Thursday, August 6, 2009

Velcro children

I am appalled at the state of my fingernails. I spent the morning weeding my friend Cam's landscaping and the dirt is so heavily encrusted it is going to take a chisel to chip it out.

Cam and I learned a few years ago that any task is much less odious when you do it with someone else. So we hired Gabi, a nine-year-old girl from our church who is homeschooled, to occupy Frankie and Andrew while we worked on various chores around our houses. We alternated weeks and whoever was hosting got to choose the jobs we would work on. I, of course, promptly put her to work scrubbing my toilet grout with a toothbrush, but Cam sometimes actually used her hours to do things like try on every item in her closet and have me critique it. I sat on her bed as she came out in various ensembles and shouted things like "OH NO YOU DIDN'T! You did NOT just put that jean skirt with that tank top!".

We took a little break when I was pregnant with Molly and Molly was a newborn, but now we have resumed. Frankie was the same age as Molly when we started doing this and I remember that Gabi could not, no matter how much she cajoled, no matter how many cookies she brandished, convince her to get off my hip and come play. I have a distinct memory of Windexing Cam's chandelier while balancing precariously on a stepladder with Frankie in one hand and a rag in another. Now, it is Molly's turn to insist on being within touching distance of me at all times. If Gabi so much as looks her direction, Molly fixes her with her most menacing stare and leans into me like, don't you even think about it, sister.

I don't know how I raise such clingy children. I try to pry them off me. I really do. But somehow I always end up like I did today, nursing a toddler in one arm and pulling crabgrass with the other.

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