“It’s fall, Mommy. I drew a tree. Those are leaves. See how they’re falling?”
“It’s fall. You should be careful. ‘Cuz you might, you know, fall.”
When Piper woke up this morning with a raging fever and a sore throat, I wanted to cry. But I can’t. I’m the mom. So I gave her a dose of ibuprofen, stripped off her sweat soaked pajamas, and brought her to our bed. We cuddled and talked about how stinky it is to feel sick. “I know what would make me feel better,” Piper said.
“Anything, baby. What?” I asked.
“Hot noodle soup.”
“But you ate all the noodle soup yesterday,” I reminded her. “We’re all out.”
Tears welled in Piper’s eyes. Okay. Okay. I can make a fresh batch. From scratch. Before 6 a.m. Fine. I diced and simmered the broth. I boiled the noodles. I buttered a fresh slice of bread. Then I fed it to Piper with a spoon. She said her throat felt better. She said it would feel even better if she could watch Word Girl on the couch. I’m a sucker, I know.
A few hours later, after the fever broke and some of Piper’s energy returned, after the negative strep throat test and doctor’s visit, I brought her another bowl of hot noodle soup. Piper peered into the bowl at her beloved carrots and celery floating in a fragrant bath of broth and noodles and said, “Mom, I don’t do leftovers.”
A Piper doesn’t do blue jeans. They’re too stiff. She refuses to unbutton and zip. Tutus don’t easily slip over blue jeans and dancing is inhibited. So there.
Yet the leaves are changing and it’s starting to get cool. Blue jeans keep you warm. So yesterday we hauled out the hand-me-downs to add some layers to Piper’s tutu collection. Sissy made it into a fashion show. We blasted Lady Gaga and assessed new outfits with thumbs up and thumbs down. It was fun. At first. Piper gave everything a thumbs down. Too many blue jeans. Too many plain turtlenecks (Sissy was a bit more practical in her kindergarten fashion). Piper agreed to a few knit pants but only the ones with flowers, Eiffel Tower prints, and rainbows. The shirts were boring. The blue jeans were impossible. Piper was grumpy. So was I. Then she turned on Sissy. “Why couldn’t you like dresses and skirts?” she accused. “Now look what I have to deal with!” Sissy just rolled her eyes at her sister’s fussiness.
“Mom, you know what we need?” Sissy said.
“A shopping spree paid for by someone else?” In my mind I was trying to come up with a compromise between all the free hand-me-downs I’d laundered and stored and Piper’s fashion demands.
“Rice krispie treats.”
“Okay. A break would be good.” We pulled on fall jackets and walked to the store for the essentials. Along the way Piper was a little chilled. Bare legs in brisk fall weather will do that to you.
We made the rice krispies. We ate the rice krispies. Piper told us that marshmallows are harvested from the clouds. Sissy said, “Boy is she going to be disappointed when she learns about the water cycle.”
With bellies full of rice krispies we went back to abandoned clothes piles. Piper was more agreeable. I was more patient. Piper picked one pair of hot pink blue jeans with an elastic waist. She picked long sleeve t-shirts and tights that she could wear with her tutus. I showed her how we could layer all of her favorite rainbow t-shirts over the turtlenecks. Then we went back to finish off the rice krispie pan.
“Mom, want to hear what I learned on the playground today?”
“Whatcha eatin’? Piece of chocolate. Where dya get it? Doggie dropped it. Get it? Get it?”
“Unfortunately, Piper. I do.”
Piper hears a lot of political talk in her average day. There is the election, of course. And we live in Washington, D.C. She’s also exposed to a wide range of opinions. The people in our house rarely agree on politics and it is always at the dinner table. Not surprisingly, Piper has come to her own conclusions about Baback Omama and McRomney, as she calls them, erroneous as they may be.
She didn’t watch the presidential debates, though. It was past her bedtime. But she did ask about their outcome. I don’t know that it matters whose team you’re on. A victor was declared. We delivered the honest truth.
“Oh no,” Piper said. She put her head down on the table in defeat. Then she popped back up. “Wait. If McRomney wins, does that mean we have to buy a bunch of guns?”
Piper does. She made a magic wand last week at Sunday School. It can do all the stuff a normal magic wand can do. Like make you happy. Poof. Like make your green beans disappear. Poof. Like clean up your room. Poof.
Piper believes in magic. Her wand can make all things possible.
“Magic’s not the hard part, Mom. The hard part is figuring out what to ask for.”
Piper’s daddy got a new toy. It’s the IPhone 5. He knows how to share his toys, though. He likes to pass down his used ones to those less fortunate. I’m not interested, which leaves Sissy and Piper to duke it out for tech sloppy seconds. No thanks.
Tech toys is where my partner and I diverge. I’m more old school. Grab a book and read it. Grab a stuffed animal and make up a game. Go play in a sand box. Use your imagination. My partner likes to download games and buy gadgets. He gets books on the IPad that read out loud to our kids. Boo. I like to cuddle up with a book and take turns reading books out loud together. Sissy and Piper do way better voices than that IPad version.
Tonight I found our luddite and high tech worlds colliding. Piper was playing with her stuffed animals as I’d suggested, but she made them do this:
Her stuffed animals are Skyping. The elephant is also multi tasking with her phone. And that pink fox should know better than putting his soda near the laptop. Liquids near the technology never ends well. Piper has learned that lesson the hard way.
“But if they’re so close together, why do they need to Skype?” I asked.
Piper rolled her eyes. “Duh. Because they can.”