed the bed. But that wasn't the case tonight.
Turns out, Kai called me up to tell me that he's going to be four. On his birthday—which is this Friday, May 2. Blows my mind. (Cliche.) I want to freeze time. (Super cliche). In part because when I snuggle in close with him like I did tonight, he wiggles his little chicken-wing shoulders in an exaggerated show of contentment. In part because he tells me—slurring, thanks to the left thumb he sleepily still sucks: "You're the best mamma in the whole, wide world."
But mostly because he says funny shit all the time. Like today in the car when I ask what he wanted for his special birthday dinner and he answered, "Broccoli. And water. And cauliflower." This from the kid who loves dessert. And starchy carbs. And, well, it's true: vegetables and water.
Or like yesterday, when I returned home from a friend's baby shower, and he greeted me at the door.
OMG. It's the stuff you read on the back pages of parenting magazines—but even funnier, live in the moment."Mama, you're not wet."
"What?""You said you were taking a baby shower."
Jules, who will be six on Monday, has been cracking my shit up lately too. I'd almost go so far as to call his comebacks witty. (Six-year-old "witty.") And eavesdropping on his conversations with Kai are the BEST. Tonight in the tub:
"Kai." [He's very bossy. Read all of the punctuation properly to understand his delivery.]Perhaps I shouldn't admit it in the context of that just-shared convo, but I totally want these days to keep repeating again and again forever and forever (cliche, cliche, cliche). Do all parents approach every birthday with feelings of bittersweet that parallel the kids' party-pinata-and-cake excitement? And do all kids just "want to get bigger and bigger and bigger"—as Kai told me was his wish, as I nostalgically tucked him in tonight?
"KAI. You can't drink the bath water."
[Kai says nothing.]
"KAI. You've been sitting in it. With your butt. [pause] Crack. [pause] That's where poop comes out. [pause] So don't drink that water."
I'm gonna guess yes.