September 9, 2016
By Ekta R. Garg
Enjoy these Spurts from the last two weeks, readers!
Last weekend the family went out for pizza, and afterward we decided to go for a walk in our neighborhood. With fall approaching the evenings here in Illinois have become a touch chilly, so the girls and I ran into the house for light jackets. Eight and I stood outside with her grandpa while we waited for Ten and my husband to join us.
As she usually does, my younger child began a conversation right in the middle. I think sometimes she starts the conversation in her head, allowing her thoughts to explore a topic, and at some point the thoughts find their way out of her mouth. I’ve learned to roll with it.
“You don’t fart enough,” she said. “I should know. I’m, like, the queen of farts.”
She started laughing really hard as she said it, and I laughed just as hard.
“I fart all the time,” she went on, still laughing.
“Well, you know what Shrek says,” I replied.
“Uh, yeah, something about better to let it out, right?”
“Better out than in,” I quoted.
“Right,” she said. “Better out than in.”
As we went on our walk, Eight and I held hands and followed the family. We made our way down the sidewalk, trying to stay clear of some weeds edging someone’s yard. Eight nudged me as she stepped closer in my direction to avoid some weeds that leaned over the concrete.
“Why are you pushing me?” I teased her.
“Sorry, Mamma,” she said contritely.
“Look, you pushed me so hard, I’ve crying now,” I said, continuing the silliness. “Look at my alligator tears.”
She squinted in the dim light. “I don’t see them.”
“You practically pushed me into the street,” I said. “I almost rolled to the other side of the road.”
“Mamma!” she said with a grin.
“Yeah, and I practically landed in those people’s driveway over there,” I went on.
She rolled her eyes but kept smiling.
Eight is such a softie that she goes on immediate alert if she thinks she’s inadvertently hurt someone in any way. She apologizes several times and then gets slightly defensive if she thinks her apology hasn’t been accepted. In the last few years I’ve learned that if I can make light of a situation—if I can exaggerate it and make her smile or even laugh—what could potentially be a meltdown turns into something funny later. Maybe, as the years pass, she won’t be quite so sensitive to her own mistakes.
The other morning as I waited for the girls to get ready for school, I changed my clothes so I could go to the Y to work out. Eight walked in right before I put on my shirt. Her eyes got wide as she saw me in my sports bra and yoga pants.
“Oh my gosh, Mamma, what are you doing?” she asked, slightly incredulous.
“I thought I’d go to exercise like this,” I quipped. “What do you think?”
“No?” I asked. “What if I don’t wear my pants either?”
She giggled as her eyes went to my tummy and the stretch marks. “You can’t do that.”
“So I can’t go to the Y like this?”
Her eyes sparkled. “I think you need to exercise some more!”
My honest, no-holds-barred, has-no-filter-when-she-speaks child. Sometimes it can be refreshing. Other times…other times it can make me wish I exercised more.
On Wednesday evening, after the girls’ dance class, Eight and I retreated to her bathroom so I could cut her nails.
When the girls were toddlers, I used to sing songs and tell silly stories to entertain them while I cut their nails. Ten would fidget a little; Eight has always wiggled. So I made it my goal to get through their nails as fast as possible. I got the routine down to where I could cut all ten fingernails on a child through only one round of the ABCs.
As they got older, however, and they understood the importance of sitting still, I started talking to them. I would ask about school, friends, upcoming trips or just let them chatter about anything on their own. It’s become part of the routine.
So as we settled in the bathroom on Wednesday, it didn’t surprise me when Eight wanted to talk.
“I want one of my babies to be born in Montana,” she said as a conversation starter.
Okay, so maybe that surprised me a little bit.
“Really?” I asked. “Why Montana?”
“Because it’s beautiful,” she said matter-of-factly.
“So you want one of your babies to be born in Montana,” I repeated. “How many babies are you going to have?”
“So where is the other one going to be born?”
“Texas, Houston,” she said, pulling her hands away from mine long enough to wave them around in a little dance.
“You know that Houston’s in Texas, right?” I asked, slightly amused.
“Texas, Houston,” she sang, still dancing.
“Okay, hands here,” I said. “So you want to have two babies? Not more than that?”
“No, not more than that!” she said, her eyes getting a little wide.
I chuckled. “And your first one’s going to be born in Montana?”
“Yeah, I’m going to buy a starter home there.”
“What’s a starter home?” I asked without batting an eye.
“It’s a first house,” Eight said. “You know, just one or two bedrooms. Kind of simple. Not as nice as this one.”
“How did you find out what a starter home is?”
“Well, we were playing this game called Life on the Wii when we were at M. and A.’s house,” she explained, referring to the close friends she and Ten have in Myrtle Beach, “and they were talking about starter homes on the game.”
And I always thought video games were just for entertainment. Who knew they could encourage kids to plan for their futures too?