"What song do you want?"
"Wait, mom, I have to go to the bathroom."
I sighed and flopped down on her queen-sized bed amongst all the pink pillows. Waited. She was taking a while.
I called to her a little testily, "Tell me what song you want while you are going to the bathroom."
"Maybe (the song, not the word. I've already made that misinterpretation once - 'Maybe you'll tell me the song, or maybe you won't?' 'No mom, the song from Annie. Maybe.' Duh.)."
"Duet or solo?"
"Duet. But wait until I get back. I'm pooping."
"I hear that. What, can't you poop and sing at the same time?"
I hear her giggle. "Maybe you can mom, but I don't do that!" She finishes and opens the bathroom door, heading for the bed.
I exclaim, "Miss C! You can't come and sing a duet with me until you wash your hands. With soap. Are you crazy?"
She rolls her eyes and heads back into the bathroom. The door stays open this time. I watch her in her long cotton nightgown, white with peach and yellow vertical stripes. Ruffled sleeves and collar. Her long brown hair flowing down her back. She tosses it back and pushes up her sleeves to get some soap. All of a sudden, she starts whining. "Oowww! I forgot I got a cut today at school on my hand. It hurts so bad!"
"Rinse it with water, quick, to get the soap out." She does it, then heads back toward the bed, still whimpering and clutching her hand.
I look at her and sigh. "Pooping, cuts, lip, what's it going to be next, Miss C?"
She woke up this morning and came in my bed at 4 a.m., complaining of a bump on her lip. I told her to just put some chapstick or lotion on it, and try to sleep. A frustrated hour later we were still awake, and John had joined us. After showering, I noticed while she was getting ready she had her entire lower lip tucked in her mouth. I asked her if I could look at it, but she was reluctant. When she finally obliged after much cajoling on my part, I was astonished to see her entire lip swollen to four times its normal size. I palpated it in alarm, looked for bite marks, and finally gave her a dose of Benadryl so she could get some relief. By the time we were in the carpool line, it was back down to twice its normal size. I worried, since she was starting to take the Iowa Basic Skills Test today, that she wouldn't be able to concentrate. We had violated every rule on the testing guidelines sheet (Get a full nights rest, Eat a good breakfast - she couldn't because of her lip, and I think Don't drug your child before school probably goes without saying), so I notified the school of her predicament with a phone call to the office, so her teacher wouldn't get mad if she was having trouble concentrating. It was still a little swollen this evening, and she confessed to having seen a giant mosquito in her room (in this weather?) at bedtime, so I chalked it up to a mosquito bite, hesitatingly.
Back in the bedroom, she quit her whimpering when I teased her and looked at me with daggers in her eyes. She smiled a wicked smile.
"I think I am going to write a book. You know Tom and Jerry? Jerry wrote a book called 'Life With Tom'. I'm going to write a book called 'Life With Mommy'."
I smiled. "That is great, Sicily. I can't wait to read that book."
"It will be a story, of what it is like to live with you. With you teasing me. I'll even write a song to go with it."
"Can you sing a little for me?"
She adopted a strange Southern Jamaican sing-song voice. "I'm just a little Spanish girl sitting in a tree. Hoping my mean ole Mommy will stop teasing me." She started giggling uncontrollably, and I couldn't help joining her.
We finished the duet and snuggled. As I kissed her goodnight and tucked her in, she reminded me sleepily, "Don't forget to make another copy of my CD for the car." She designed a CD over the weekend, full of show tunes and her favorite songs, to send to her pen pal Ella. She brought our car copy in to school, and told me how she danced with her teacher's aide to "It's a Hard Knock Life" over lunch. She told me, "Miss Brooke loved the Enchanted songs, mom. We danced and danced."
I hope she remembers some of the good stuff, in her book. The dancing, the singing. Lord knows she could drag me through the coals - I'm not perfect and sometimes I lose my temper. Especially after a long call weekend. But I try to make up for it in other ways. I love her to death.