At my parents’ house in California, I snuggle into the twin futon bed with Baxter after cuddling with Lyle for a while. Unable to stand this, Lyle hops over the bed and joins us. We are three peas in a pod and I could stay there all night if not for the fact that every muscle in my body would have seized up from discomfort within half an hour.
Baxter, happily thinking about his own birthday after days of listening to Lyle discuss what theme his party should have next month: “Mommy, I think this year I just want a ‘cuddle’ birthday party. We’ll cuddle all day long, and only our family will be invited.”
About thirty dreamy seconds later, he changes his mind: “No, actually, I want an ‘Animorphs’ party.”
In Lake Michigan this evening, where the air was balmy and breezy and the water was warm with big, choppy waves we could frolic in for a full hour.
Lyle, held tight in my arms waiting for the next big wave, placing his smooth little face against my cheek: “Mommy, I just wove [love] spending time with you. So much.”
And then squealing in delight as the next wave nearly pushes us over. Together.
In the bathroom, during the potty and tooth brushing routine.
Lyle, from the potty, cheerfully: “Sorry for kicking you, Baxter!”
Baxter, brushing his teeth, confused: “You didn‘t kick me, Lyle.”
Lyle, jumping off the potty and giving his brother a swift kick in the shin: “Now I did!”
(Could you all hear our muffled laughter around the world? Because I’m afraid, despite our best intentions, it was that loud.)
In the boys’ bedroom, where Lyle is idly playing with trains alongside me as I fold laundry. Currently, when we tell Lyle something he’d rather not hear, he accuses us of “teasing” him.
Lyle: “Mommy, will you play shrains [trains] with me now?”
Me: “When I’m done with these clothes, I will.”
Lyle, angrily, “You’re teasing me, Mommy.”
Me: “No, Sweetie, I’m not. You didn’t like that I said ‘not yet’, but I’m not teasing you.”
Lyle, irritation in his voice: “You are. Sometimes you are teasing me but you just don’t recognize it!”
Jeepers. Three going on seventeen?
Playing in the lake with Baxter. Just the two of us for about twenty minutes, a rare treat. While turned to talk to me, Baxter gets socked by a big wave.
Me, amused: “Better watch over your shoulder, Bax!”
Thirty seconds later, I am socked by a big wave while talking to him.
Baxter, laughing hysterically: “I guess you’d better watch over your shoulder, Mommy!”
As he laughs at my expense, a bigger wave crashes over him, momentarily dunking him underwater. He comes up shocked and spluttering, a huge grin on his face.
We laugh for a “long minute”, as his brother says. Together.