Thursday, August 27, 2009

Bloody Right

It was cool yellows and blues and greens outside when I brought The Boss to the lab for bloodwork this morning. Inside, the empty office was shockingly white. It smelled of a cleaning product and paint combo. The Boss, though feverish and fatigued for the five days prior, galloped around the waiting room with vigor. When the sole phlebotomist on duty brought us back to the bloodwork room, she gestured to Number Two and asked who was going to hold him. I looked at her, I looked at him, and I looked at The Boss. "I am," I said.

"Then who's going to sit with her?"

"She can sit there by herself," I said.

The nurse gave me a skeptical look. A four year old? Alone in that stark white seat for a blood draw? Well, I never. "If she can't sit still, I'll have to send you to another lab with more staff. I'm all alone here."

I nodded. I was, strangely, not worried.

The Boss climbed into the chair with the kind of confident ease she brings to everything she does. The nurse tied the rubbery band tight around her arm and, without fanfare and with only a "don't move, now," slid the needle into her arm. The Boss watched everything, unflinchingly.

It was over in seconds, and the nurse was flabbergasted. That's what she said. "I am flabbergasted." I would've liked to have been a little I-told-you-so about it, but I was too discombobulated to muster the smiling raise of my eyebrows.

"I have never, ever, in all my years seen a child sit there like that," she said. She was no spring chicken, either. "Most adults aren't that good."

I nodded. I fall into that category myself. It was probably better that I hadn't held The Boss in my lap as that needle went in. She would've sensed my fear. She would've known that this was, perhaps, a situation to be wary of. Instead she saw me right there in front of her, a squirming boy in my arms, and knew I trusted her to be where she was. The Boss has always done well by my faith.

I guess that means I've done well by her.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Bathroom Soap Opera

"I can't reach the hand soap on the bathroom counter," The Boss said, bursting into the living room in a flurry of eye rolls and the pursing of lips.

"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize." I was a bit taken aback by the histrionics. I directed her toward more accessible soap and told her I'd rectify the situation when I was done feeding her brother.

The Boss was not deterred. "Why did you do that, mom? Why'd you put the soap so far back?" She stared at me with her father's righteousness while she contorted her mouth into one of so many expressions that even strangers comment on. "Did you think my arm was as long as yours? Did you?"

I refrained from comment.

The Boss's eyebrows danced above huge blue disks, rising and falling amidst all that width of sight. Then she flourished her right arm in accusation and demonstration. "It's this long, mom. My arm is this long."


Parenting requires a change in perspective. So often, it demands a getting-down-on-one's-knees approach. Whether it's a proactive lowering to see things at a child's level or a request for forgiveness that comes after the fact, I've discovered that I cannot effectively mother my children from 5 feet plus. If I didn't consciously acknowledge this before today, I have no choice but to keep it in mind from now on. The Boss told me so. And thus it is.

For a short girl, The Boss has high expectations.