Max & Vaughn Age 1 1/2, Drew Age 3
Whereas I resort to calling Max like a dog in order to coerce him to come inside (unsuccessfully), Britt knows every trick and nuance of the mothering deal that is so foreign to me.
When I assume Vaughn is repeating a two-syllable nonsense mantra, Britt translates intuitively: “Pizza, he’s saying pizza. He wants you to shout it with him.”
When I walk out of the bathroom and re-enter the kitchen I don’t even think twice about the fact that I left the door open. “You have to close it, see, they’ll be in there in two seconds,” Britt says.
When we step out on the porch to enjoy the view and Vaughn barrels out the sliding door, baby face lit up with a frenzied freedom, Britt says, “Uh-oh, this is going to mean a fit.” Sure enough, when it is time to come inside just moments later Vaughn is in tears.
When Drew decides to plant her bare bottom in the muddy puddle of sitting water right before dinnertime, I contemplate joyfully the freedom of childhood nudity. Britt cautions knowingly, “Please make good choices Drew, good choices.”
When both boys grow fussy and it is after dinner but before PJ’s and bedtime, I consider that I ought to leave before things get too complicated. “Let’s sing the Moon Song boys, can you sing it to Katey?” Britt suggests. Instantly the boys shift from restlessness to off-pitch, slurred harmonies of nonsense about “ooooos” (moons) and all is happy again in the land of boys.
When Drew steals two wrapped tampons from her mother’s bathroom and asks me if I have the same kind at my house and who made them and what color they are, I stutter for an age-appropriate answer. Britt saves the day, gently scooping the tampons up from the couch. “Remember I said I’d tell you about that someday when you’re older sweetie.”
When I almost trip over a chunk of broccoli that has made it’s way down the hallway towards the master bedroom (on white carpet, no less) Britt dismisses it with the flick of a toe – knowing all too well that messes cleaned before the kids are asleep are only messes remade faster than you can say “Binkie.”
When I am caught up in the smell of the Argentinean red wine that we enjoy with the salmon, from across the room Britt can smell that Vaughn needs a changing.
And when it is time for me to go, she knows the boys will give me slobbery kisses and muttered goodbyes but warns, “Just wait, they’ll cry the instant you walk out the door.”
Before I step off the first porch step I can hear them wailing in chorus.