Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Bright Side

Little lamb bones stared up at us from our plates. I don't generally cook lamb, but my mother-in-law does. She had served the rare delicacy at The Partner's 32nd birthday celebration. I brought out the leftovers at home the next night because, while I don't generally cook it, I have no qualms about reheating it.

The Boss pondered the meat and bone curiously. I think the difference between that piece of meat and the others she eats unquestioningly on a regular basis lays in the nomenclature. "Lamb" is straightforward. Things like "hamburger" and "roast" and "hot dog" beat around the bush a bit more. One can eat them without being reminded via word choice that the food he is consuming once romped around a pasture or looked out longingly from a cage.

"The lamb that had the bones tooken out of it must be dead now, right?" The Boss asked us, looking more toward The Partner than toward me. He's the one with the answers.

"Yup," The Partner said.

"Um, yup," I agreed.

She didn't quite gesticulate into one huge shrug, but she might as well have. "No more life for him." If there was any sorrow in her voice, it was overwritten by the optimism in her follow-up. "But the lambs that weren't food, more life for them!"

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Best Mom I Ever Had

She says "You're the best mom in the world." She means her world, of course, which is vastly different from the greater and lesser world around her. Nobody else would consider me the best mom; nobody else needs to (her brother excluded). When she says I'm the best, she means it. And I am.

Are there better moms? Most of them are. But other moms don't matter. There's something liberating about being held accountable only to the authority of my children. I don't have to worry about what others think and there's no need to curry the favor of strangers. When it comes to bestowing best mom status, only my children can do it.

I've never been the best at anything before; I wouldn't believe it if someone told me I was. There's just too much competition and I'm too realistic. But when The Boss says "You're the best," or when she narrows it down to "you're the best mom in the mom's club," or when she opens it back up again to "you're the best mom in the whole, wide world," I see that it's true. I could never be anything greater than what my four year old thinks I am.

Still, some of my realism's been passed down. Some of my sarcasm is evident in the eye-rolls that come more often now. The Boss has been honing a sense of irony since before she could put words to wit. She knows what I know. Every so often she speaks it beneath a cocked eyebrow and lit cheeks:

"You're the best mom I ever had."

Sunday, January 03, 2010

That Look

Number Two doesn't listen to me. If I so much as mention his name within earshot, he will freeze in place and refuse to move even an eyeball in my direction. He's unbudgeable.

The same child is putty in his father's hands. All The Partner has to do is look slightly perturbed at an action Number Two is taking and it will cease immediately.

Under The Partner's watch, Number Two finishes his plate. Under mine, he is liable to starve. Number Two sleeps at The Partner's behest; he splits ears with his shrieks at mine. I don't think I lack severity or foll0w-through, so I'm not sure where the exact discrepancy lays. All I know is that The Partner has officially made himself indispensable around here, as if being the main breadwinner and the brains behind this operation hadn't set him up in high enough regard already.

The Boss, too, knows how it is. She referenced this fact as Number Two was wailing in his room after I put him to bed last night. The Partner was setting a new CD to "play" at the tail end of The Boss's nightly pre-sleep ritual in her own room down the hall. She wrinkled her nose as if Number Two's screams smelled funny. She looked to The Partner. "You're the boss of my brother, right?"

"Right," The Partner affirmed.

She nodded, looking him directly in those hazel peepers that can silence a beast. "Then go in there and give him the hairy eyeball," she said.