I heard the wailing from a long way off.
It was coming towards me.
Of COURSE it was coming towards me.
I held my breath, waiting to see what it was going to be THIS time.
Look of devastation.
I was actually surprised it was her. It wasn't usually her.
She is usually more of a Tear Causer than a Tear Haver.
"Honey, What's the matter?" I asked.
"Chloe *choke* called me.............. *sob*'FAMINALLY," she sobbed.
Had I heard her right?
What had she said?
I must not have made it out correctly.
"She called you WHAT?" I asked again.
"FAMINALLY," she said.
"She called me 'FAMINALLY"
*shaking sobs with hands covering face*
At this exact moment,
a large bid swept down and swooped me up in its talons, carrying me over hills and oceans to its nest on a rocky cliff,
where I helped raise it's giant babies as if I were one of them, and I learned to ride them with saddles that I made myself out of woven blades of grass.
But that's the exact type of thing I imagine happening sometimes after something like that is said.
Something so confusing and absurd that nothing that followed could ever surprise me.
"Honey. 'Faminally' isn't even a THING. It doesn't mean anything. If it doesn't exist, then being it can't be offensive." I weakly soothed.
"But....But....It SOUNDS mean and I don't like being called things that sound mean."
"OK," I said, "I'll talk to her about not calling you 'Faminally' ever ever again."
At this moment Chloe appeared from behind the wall.
Apparently she'd been there listening the whole time.
Her one eyeball discreetly peeking out from behind the baby gate as it tended often to do.
She, too, looked distraught.
"Chloe, Did you call Tessa 'Faminally?"
I could hardly believe I'd uttered the words.
I did all I could do to keep my tone as stern and serious as one can when probing their child about if they called their sibling a made up thing that sounded mean.
"I only called her that because she threw a lego at my ear. It hit me, and it hurt, and I called her 'Faminally.' I tried to say I was sorry, but she was already running down here to tell on me."
"Tessa," I asked, "Why did you throw a lego at Chloe's ear in the first place?"
"Because," she responded, "She told me that she hoped that one day I went completely bald because I'd look so funny if I was bald and she'd laugh and laugh and be happy forever, so I threw a lego at her head."
At this point I was really almost at a loss for where to go with the whole thing.
For one minute I felt it strangely appropriate to make them wear hats made of foil and perform in a Dressage competition.
It would have made about as much sense as anything else going on.
They were both in tears, clearly tormented by jabs about baldness and made up names.
I had to stay strong. I was already committed.
These are the moments in parenthood they never tell you about.
I'd love to see a chapter on FAMINALLY in a Dr. Spock book.
I had to be the solid ground,
even though what I REALLY wanted to do was call them BOTH "Faminally" and rock in the corner by the Calico Critter houses.
Chloe chimed in.
"I only told her that because she was telling me that she's happy when I feel anxious."
"No!" Tessa said.
"I meant that I am usually happy, and she's usually anxious. I'm not happy ABOUT her being anxious. I'm just happy WHILE she's anxious."
This was going nowhere.
Time to bring it to a close, no matter how amusing.
Sometimes I really wish I had a gavel.
"Alright, Girls. I want you to turn and face each other."
*Tessa faces Chloe*
*Chloe faces the dog*
"Chloe. You need to face TESSA."
*Chloe faces a SHOULDER towards Tessa*
Now we have full facing,
although neither one will look at the other directly.
It's as if their eyeballs literally REPELL each other.
The crimes have been too severe for LOOKING.
Tessa is now rubbing her eyes so hard that I am positive that when she removes her hands from them,
there will be nothing left but big deep weeping holes above her nose.
Chloe's mouth is open slightly and sort of oddly.
"I want you two to look at each other now and to realize the hurt that you have caused each other by your words. Words hurt. Sometimes even more than hitting does. You don't want to cause pain to your sister, do you? You don't want to be the one to make her cry...."
This is when I notice that Chloe has gone from just PLAIN open mouthed staring to slightly wall-eyed staring that is aimed at somewhere over Tessa's left shoulder.
She basically looks exactly like THIS:
"Chloe? You're not even looking at Tessa's face. I want you to look at each other. Why are you staring off into the ozone?"
"I'm not! I tried to look, but you were talking so long and when I stare for a long time like that, my eyes go all funny and I can't make it stop."
*giggles from Tessa*
*Look of forgiveness and also admiration for being funny*
I gave up.
I think even *I* went slightly wall-eyed.
"Oh for Heaven's sake. Hug each other, go play, and both of you -
STOP BEING so darned......FAMINALLY."