“I wanna pinch ya boobies,” Madeleine giggles. She’s been scurrying around the house in search of me.
“Moooommy, I can’t find you!”
She rounds the corner and now finds me naked in my walk-in closet. I use the closet as a dressing room, an undressing room and a hideout.
“Be nice to Mommy’s boobies, please.” I say. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d say in a literal nor kinky way.
“Mom, I can’t get my shirt on!” Luke shouts from another room.
He must be running toward me because the sentence crescendos.
“I need help.” He thrusts the shirt at me when he arrives.
My nearly 6 year-old son is completely unfazed that I’m not wearing clothes. Only occasionally, like when I go into his room to give him a kiss good night before my shower does he say things like “Get your boobies away from me.” Then I know he realizes. He’s beginning to understand private parts and who can touch who, where and when. A tricky conversation, if you ask me. It’s important not to give the kid an anxiety attack about stranger danger but also to make him aware of what’s appropriate.
My little one, Madeleine, is still a baby. When she believes me when I say Quick, look at that birdie outside! and she turns her head and I have a chance to steal a piece of her cookie, she’s still a baby. Sure, she has her moments of ruthless clarity. Yesterday she threw a crap-fit because I refused to buy a 10 dollar container of pistachio nut meats – but for the most part, she’s a breeze.
With Luke, there’s no getting past him on certain issues. I should have named him Reality Jones. Would’ve been a more accurate name for a kid who’ll probably be interrogating me for a map to the North Pole any day now. For now he’s not entirely traumatized by his mother, how I dress or the things I say. Although one day when I picked him from school I scooped him up and hugged him, and when I didn’t put him down right away he said, “Put me down, Mom. You’re carrying me like a baby.”
Insert heart-break here.
I just want to savor this brief period in life when my kids think I’m their whole universe, I know everything and that they need me to survive. While the whole point of this parenting gig is to prepare them to survive on their own, feeling necessary is my reward, as I wade through the tantrums and the runny noses, brushing away the sand between their toes after a day at the beach,reading just one more story and the sleepless nights that inevitably follow. My time as the hero of their lives is waning ever so slowly, since last night Luke asked my husband, “Do you know more than Mommy?”
I think he’s onto me.