I am convinced God is paying me back.
I have tried over the years to make up for things I have done, and I'm starting to think, my family life is proof that, though He is forgiving, He is also into saying, "NOW you get it, don't you?"
We just got a new dining room table that I love so much I want to lay on it and kiss it.
We bought a nice runner and placemats and pretty gold tray with pillar candles.
It looks like adults live here.
I even cooked a nice meal tonight basically FOR the table, as
this table is too good for Progresso and grilled cheese.
Tonight, it would have herbed pork loin and roasted winter vegetables.
I was forgetting, however, the family that would eat it.
When I yelled, "Dinner's ready!" into the living room, all was as it usually is with Tessa coming screaming in like a banchee, "Dinnerth Weady! Dinnerth Weady!"
She was missing pants. She had one sock. Her hair looked like Chloe had done it.
Chloe only came after I bribed her and told her she just had to have a little.
Chloe is going through a phase where I could serve her three grains of brown rice and a lentil and she'd STILL ask if she had to eat it all.
She'd still barter to only eat two of the grains.
She climbed up and sat with her face in her hands.
The burden of the dinner-eating world on her shoulders.
Alena asked what it was.
Rolled it around with her fork a bit.
Gazed at it suspiciously because it was not only white and yellow.
She asked if there were more potatos before she'd even eaten the first helping.
Once we were all seated and had told Tessa not to blow the candles out because they were there to be pretty, we asked who would like to pray for the food.
All was typical again as Chloe and Tessa fought over who would pray first - something which I hope one day they will learn goes against the very nature OF praying.
Tessa won out.
She usually does.
Chloe just sighed and went back to her forlorn expression.
Something SHE usually does.
But Tessa has started studdering lately a bit, so we all settled in for what could mean a long long prayer and possible turns reheating our dinner plates.
"Dear Dear Dear Dear Dear Dear Jesus.
Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa Fank you for for for for all the blessings.
Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa Fa Fank you for this f f f f f f f f...."
Chloe: "FOOD, Tessa!"
(Oh gosh. Here we go.)
Tessa: "NO Cwowie! I thaying it! F f f f f f f f f f food. Fank you for Mama and Daddy and Alena and.."
"Tessa! You didn't pray for me!"
(No! Chloe! Don't interrupt her. Now she's going to want to start over!)
"Yeth I ARE, Cwowie. Dear dear dear dear dear Jesus, Fa fa fa fa fa fa fa fank you for Mama and Daddy and Alena and Cwowie. Help Cwowie a not feel sick. And fank you a Tessa. Amen."
12 minutes had elapsed.
We all smiled.
Alena tried not to bust out laughing because she thinks Tessa's studder is the most hilarious thing she's ever heard, but I've threatened her about not giving Tessa a complex.
We started to take a bite, then Chloe said,
"Mama! Now It's my turn."
and proceeded to start her own prayer which is long for other reasons.
Chloe likes to make her prayers super special and specific.
She has been known to pray about chocolate chip cookies for dessert
(a worthy request) and safe family travels. The health of our pets. Possible trips to the park.
It's adorable but it can go on and on and on.
She started in and then Tessa just prayed right over her.
Each one covering their face with both hands in a very prayerful position.
Each one trying to be louder than the other.
I thought we were in a Georgia camp meeting.
Alena said they must be starting a new TLC show called, "Prayer Wars."
Finally, they felt our meal was sufficiently blessed and we all started to eat. Well. Most of us.
As I was chewing I noticed the candles flickering.
I knew with all that praying it COULDN'T be the spirit world trying to contact us, so I looked up to see Tessa's nostrils flaired and her gaze fixed on the pillar candles.
She was attempting to blow them out with her nose.
Because dramatic exhalation was her solution to getting around the instruction not to blow them out. It wasn't blowing. It was breathing with enthusiasm.
I realized she had probably been thinking about blowing them out since the moment I had told her not to a half hour before.
I would have been upset at the attempt at rule bending if I hadn't have been so amused at the development of my personal prodigy. My Mini-Me. My personal clone.
Just today when I was asked at the pediatrician's office what she'd been learning lately, I'd replied "how to be an evil genius" and was met with a surprised look.
I'm just being honest.
This kid is going to rule the world one day and she'll probably have Nutella on her face while she does it.
It's what makes it hard for me to discipline her. Because she basically IS me, just smaller.
Though not much.
I understand what it's like to just have the NEED to bother someone. It's a sickness, really. A disease. There should be a foundation for it with races for a cure.
I think it stems from boredom, really.
When you have a personality that thrives on excitement and challenge, you are driven completely insane by people who aren't.
I feel fine in bringing this to light only because I recently discovered I am not alone. My friend Hali suffers, too. It's a relief to know you are supported.
I can remember clearly being younger and sometimes just sitting and staring at my brother who was quietly watching tv.
I'd monitor him to see if he was going to move or twitch or make a sound or show ANY signs of life, and if he didn't - it was all over for him.
I'd get up just to go punch him for no good reason at all, then return to my chair.
I used to keep a rubber mail sorting thumb hidden in my room just because it was really good at grabbing the small hairs of a buzz cut and ripping them clean out.
When my mom took that away I realized the bottom of a house slipper is made out of the same material.
So I get it.
I get that sometimes you just need to see a spark.
I recognize that fire in her eyes because I see it when I look in the mirror.
It's ALSO the reason why I was also OK today when Chloe gobbled down a chocolate I was bringing home for Tessa and explained her theft with, "I was hungry."
Sometimes you are asking to get your chocolate eaten.
Oy. That kid. She makes me want to squeeze her and pull out my hair all at once.
We were laughing with friends lastnight as I told them of the time Justin and I were sitting watching tv after we'd put the girls to bed and all of a sudden we heard terrified crying coming through the baby monitor.
I went up there to see Tessa staring at the ceiling, smirking.
It was like she was just waiting to hear her tale of terror repeated outloud so that she could be even MORE proud of herself.
Chloe was trembling in the corner of her bed.
"Chloe, what's the matter?!"
"Tessa's talking to me through the bars of her crib."
"Well, so? Why is that so bad?"
"Because she's talking in a scary voice."
"What is she saying?"
'Cwowie....Cwowie...You're going to have bad dreams about monsters, Cwowie. Bad bad dreams."
I had to explain that Tessa actually does not control her dreams.
(Something I'm not sure Tessa is convinced of.)
She thinks she controls - well - everything.
She's also grown fond of turning off the nightlight in the middle of the night because she knows Chloe is scared of the dark and she isn't.
I can remember my mom used to say to me, "One day you'll have a child that will do to you what you're doing to me."
Now I'm theorizing this was maybe more of a prayer than a prediction.
And God heard that prayer.
And answered with a YES.
Something I only DREAM Tessa will do some day.