This morning, my three year-old son was standing in our kitchen fussing about the tiniest (imaginary) boo-boo on his finger. Loving mother that I am (over-indulgent), I covered the “boo-boo” with a glow-in-the-dark Spider-Man Band-Aid.
“Fanks,” said my son, admiring the band-aided finger and in the sweetest voice, he sighed, lovingly shook his head back and forth and said, “I luf you.”
“Awww,” I said, “I love you too, buddy!” I was leaning in for a huge hug when my son looked up at me as if he’d forgotten I was standing there.
“I was tawking to da band-aid.”
Wasn’t I the one who paid extra for those things? Did I really forgo the expensive shampoo that I love (deserve!) just so I could rank lower than cartoon band-aids with a character whose movie I would not yet allow my child to watch?
It’s the job. Motherhood. There are limits to how excited kids can get over the purveyor of toothpaste and hand sanitizer.
You’d think it would be different with my five year-old daughter. We each have two x chromosomes, right? Common ground from which to bond!
One day in our backyard sandbox, I wanted to boost her self-esteem by expounding on why I was always proud of Mommy’s little girl.
“Um, I’m Daddy’s little girl,” she responded, deadpan.
Well. She was right.
She was elbow-deep in the sand, scooping a muddy/sandy moat around a big mound of wet, drippier sand.
I was sitting on the edge of the sandbox with my shoes on.
Her self-esteem seemed fine.
“But honey, Mommy’s so much better at putting your hair into ponytails,” I said with rapid little nods that said, Sweetie! It’s me and you against the stinky boys of this household!
She looked at me with her long lashes that practically swayed in the breeze. She tilted her head to one side. Her charming little face made my heart ache with love.
This is the moment she says the words, I thought. I love mommy best!
She said, “I hate ponytails. They really hurt my head.”
Later that night when tucking my band-aid boy into bed, I tousled his blonde hair and began to leave the room.
“You furgot to hug me.”
Yessss! I’m back! The one you really love is the one you call out to for hugs at bedtime! Surely! I scooped him up and smelled that fresh-load-of-laundry scent that was my little boy.
I tucked him back in.
I paused again.
I turned off the light.
In the dark I heard a sigh from my little cherub. “I luf you.”
I hate those glow-in-the-dark band-aids.