"Owen, what happened out there?" I asked, after giving him some time to cool down.
"I got angry with you because I don't want to go inside," he replied, not looking me in the eye, fiddling with the button on my cardigan.
I paused and considered my response, "Do you get angry when your teacher tells you it's time to go inside?"
"No," he responded, as if I had asked him if he had shoes growing out of his ears, "I just go inside!"
"Ah," I said, "So why do you listen to Miss Dot but you don't listen to your mother?"
He smiled, "Oh! That's because I like Miss Dot better than you."
Joel's language is slowly developing. He'll say a handful of words, although his favorites include: "cracker," "dog," "chicken," and "Dada." He understands everything we say perfectly.
Yet, when I say, "Joely, say 'Mama'" he shakes his head so violently that I fear it will fall off.
He refuses to say my name. And, then, he laughs in my face. Little bugger.
These small indignities pass, and I need to recognize that my children are so comfortable with me that they can revel in my love even in the midst of their jackassery. They know that they are cherished more than the stars and the sea. They know.
Yesterday, Owen asked, "Is my president George Washington?"
"No, honey," I replied.
He sat for a moment and asked, "Is my president Barack Obama?"
"That's right, sweetie," I replied.
He thought for another beat, then said, "He's always with me, all the time."
I laughed. "No, honey. I think you're getting him mixed up with Jesus."
"Oh," he said. "Jesus stands in trees and goes pee-pee."
"Right," I said. "Obama goes pee-pee in the potty."
"Thanks, Mommy." He said, "Now I understand."
Perhaps this moment alone is worth the small indignities.