I told the dentist you only drink juice once, maybe twice a day, proving you’re never to young to start lying to your doctor about how much you are really drinking. Two, three glasses a week, sure.
Then she asked about gummy candies and I made an ick face, “yuck, no,” because I am a beacon of maturity, and because I truly detest any gummy, chewy thing and therefore why would I give them to my children? (Starburst, it’s candy, I get it, but what is it?)
When it comes to food, that’s how it’s always been with us. You never ate “baby food,” not because I had a “feeding philosophy” or beliefs about “what is better” or any of that crap, but because I like to cook, and I like to eat food. So why would I buy gross mashed peas in a jar when I can cook them and mash them for you own my own? For the most part, you like to eat what I like to eat–with the exception of your bologna and cheese and ketchup sandwiches, Baby Boy, which honestly make me want to throw up in my mouth. That’s all your dad.
This morning I was all set to take you to Barnes and Noble story hour in Manhasset, when it hit me: I don’t want to go chase my kids around a book store for an hour, then end up spending $50 on books we don’t need.
So, I took you to Hicks Nursery to look at the pretty spring flowers and the plants and trees instead. (Great idea, right? I should be a camp counselor.)
We oohed and aahed over birdhouses. “Mama, BIG!,” you said pointing to tall Victorian-looking ones on stand, the avian Ritz Carltons.
We chased birds that flew by.
We made ourselves comfortable on all of the outdoor furniture–and I don’t mean to brag, but sitting in chairs in places is my speciality. (Looks like there’s a torch to be passed!)
And then came the garden gnomes.
You guys went absolutely wild over the garden gnomes. Maybe because the movie “Elf” played such a role in our lives this holiday season, on repeat in our house three times a day from Veterans Day to New Years, maybe because leprechauns, “they’re like Irish elves!” I explained, just had some serious air time. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s because I love me some garden gnomes, too.
…Two were selected to be purchased. One with an orange coat, just like yours, Baby Boy, and for you, Baby Girl, my sweet, wild, feisty possibly-elfkin Baby Girl, an impish looking one with a blue coat holding flowers.
We did great the whole time walking through the store. We held hands. We stayed together.
And on the walk to the register we did good carrying our breakable garden gnomes (You: Great parent, letting us carry them! Me: Who ever said I’m a great parent? It was either don’t let you carry them and have you scream and cry, or roll the dice and let you carry them and hope they don’t break, and if they do then deal with your screams and cries. Any outing with twins means I am prepared for the consequences, and that means tipping waiters big, and paying for anything we break.)
So, we did great on the walk and we arrived at the register the same time as another group, a woman with six handicapped teenagers. I let her go first, knowing this would further press my luck with your patience, but knowing it was the right thing to do.
(Do the right thing, babies, just suck it up and do it.)
As expected, your patience was tested. The check-out was taking a while and the squirming was becoming too much for my octopus arms. You took off for the exit, Baby Girl, like a garden gnome you were waving above your head but on fire. “NO!” as I leapt for you, your brother tripped and fell on the floor, shattering his gnome. “NO!,” I shouted again, twisting back around toward him. “Oh no, Baby, don’t get upset, it’s okay, don’t cry, Mama will fix it!” For a moment the world paused. I felt the glares of the snaking line behind me. Their eye rolls and judgment. I held my breath. My heart stopped. I was afraid the whole episode would upset one of the boys in front of us. But one bent down and picked up the gnome’s broken off shoe and handed it to me, and buh-boom, buh-boom buh-boom, my heart picked up again.
“Thank you, thank you…” I stressed to the boy, “thank you, thank you, thank you…” Sometimes the simplest words have the strongest meaning, and you feel you can’t say them enough.
He turned around and put his hands in his pockets without a word, without looking me in the eye.
When it was finally our turn the cashier took the broken gnome and chucked it to the side. “Don’t worry about it!” she said, perhaps in reaction to my dishevelled look with my falling out pony tail, perhaps, we forget, because some people really are nice.
After successfully completing the rest of the tasks before us–paying for the two gnomes, walking all the way back through the store to pick out another one, rejoicing sweet lory hay-zeus when another one with an orange coat was there, negotiating (cough, giving in to) another meltdown and letting you both carry the gnomes again, making it through the parking lot alive, getting buckled into our car seats, snacks distributed, gnomes placed in the upholders–whew, I let out a sigh as I heaved into the cushion of my driver’s seat.
“WHEW!” I heard a chorus from behind. I turned and there you both were, smiling so big, eyes so blue and alive, “WHEW! WHEW!” As if I’d just released the most ridiculous, exaggerated sigh…
And I thought, god, I love my kids.