On the way home from Owen's day camp, I stopped the car on a side street, turned around, and told him, "You need to stop kicking my chair."
Owen retorted, "You need to stop kicking my chair!"
I shot back, "I'm not kicking your chair! You need to stop talking back, young man."
Owen, eyes flashing, replied, "You need to stop talking back!"
"Owen," I said, "You're not the parent!"
"You're not the parent, either. Stop talking to me, Mommy. Please."
Joel chose this moment to fill his diaper with something inhuman and foul. Gasping, I rolled down the window and said, "We'll talk about this when we get home, Owen."
As I started up the car, he muttered, "I don't want Mommy time. I want Daddy time. Mommy time is boring."
So, when did my four year old morph into a surly eighth grader? I am decidedly not liking this development.
It's so hot that I can barely function. I would take pictures of my living room, strewn with laundry, toys, and discarded sippy cups, but I am too lazy to move. I am certainly too lazy to cook, which is why my boys had Popsicles, crackers, and cheese for lunch.
After Owen's time-out, talking-to, and the healthful meal listed above, I called Paul and whimpered into the phone, "Please come home early today."
"I can't," he said, not unkindly. I sat on the bed, phone in hand, willing him to call back and change his mind. Instead, I had boys to put to bed for naps, an action that drives me to drink on the best of days.
I have spunky, willful boys that do not like to go to bed. On good days, I tease them into their rooms. We read stories and hug night-nights. On bad days, I say things like, "Get in your room or I'm going to start throwing toys in the trash can!"
I lacked the patience for a good day, and the heat had drained me of any will to yell.
So, I put down the baby, and then I got into Owen's full size bed with him.
"I'm going to take a nap with you," I said.
He smiled at the novelty and said, "You nap, and I'll play."
"No," I said, "Playing is too noisy. You need to help me sleep."
I rested in bed, my eyes closed, my breaths deep and rhythmic. I felt him rustle against me, and it reminded me of the summer days of 2005, when he was growing inside me, too small yet to flutter or kick, but there, nevertheless.
As I drifted into that hazy valley between awake and asleep, I felt him kiss my cheek and heard him say, "Sleep tight, Mommy."
I awoke after a dream, and he was sleeping. His eyes were closed, his hair tossed and sweaty.
It was my own Redemption Song.