I select one of the smallest blueberries to E to give to her sister, but L gets a little fumbly in the handoff. The girls are now holding hands and the blueberry is bouncing around the bottom of the car, dreamily awaiting the fulfillment of its destiny as a smoosh on the bottom of somebody’s shoe and a series of stains on the carpet.
Mama! L dropped it! I need another one!
Now two blueberries are conspiring about whose treads they can get stuck in. Grownups’ shoes are the best, because they’ll squish most gloriously. The kids take their shoes off before even entering the house, as often as not, and that doesn’t do much for the reincarnation upward mobility ladder.
E wants to move on from blueberries. She wants to know what’s in her bag. I need seven hands to drive this car safely and accommodate these children and their requests. Our route is all stop-and-go, so red lights are busy times. I sometimes curse the absence of a highway route, but the truth is I need every red light where I can keep us safe with just a foot on a pedal.
E wants her olives but they’re cold (from the fridge! that’s crazy!) so I need to warm them. L continues to plead for blueberries. Yuh! YUH! I contemplate the strain on my rotator cuff as I reach to the yawing maw of the rear-facing child seated directly behind me. Like a wind-up robot, I reach for a small blueberry, close my fingertips underneath it, direct the cradled morsel into her always-already-open mouth, reach for a small blueberry. This blueberry is a worm, and she is a cartoon chicklet in a nest, yellow triangles of beak opening straight to the heavens. I am OliveWarmer. I am MamaBird. I am trying to get to work on a Monday morning.