Frankie can be such a wonderful helper to me. If she is in a sweet mood (which she is ninety nine percent of the time, but the one percent can be fireworks), she is just like a little mother. She takes such good care of Susannah and likes to play day care which involves completely blocking off the computer room with all the kitchen stools and requiring Susannah and Molly to sit at small desks and obey stringent coloring rules. She also loves to make meals. The other night my mom helped her make a frozen lasagna (aren't I a wonderful homemaker?) and a yogurt sauce to go on top of vanilla ice cream. She blended blueberries and banana and pomegranate kefir in the food processor and poured it proudly over our dishes of ice cream. Yogurt is frankly one thing I have to choke down. She loves when I give her permission to make a concoction in the kitchen. Sweet concoctions involve marshmallows and hot chocolate powder and cinnamon and other sundries. Savory concoctions are sometimes coleslaw with mayonnaise and hot sauce. She is torn between being a chef or a kindergarten teacher. I vote for the kindergarten teacher. There is no one who likes a better funny anecdote about a kid better than Frankie. Except, maybe, me. I only wish she'd been awake for Susannah's bedtime conversation. It went as follows:
Susannah: I read the book (wrestling it from my grasp). AUGH, I can't do it. Why I can't do it? I CAN'T READ! Hey, Mama, I got this yucky booger! Here! I gonna get this other booger out. AUGH! Snot is keeping it in my nose. I can't get it out. AUGH!
Me: (inwardly wondering how a master's degree got me to this point)
Susannah: We have BSF tomorrow?
Me: No, it's done. Did you like it? What did you learn?
Susannah: I learn NOTHING!
Me: You did, too. You had a story and singing every week. You know all your hymns. What were your stories about?
Susannah: I never had a story. NEVER EVER. NEVER.
Me: (both metaphorically and literally rolling my eyes) What did you learn about God?
Susannah: He up in heaven, high, high, high, up there on the wall.
Me: On the cross?
Susannah: No, right there (pointing to a spot on her pink wall).
Me: (inwardly wondering how faithfully bringing her to BSF each week has gotten us to this point)
Susannah: He's dead.
Susannah: God. He's dead.
Me: No, He's alive and we'll be with Him someday in heaven.
Susannah: NO, WE WILL NOT! HE'S DEAD! I gonna go tell Daddy I learn about Jesus and He up in heaven and He's dead.
This was an excruciatingly difficult conversation not to guffaw through. I patted myself on the back for being such an excellent mother and bringing the conversation around to faith truths no matter how many times she interrupted me to shout "HE'S DEAD!". Plus, the boogers. It's moments like these where you see all your hard work really pay off.
We also have obviously really succeeded in instilling the value of education, grit and self-reliance in our children. I overheard Molly have the following conversation with my mom:
Oma: What do you want to be when you grow up, Molly?
Molly: Oh, I'm not going to have a job or go to college.
Oma: You're not? How are you going to support yourself?
Molly: Oh, I think I'll sell paintings out of my house.
Oma: You will? Are you good at painting?
Molly: Not very. Mom is better.
Such drive and ambition. Our parenting has clearly waned with each child. We seem to be raising, in order of age, a productive teacher/chef, a lay-about welfare recipient, and a serial killer.