They're having none of it.
Off they go in three different directions, human ricochets of movement and sound and that poor hall passage from the kitchen to the front of the house, it can only hold so much. Out one shrieks, up one protests, forward one boy screams EEEEEEEEEEEYYYAAAAHHH!!!! following his sisters in a rampage rampaged just for the joy in rampaging. Slowly I funnel their energy up the stairs.
Our hall upstairs is a squat rectangle, the width of the double doors that lead to the master bedroom. The north side has doors to L's room, the linen closet and the kids' bathroom. The south side has E's room, the gated stairwell, and G's room. West is the purple wall and east is our bedroom.
Every evening, I station myself in the corner of the hall between E's room and ours, under our wedding photos. I change G's diaper and wriggle him into pajamas and stage direct the girls' activities. Then G will join the girls in the bathroom because he hates to be apart from them and loves to
Do you know how the princess culture has invaded even our pajama drawers? The girls have these sets of pajamas, regular shirts and pants, that come with these sheer little tutus. Ostensibly one needs to look frilly even while sleeping. I think these PJ sets are ridiculous and have never bought them. Every time the girls receive them, I rip the tutus off the packaging and separate: actual pajamas up to second-floor drawers, silly tutus down to the basement dress-up bin. But once I wasn't fast enough to dispense with the frilly and L loves her pajama skirt.
I station myself at the center of the frenzy because the lovely husband isn't home, but the phone rings, and I turn my back on the orchestration.
One time when the girls were squabbling over spitters' rights, and tooth brushing, and
So on this night, as I return from
SWIRLING HIS TOOTHBRUSH IN THE OPEN TOILET BOWL AND RETURNING IT TO HIS MOUTH TO BRUSH HIS TEETH SOME MORE.
His three-year-old sister occupies the entirety of the sink-reaching stool.
"What's going on, L?" I ask with a certain attention-getting non-serene tone as I
What? L asks with wide-eyed innocence, ceding no territory on the stool. He wanted to wash his toothbrush but I'm not done! He pointed to the potty and said 'up! Up!' so I opened it for him. You always tell me to help my brother.
And fock but I do now recall hearing him calling for help in the back of my attention just moments earlier.
This is who I will tuck in first tonight, I decide, just so that I know exactly where she is and what she's doing. This is my sweet second child, a character-bursting three-year-old girl who unfailingly helps her much-adored toddler brother and insists on wearing her pajama skirt without its pants; and almost, almost always flushes after she poops.