The Boss does not take kindly to it when Topher* shatters her "ignore him and he'll go away" mindset with his newborn wail. The scene most often unfolds in the car, where seatbelts, five point harnesses, and the fact that I am driving separate me indefinitely from the two prisoners in the backseat. The acceleration in my sporty little v-6 has nothing on The Boss, whose mental deterioration can go from 0-60 in five seconds whenever she hears him cry.
"Mommy, he needs you! HE NEEDS YOU!" Her scream is a rain of spit as she joins in with him--all red-faced, wet and puffy--until their joint clamor builds to a crescendo that will one day either make me drive off the road or wish that I had. Either kid crying alone is tolerable to a hardened mother like myself, but the two of them together in hysterics is an invitation for me to let loose right along with them.
I don't know what it is about Topher's baby yelps that tears his sister up. She won't acknowledge his existence in any other circumstance. He is six weeks old and I still haven't been able to get a picture of the two of them touching. Is it the idea of his discomfort that upsets her? Or are her ears, which have become so accustomed to the quietude of being an only child, just that sensitive to her brother's new noise?
I don't know. I ask her, but she's too frenzied to be coherent. She couldn't tell me anyway. That's actually what she says when she doesn't know the answer to something: "I can't tell you, mom." Her tone is almost always frustrated when she says it.
Since there's not much I can do from the front, I push all the questions and uncertainty into the backseat with my two screaming offspring. I try to drown them out with classical music and the loud exhale of the air conditioner, which is now blasting to counteract the humidity.
And we drive each other crazy, all the way home.
*The polls are still open. Vote on the baby's new blog pseudonym in the box on my sidebar if you haven't already.