The scene: First thing in the morning. Gabe has woken up, come padding into my room, and climbed into bed next to me. We snuggle for a few minutes, then he becomes distracted, peels off the blanket, sticks his leg straight up in the air and begins examining it with some concern.
Me: "What's wrong with your leg, dude?"
Gabe: "There's a knee on it!"
1. While in car returning home from a weekend with the grandparents:
Ethan: "Mommy, guess what?"
Me: "What, baby?"
Ethan: "I just farted. Just for you!"
Me: "Umm... thanks, sweetie. But you really don't need to tell me about it."
Ethan: *continuing proudly* "That's right: bubbles of stink just came out of my butt! And you're going to smell them in a minute!"
2. At dinner, while Gabe and Ethan are fighting over a small red wooden top. There are two (a red one and a purple one) - they each received one in their Christmas stockings:
Ethan: "The red one is mine!"
Gabe: "Red one mine!"
Me: "Actually, the red one is Gabe's. The purple one is yours."
Gabe: "Purple one yours, Efan!"
Ethan: "No, I'm pretty sure the red one is mine."
Me: "No, see, I think the purple one is yours. Santa knew your favorite color is purple, so I'm pretty sure he gave you the purple one and he gave you the red one."
Ethan: *looks thoughtfully at the red one in his hand* "But this one has an Ethan-ness to it. The purple one has a Gabe-ness."
The scene: dinnertime. Ethan, Gabe and I are sitting around the dinner table, surveying the fruits of my 1.5 hours of labor: a chicken and broccoli casserole. It came out perfectly, and I proudly dished heaping platefuls of it to myself and my progeny.
Me: "Okay, boys! Let's eat!"
Gabe: *grabs his fork, enthusiastically digs into casserole, scooping up big bite and eyeing it hungrily*
Ethan: *tilts his head, looks thoughtfully at casserole*
Gabe: *shoves fork full of chicken and broccoli into his gaping mouth with a smile*
Ethan: "What's in this?" *pokes at casserole with his fork*
Me: "It's casserole. It's really good. It's got lots of cheese. You love cheese."
Me: "Yes! And it's got broccoli, which looks like trees. You know, like the dinosaurs - lots of them ate trees."
Ethan: *frowns at casserole* "I already know I hate it."
Me: "You haven't even tried it!"
Gabe: *chews bite of casserole, suddenly grimaces, spits entire bite back onto his plate* "No! No more!"
Ethan: "See? Gabe hates it too."
Me: "Hate it or not, you know the rule. You need to at least try it. I want to see you eat a bite."
Gabe: *shakes his head, still grimacing* "No! Sorry!"
Ethan: pushes plate away from him* "I can't eat this. I cannot, Mommy."
Gabe: *bursts into tears* "TOO YUCKY FOR ME!"
Me: "Hey! What's going on here? This is dinner! I didn't put strychnine in this, it's casserole! Eat it!"
Ethan: *looks solemnly at me* "I will die if you make me eat this."
Me: *gets up, walks to phone, picks it up, dials numbers*
My mother: *on other end of phone* "Hello?"
Me: "How did you do this? How did you cook for children? How did you survive this? How am I supposed to --"
My mother: *laughing uproariously*
Me: "ARE YOU LAUGHING AT ME?"
Gabe: *still crying* "No trees! No cheese! No more casserole for you!"
Ethan: "I hate this so much, I might have to launch a rocket at you."
Me: *into phone* "How can I get them to eat this casserole?"
My mother: *still giggling* "Good luck with that."
In other news, Ethan has finally chosen a battle cry. It's taken a few years, and he's tried various words and phrases ("SPOON!", "Aye carumba!", "Banzaii!"), but none of them quite fit the bill in his opinion. This evening, he settled on one. He loaded his Nerf rocket launcher, climbed to the top of the sofa, aimed directly at Gabe, shouted, "FOLLICLE!!!", and fired. And thus, a battle cry was born.
Today is Ethan's 6th birthday.
Ethan turns 6 today.
I have a 6-year-old.
My baby is 6 years old.
How did that happen? So fast... 6? Really? 6?
Emergency Spare Back-up Prince Gabriel is exactly 2.5 years old today. Happy unbirthday, baby!
Quick! Somebody! Anybody! How do you remove melted candle wax from wall-to-wall carpet? And clothing?
Example of natural consequences #1: Gabe, seizing a moment of opportunity, began splashing happily in the bathroom sink and, without my knowledge, pumped a bunch of hand soap into the toothbrush cup. A little while later I brushed my teeth and rinsed my mouth out... with soap. I drank soap. I neglected my toddler for a few minutes, and my now-lavender-scented insides are paying the price.
Example of natural consequences #2: A pile of paperwork was sitting on my desk. Receipts, greeting cards, CD cover art, what-have-you. I know my desk should be more organized. It's not. I've been meaning to put these things away for a while. I haven't. Gabe walked up to the desk and began, slowly and methodically, picking up every single item and tossing it onto the floor. I watched him for a moment before asking, "Gabe, is that really necessary?". He stopped, looked at me rather innocently, and responded, "Yes. Sorry." before returning to his work as a missionary for the forces of chaos. And now my pile of paperwork is even less organized than it was before.