The Little Miss cries and screams and weeps and wails if ever I leave the room or close a door between us or put her down or walk past her. But if I pick her up or wear her in the carrier, she pinches and scratches and pokes my neck and chest until it is striped with her “love.” Just got to make sure I’m still here, I guess. Just needs to be sure that I’m not just a dream.

Manchild peppers me with questions, reminds me of days and events gone by, begs to play games, wonders when we’re going to do that one thing that he really wants to do. And if I continue to answer his questions, he’ll continue to ask them. We’ll go in circles all day if he wants to.

And then there is Squish. The middle child. Squish, who tries so hard to love on his little sister but only manages to make her cry. Squish, who wants to keep up with his big brother but usually ends up knocked on the ground, having bonked his head or fallen off the couch or tripped on his own feet.

He demands my attention too, of course. He is the one who persists in helping me in the kitchen, who hangs around until I relent with my line that the most helpful thing he can do is go play in the other room. He’ll drag in a chair push it around to see what I’m doing until I finally give him the teaspoon and let him scoop the baking powder himself.

Still, he’s easy to overlook at this stage in our life. It’s easy to say that I need to take care of his sister right now, or to laugh at his jokes without actually hearing them. It’s easy to be impatient with him for not doing the things that I know he can do by himself but doesn’t – because he wants my help with them.

Maybe that’s why he’s been crying for us at night, when the other two are asleep, begging for us to put his blanket back on him. Maybe that’s the only time he has our undivided attention. photo copy 23

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