Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Soup, Interrupted

The code word... Do I have to spell it out for you?
Photo source
When Mr. Wright and I were cultivating our first crop of kids, we crafted a code word for Grown-Up Time: soup. As in, “If we can get all the laundry done, the dishes washed, the kids to all their appointments, dinner made, and I can get a shower today, there’s a microscopically slim chance I’ll feel up to having soup for dessert after the wee ones go to bed.”

Last night was one of those rare nights when the stars aligned, and Mr. Wright and I set about preparing the ingredients for a steamy batch of soup.

Just as things were about to come to a rolling boil, we heard the distinct sound of a pair of children’s’ size almost-nine feet stumbling up the stairs to our loft bedroom. “Go on without me!” Mr. Wright cried, but there simply wasn’t time.

Snugglebug crested the top of the stairs, crossed the room, climbed onto the bed and wedged herself between us. Sometimes she arrives half-asleep and conks back out quickly, and Mr. Wright can carry her back downstairs to her own bed.

Last night was not one of those times.

She was wide-awake, and talking up a storm. “Mommy, that’s GirlWonder’s phone. She really, really wants it.” (We’d just implemented a new plan to get the kids to sleep better – collecting their phones at bedtime so they aren’t up all night, texting. Genius, right?) “Daddy, it’s dark in here. We need to turn on the light!” It was well after midnight, and she was running a verbal marathon.

“We need to watch a movie!” Snugglebug announced.

Mr. Wright scooped her into his arms, suggesting a movie would, indeed, be delightful – downstairs, in her own bedroom. Snugglebug resisted, throwing her head into his shoulder in protest, resulting in blood gushing from her tiny nose.

Now, before you call in a report to Children’s Services – and if you’ve known my family for any length of time, I’m sure you have them on speed-dial – I must disclose that Snugglebug gets a bloody nose every time she sticks a finger in her nose, sneezes, or simply looks at herself too long in the mirror.

As Mr. Wright rushed into the bathroom – Snugglebug still in his arms – for the haz-mat material (a.k.a. toilet paper), I fetched the vessel-constricting nasal spray and handed it over to Mr. Wright. This is a modus operandi which takes place a few times a week and changes only in which parent holds the toilet paper to her nose and which retrieves the spray.

There are times, as an adoptive mother, I marvel at how much like me my kids actually are, thus settling firmly in my mind certain portions of the nature-versus-nurture mystery. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, Snugglebug is my child by the phrases she uttered during our late-night nosebleed adventure:

“I can NOT do this anymore!”

“Daddy, it makes me sad when you do the nose spray. It hurts my feelings!”

“NEVER AGAIN. Do you understand? I never want this to happen again.”

She cried. She whimpered. Finally, blessedly, she stopped bleeding. By that time, it was pretty much a given that she wasn’t going to go back to sleep in her own room, which was fine – the moment for soup-making had long passed, anyway.

With Snugglebug cuddled between us, Mr. Wright and I marveled at how much she’d grown since we brought the six-pound, three-ounce five-day-old wonder home. “I’m sorry about missing the soup,” I whispered. I really, really was. You have no idea how sorry I was unless, of course, you have seven or more kids yourself. In that case, you know all too well the sense of loss I felt.

“There’ll be other soup,” he assured me. “I wouldn’t change a thing about our lives.”

I agreed with him as Snugglebug began to drift off to sleep. “I wouldn’t change a thing, either.” We smiled at one another and he reached over our youngest miracle to hold my hand as the sound of children’s size-eleven feet echoed up the stairwell and Curlytop’s ginger-colored ringlets found a pillow to rest upon.

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