Along the Tracks

Monday, September 29, 2003

Sunday surprise

Jeanne flew out to Jersey to visit her sister over the weekend, so it was just me and the young-ins. Clair and Miah both were running around, screaming and yelling, picking fights over toys and generally out of control Saturday morning before Jeanne left. I believe the technical term is “full of it.” They used up their allotment of time-outs well before halftime, er, lunchtime - but we had to take Mommy to the airport, so further penalties were assessed to the second half kickoff - no treats.

After seeing off Jeanne, we packed back into the van to visit Grampa and Gramma. The restlessness continued (with a brief break initiated by a couple of McDonald’s Happy Meals) until, at G n’ Gs, I reached the parental phase known as ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Off to bed for naps.

That seemed to be the cure, as Miah and Clair were both their more typical sweet lil’ darlin’s the rest of the evening. The no-treat penalty was waived, and we all enjoyed ice cream bars.

Sunday dawned dark and early with Jeremiah jumping in to bed with me at 6:20. Clair followed at 6:30. They snuggled their Pop for about 10 minutes before the giggles, knees in the back and crawls across the full bladder convinced me it was indeed time to get up.

Down the stairs we went, with unsolicited suggestions for videos to watch ringing in my ears. “And so it begins,” my thoughts wafted through the recesses of my mind in the voice of Kosh from Babylon 5. As the two raced around the corner through the kitchen to the family room, I anticipated the sounds of battle.

I was wrong.

“You can pick, Miah.”
“That’s okay Clair, you pick a movie.”
A Mona Lisa-smile crossed my face. I turned back to make coffee.

And so it went all morning. They watched a video while I slurped up two cups of joe. They ate breakfast, then went off to play while Daddy watched his news shows.


An hour later and fully awake, I started doing the dishes.
“Daddy, can I help?” Clair pleaded.
“You won’t be asking that question in five years,” I dismissed her.
“I like to do the dishes,” she replied. “I want to help.”
“Okay,” I said, figuring no harm would come of letting her play in the water for five minutes. Might slow me up a little, but oh well. It’s Sunday.

I pulled up a chair and had her rinse from Sink 1 and place the dishes in Sink 2, where I could move them to the dishwasher. I didn’t expect much transfer to occur.

I walked into the family room to check on Miah - still lying on his belly, pushing around a John Deere 4440.
“I’m helping Uncle Lulu plant soybeans,” he said, smiling.
“Roundup Ready?” I inquired.
“Yeah,” he responded, nonchalantly, like he’d heard the question a hundred times.

Back in the kitchen, Clair was clinking away in the sink.
“Daddy, I’ve got the dishes done.”
Sure you do, I thought. But there they were, nicely rinsed and waiting for placement in the racks. She had saved me five minutes!

“Clair, you did a great job - and you’re just 5 years old!” I exclaimed. “You’re getting to be a big girl and a great helper.”
She smiled, kissed my cheek, and stated, “I love being 5. It’s my favorite age of all!”
I have a feeling that whatever ages she and her brother are, I’ll always find those to be my favorite.

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