Friday, March 14, 2014
Someday, they'll kill me for this photo. But not today. Of course, they're brothers - the kind who know which stuffed animal will bring the most comfort, and how to torture said animal to elicit instant screams. They might kill each other first.
Jason and I didn't walk the short road to parenthood. Ours was three years long and dimly lit. Some days, the only things linking us to parenthood were the words we spoke: about hurdles, possible solutions, hope. Most days, our words dried up: browned leaves, crumpled and blown away.
Then, on a bright day after Halloween, Audrey was born. Healthy and vibrant, she passed out her personality like free treats for the taking. We were a couple of kids eager to fill our bags. Soon, they were stuffed, full in places we didn't realize had been empty.
Cheeks coated in sugar, we were hesitant to talk siblings, the taste of dehydrated leaves still fresh on our tongues. We liked living in the land of Counting Our Blessings rather than the Badlands. We almost decided to call it a family. But we didn't.
Had I known the who(s) that awaited us at the end of that big, dark question mark, I would have plunged from that cliff head-first. But I couldn't see the bare-bummed brothers bath time photo from the precipice, only the harrowing distance of the fall down.
Today, the boys are four and weeks-from three. Their accumulated years are small, but their impact large. After all, without them we wouldn't have these moments, scribbled and saved on scraps in the kitchen drawer waiting for a blog:
Nathan (legs under his covers preparing for bedtime, a puzzle piece held up to his ear): Audrey! Audrey! Why can't she hear me?
In the past year, the kids have been enjoying nursery rhymes. Audrey checked a book of nursery rhymes out from the library and read them to Nathan. They decided to write their own. A game ensued during lunch in which each would take a turn creating and reciting his or her own rhyme. If the other liked the rhyme, he or she would yell "Nice!" If not, the listener would yell "Trash can!" (As in, I'm throwing your rhyme away. Apparently, we're also into tossing out one another's artwork.)
Over the summer, Audrey would conduct "school" with Nathan. One afternoon, I heard her yell that it was time for school. Nathan, next to me and intrigued in his own project, yelled back, "I'll be there in two minutes. No, five minutes, Auds. Auds, I'll be there in eight minutes!"
Nathan had a paper shark that he folded in half and gave to Jack. Jack put it in his pocket. Later, Nathan tried to get it out of Jack's pocket and said, "It's broken."
"It's not broken, it's folded in half," I said.
"Well, it can't swim when it's in half."
Jack was singing one afternoon while standing next to Nathan. The song contained two words, "Ella Bella," repeated over and over.
Nathan (looking at Jack, bewildered): My name is Nathan. Jack, did you forget my name?
One September afternoon, Nathan and I were reviewing an alphabet movie. "The 'a' says what?" I asked.
Me: Right. The 'a' says ă.
Jack : A dog says 'ruff.'
Wednesday morning, Jack and I were making banana bread. He mumbled something about being dangerous.
Me: Dangerous? What's dangerous?
Jack: I'm dangerous.
Me: You're dangerous? Why are you dangerous?
Jack: I'm a boy.
Me: Boys aren't dangerous. Boys are nice. Just because you're a boy doesn't mean you have to act dangerous. Who told you boys are dangerous?
And, finally, some bathtub humor to bring us back to the photo at the top.
Jack (pointing to Nathan's nipple in the bathtub): Is that your belly button?
Nathan: No. Those are my dots.
On a separate occasion, Nathan came out of the bathroom grabbing his testicles and asked, "Mom, what's in here? My lungs?"
Maybe those boys are a little dangerous, at least to unaccustomed funny bones - especially when those boys travel in pairs.