I put the baby in for the night (well, one can always hope) and then served the girls dinner. I then ran to the computer to squeeze in a few minutes of writing.
"Ima sit with us," said Princess.
"How do you ask for something?" The question rises automatically. I didn't even hear what she said. 'Slither' is a better word than 'slide,' I thought. I changed the word. Then I changed it back. Hmmm.
"Ima, can you please sit with us?"
"Much better," I said. Slither. Slide. I stare at the sentence.
"...so, can you now?"
"Now what?" I look up at them, sitting by the table. They are both holding their forks. It is a dinner that they both like. Did they want something else? "Do you want ketchup with that?"
"No!" Princess said. "SIT with us."
"How do you ask?" says I.
Really? said Princess' eyebrows.
Did I already say that? "I'm coming!" I said. I came. I sat down. I wiggled a bit. "Eat your dinner, girls," I said. Slither...?
"Ima, can you feed me?" said Coco-pop.
"Three bites, and then you eat the rest yourself, okay?" Slide.
"Also me," said Princess.
I nod. They're both good words. I think I can use both if I--oh, perfect! "One second, okay?" I bolt over to the computer and quickly type in the sentence. "The smile slithered off of his face like raw egg sliding down the wall."
I hurried over and sat. I faced my girls and fed them each three bites and thought about the sentence. Was it too fun? Was it kind of gross? Was it gross but also funny? Does the grossness cancel out the funny? I wanted to run back to the computer and look at it, in black and white. Coco-pop wiggled her nose at me. I wiggled mine back. We both laughed. I fed her one more bite and pinched her nose lightly. Then I pinched Princess'. She made an I am too big for this face but her dimple peeked out.
"Ima, you know that today when I was walking to school I fell on my knee and I cried because I had blood and then I walked to school like this--" she slid off of her chair and demonstrated a hobble--"and then I got there and showed it to my morah and she said she gave me a band-aid."
Princess cries when she hurts her finger and there is not a mark. She asks for band-aids anyway, saying, "Any MINUTE now it's going to bleed, I know it!" I could not picture her walking to school with torn tights and a bloody knee.
"You were walking with M?"
"No, because she walked ahead."
"You were walking by yourself?"
I blinked at her, this big girl of mine. "And you just walked to school?"
"Yes because then I would be late if I just stayed and cried and cried!"
Big girl. Great big girl, walking to school by herself ignoring her fears and pain because she would be late.
Blink and you miss it. There they are, eating dinner, and here I am, at the table with them. The story is not yet done, the laundry not yet folded, but we are sitting in the middle of all of that, a moment in time that I can see and be a part of as long as I keep my eyes open.
(She threw a fit five minutes later about a cuticle, my big little girl. But you have to watch all of the minutes for the kind of moments that make you realize why.)