The Letter of the Law

Returning from a week of illness and visiting family...I will let you decide whether there is a correlation between the two. The kids are asleep. Ellen isn't on for another hour. And I just spent the last fifteen minutes sitting, wondering what I should do with this BRIEF time out. I once read that when you don't know what to do, you should do the work that is in front of you. Currently that is dusting, laundry and mopping. And making my bed. And cleaning the oven.

Yeah. Blogging sounds good.

It is interesting having two children in such different stages of childhood. Viola is a little piece of cake. A piece of cake that cries. But still, cake. She cuddles and coos. When she is hungry she eats. When she is tired she sleeps. There is not much hint of her personality yet, so while mildly  boring, she is also incredibly easy. (Viola, yes I did just call you boring on a website accessible to everyone. This and many  other things I do and say may put you into therapy someday. I will pay for the sessions myself. You're welcome.)

Margaret will be three in February. How to put this? She does not suffer from an absence of personality. She is funny and sweet and incredibly intelligent. Her memory borders on the photographic, she can recite most of the books we read together. She can also throw herself down on the floor and scream until she is hoarse. It is statistically proven that 20% of childless people that hear that scream decide to remain permanently without progeny. It just happened today at Kohl's. I know that some of the women in that store saw her and decided a life of sleepful nights, shopping and perky breasts trumped motherhood by a mile. I don't know whether to apologize or expect thank you notes.

Margaret has discovered the fine art of coloring. Coloring on the wall. On her kitchen. On her hands. If I were a better mother I would say she was an artist at heart. Look at my daughter the artist! The world is her canvas! I, however, have never claimed to be a good mother. And her scribbles are ugly. So the coloring on the wall business is a problem. Last week Riley had a long talk with her. We draw on paper, We draw in our coloring books. We don't color on the play kitchen and we don't color on our hands. She dutifully repeated after him, " We don't color on the kitchen and we don't color on our hands." OK Margaret? OK, Daddy!

He came away from the whole thing feeling pretty proud of himself.

Fast forward to yesterday. Margaret had 45 minutes of much needed quiet time in her room while I got some things done around the house. (And by got some things done around the house I mean I watched Bones. While eating peanut butter out of the jar. With my finger.)

I went to go get her when the episode quiet time was over. She was standing in the middle of her room. Shirtless. With so much ink on her arms that even Kat Von D would blush over the excess. I have never seen her look so proud.

Me: Margaret! What have you done? You drew all over your arms!

Margaret, calmly, matter of factly: Mommy. I didn't color on the kitchen. I didn't color on my hands.

Think about the premeditation. She looked at the pen. She looked at the kitchen. She looked at the pen. She looked at her hands. She looked at the pen. She looked at....Light bulb! Off comes the shirt, because Mama never said anything about coloring on arms.

The implications this has for her teenagedom are a little frightening. She does, however, seem to have a promising future as a lawyer.

Maybe then she can pay for my therapy sessions.