The younger is chattering exuberantly at an ear-splitting level about two inches from my face. I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and exhale slowly in an attempt to calm my suddenly rapidly rising heart-rate.
“Could you please use an inside voice?” I say slowly, in the steadiest, least agitated tone I can muster.
She looks at me quizzically and shrugs her shoulders:
“That’s just the way my voice is, Mom.”
Later I walk into the kitchen and see muddy footprints all over the floor.
“Hmmm. It looks like someone dragged mud in all over the floor,” I exclaim.
She waltzes in.
“Oh, that was just my feet,” she declares, reassuringly.
In the afternoon we have a dance party in my bedroom, just her and me. It is hard to say whose jaw drops lower at the sight of the other’s dance moves. Hers involve break-dancing style attempts to spin on her head that end in dramatic crashes to the floor.
“Sweetheart, are you OK????”
“Yes! [popping right back up like a jack-in-a-box] It didn’t hurt at all!”
Mine involve standing in one place and shaking my hips, a feat that, judging from the expressions of awe it elicits, is by far the most impressive thing I have ever done in her presence.
“Mom!!!” Her eyes are wide and her tone is at once scandalized and reverent: “how do you shake your booty like that????”
“Oh, just practice,” I say, nonchalantly.
Later, tired of dancing I flop on the bed.
“Mom, I’m pretty sure I could shoot a bow and arrow with my feet.”
“Yeah. Because I can pick up this with my feet (picking up,* with her hand,* a tube of moisturizer).”
“And I can stretch a rubber band with my feet, so ….”
She trails off and shoots me a self-satisfied look that says, plainly, that to offer any further evidence would be gratuitous.