I just figured it out. I ascertained my place between the pursuits of my attention by the 4-year-old and the 16-month-old. I have discovered why their perceived jealousy for my complete care and focus is so essential to their centers. Daily, I face the wrath of one or the other if I am not quick in my validation of their constant questioning or concern.
I’m the buzzer on the television show.
Their television show.
It’s like I automatically send contestants to Hollywood or trigger the judge’s chair to spin around in recognition. I seemingly get the host’s attention to identify the #1 answer on the board or to answer the query for 200 points. I am always present, taunting, hopeful, shiny red or gold, sat on a flat top or handheld, the door to opportunity.
And my children cannot do anything without hitting me first.
With Jrue, his preferred phrase since starting Pre-K has been “Mommy, watch this.” His request means to look at his sudden surprised face or watch him dive brazenly off the couch. It means to have a temporary seat to his impromptu comedy show, complete with voices and dancing. Almost any movement is a big-time attention-seeking measurement, and I usually have to “watch this” at least 139 times per day.
While still mastering language skills, Jai makes wild noises to catch my eye. One of my favorites is a billy goat gloat that she expels, a mixture of laughter and wailing and a sheep’s “baa.” She will also just barrel her way to my lap and reach her arms up to be fetched. Her nonverbal cue of endorsement, when asked a question, is to stare at me blankly. When the answer is absolutely “no,” she maniacally shakes her head side-to-side or whimpers.
I am the hatch to breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus snacks, and various cups of beverage. The kids must come to me for those, even if daddy is standing in the kitchen, fridge open, pouring juice in sippy cups. I am the person to retrieve all items or touch things up high, even if I cannot reach them. Like the ceiling fans or the mysteries behind the cabinet door over the fridge. I am the one through which all of their individual, minute-by-minute decisions are run by.
Want to move the dollhouse from bedroom to bedroom? Tell mom after it has been transported with 23 other small pieces of toy parts.
Feeling like a potty trip is overdue? Shout the desire at mommy, especially if she is on the phone or sitting on the toilet herself.
Is it time for a nap? Fight it tremendously, then lay in mommy’s lap and whine just before passing out, drunken, so that she can airlift the passenger safely to bed.
It is a must that I am the unremitting sales booth operator of proposal and outcome.
To have my complete encouragement instills confidence in my children. I have to hold onto that. Let’s face it: someday, they both be patrolling life without my advisement to their betterment or detriment.
What do I do when they are both shrieking and pushing and fighting to sit in my lap? Not a thing, immediately. I sit still, victimized, going through the motions of the obligatory “Stop pushing her, Jrue!” and “Jai, share!”
Eventually, they both move on, only to buzz me mere minutes later for…whatever.
This is my life.