Thursday’s child(ren)

For whatever reason – better weather, the year 2010, the lunar phase – the boys have been exceptionally entertaining this week.

All five of us went for a walk on Tuesday afternoon. Because it was almost fifty degrees and how could we not. A man in his sixties jogged past us: a straggling configuration of big and small people; two blond boys carrying sticks in their hands, hitting the snowbanks on the cleared trails. And another stick-carrier-in-training, esconced in a blue fleece suit with bear ears.

‘They might move out in twenty years!’ the jogger called over his shoulder, as he passed us ‘if you’re lucky,’ he quickly clarified. We smiled politely and continued on our way.

Why would I want them to move out, I felt like saying, they make me laugh.

As I was standing in the kitchen tonight, trying to throw together some dinner, the oldest two were playing together. The Gort was giving his younger brother ‘piggyback’ rides. Which consisted of our oldest walking around while the Hen walked directly behind him, clutching his brother’s back.

Piggyback train, more like.

Next time I looked up, the Gort was crawling around on his hands and knees with his 32 lb brother sitting on his back. Shortly thereafter big brother was tired. ‘Fun’s over,’ he announced, ‘time to get off.’

‘What are you making for dinner,’ he asked as I stood by the sink. Chopping. ‘Pasta with artichokes’ I replied. ‘I don’t like artichokes’ he informed me. He’s currently going through a phase where he expresses his dislike of everything, all of the time. ‘Why don’t you make pasta with tomato sauce and cheese,’ he suggested. ‘Because I want to make pasta with artichokes,’ I replied. ‘How about this,’ he proposed, ‘you can make the pasta and then put tomato sauce and cheese on mine and you can put artichokes on yours.’

A perfectly reasonable request, yet I wouldn’t budge. Mostly because I don’t want to get in the habit of catering to their ever-changing culinary desires.

I set the plates on the table. The Hen wouldn’t even touch his. ‘I don’t like this,’ he announced. And continued playing with his Playmobil firetruck. Gee, I wonder where he heard that precious phrase.

The five year old disciplinarian stepped in. ‘If you don’t eat your dinner, you won’t get any snacks,’ he warned his little brother. (Gee, I wonder where he’d heard that!)

The Gort ate all of his dinner despite his earlier protestations. ‘I’d like more pasta and more red rotten tomatoes,’ he called as I walked to the kitchen to replenish our bowls.

Uh, sundried tomatoes?

The boys and I had gone for a walk earlier in the afternoon. We’d stopped at a little cafe on the trail, where the older boys each selected a bag of chips.

‘Three boys,’ the owner announced as she looked us over. ‘You going to try for a girl next?’ [Little did she know that she’d posed the exact same question to us five months before, when the baby was still in utero.] ‘No,’ I replied, ‘we’re tired!’

And we like our boys just fine.

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