Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mischief makers

They are curled up on the burled gray carpet. It looks like government carpet, and it is. He throws his arm around her waist. I'm late for work.

They are 26 months and four inches and two pounds apart. They are thick as thieves, and just as secretive, shutting out the outside world to entertain each other. The problem is, right now I'm the outside world, tapping my foot and urging them into the preschool classroom.

They answer me in unison as if by signal. They snore loudly. Haaaa. Shoooo. And they disintegrate into giggles. She rolls backwards and they giggle face to face. They're holding hands.

When he was too little to talk and she spent all her time as the plaything of her big sister, I worried how he'd cultivate a relationship with the girls. And he has, with both of them, each in her own way. E reads to him, holds him on her lap, helps him with his shoes. She's a little mama, that one. But she's away from the younger two during the day, off at her big-kid school, and these two, my carpet snugglers, they spend all day as companions. He has a place in both his sisters' hearts, and I remind myself to be glad of that as I try to shoo them across the classroom threshold.

They look at me, and at each other, and stand without speaking. L holds out her hand and G takes it and I think maybe I'll get to go up to my office soon. They don't speak. They smile. They jump into the classroom. I smile.

And they fall right back to the floor. She rolls forwards and he scoots behind her. He throws his arm over her waist. And two voices ring:  Haaaa. Shoooo.

They're blocking the doorway, they're making teachers laugh and classmates fake-sleep, they're not unpacking their food or moving for other families, they're in their bubble, seeing each other and their co-contrived game and their shared delight and oblivious to the world beyond their relationship.

They are precious. They are infuriating. They should always look after each other so completely.

Every September, we're asked to fill out a re-registration packet at daycare. It's my seventh year on this packet. I'm so over it. My kids eat table food, sit unassisted, don't give me any reason to be concerned over their development, give me fits over the way they'll fake sleep in the hallway instead of obediently and docilely enter the class like every other child in the school. I asked L to give me the answers and I told her I'd write down whatever she said. Favorite food? Bagels. Favorite color? Pink. Favorite toy?

Her answer? My brother!

She meant it as a highest compliment.

This post was inspired by the memoir January First, written by father Michael Shofield about his family struggle to find the right treatment for his daughter Jani, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia at six years old. Central to the story was the priority of preserving a relationship between Jani and her younger brother, which made me so grateful for the easy closeness that thrives between my kids. Join From Left to Write on September 6 as we discuss the Shofield's memoir January First. As a member of From Left to Write, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

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