Standing in the hallway outside my daughter’s bedroom, I am
a spy in the house of love. I hear everything, I tell ya—every little word, every
giggle and every sniffle.
Years from now, I expect that this sort of behavior
will get me a stern lecture from a 9-year-old Violet, and I will probably
deserve it, OK?
But for now, it’s all good. In fact, it’s magical.
Violet, 4, and her little brother Henry, 2, are in her
bedroom gathered around her wooden play castle. Pride causes me to include this
tidbit, you see, because it is a fact I owe to my supreme spying skills. See, the door is half-closed, and I had to execute a
wickedly sly maneuver in order to poke my huge noodle around and in to see what
was going on in there without being
Anyway, here’s where I enter the conversation, at least so
much in that I’m eavesdropping in the true modern spy-daddy style.
Violet: Now, Henry, which dinosaur do you want to make your super delicious lunch for? The
red one or the purple one?
Henry: I wanna
make wunch for the gween one!
Henry! The green dinosaur is making sure that all of the food is in the kitchen
and so he is not one of the dinosaurs eating lunch, and I said you can make
delicious food lunches for either THIS dinosaur or THIS dinosaur!
(There is a moment of quiet here and it kills me not to peer
around the door again, but I can’t risk being caught! Henry is contemplating
his choices, I think. And I’d kill to see how that all looks…)
sistuh, I wanna make wunch for the red dragon!
Violet: OK, great! But it’s a dinosaur not a dragon, Henry! Remember that! Dragons are not
invited to the delicious dinosaur lunch restaurant.
Henry: Not a
Violet: Very good Henry! This is not a dragon! OK,
now: You hold the red dinosaur, and it’s
time to make lunch. What should we cook for the red dinosaur’s lunch, Henry?
missing a beat) I wanna cook hot dogs and chicken nuggets and watermelwon and
It just blows me away to stand in the hallway there, unbeknownst to these two kids of mine, and to bear audio witness to the two most important people in the history of my life.
Violet: Oh! OK!
Very good, Henry! I liiiiiiike those foods! Those are gooood dinosaur snacks that dinosaurs will eat and lick up off
of their plates and say, "YUMMMMMMMY, I LOVE YOGURT!"
Henry: (high on his
older sister’s approval) I WUV YOGUT!!!
(At this point it’s
worth noting that it just blows me away to stand in the hallway there,
unbeknownst to these two kids of mine, and to bear audio witness to the two
most important people in the history of my life. Two people who, for the
record, have mostly enjoyed tumultuous relations up until recently, with
hair-pulling and biting and chasing more common than playing together
peacefully. Which is exactly what is going down.)
Violet: Of course
you love yogurt, Henry! Yogurt is fruit and cold and it tastes like
strawberries and sometimes it tastes like blueberries!
sometimes yogut tastes like poop!
NAAWWWWWW! Henry! Yogurt doesn’t taste like poop you silly golden goose!
(They both erupt in serious laughter. It’s pretty magical, I
have to tell you. I sigh with how beautiful it all is. My two little babies are
finally playing together.)
(Also, I think I jinxed it.)
can I play with your dolphin?
Violet: No, Henry.
Her name is Skullprop and she doesn’t want to play with you.
(Uh-oh, silence: the weird, bad kind. I can sense a sudden struggle
through the door.)
Violet: NO, HENRY! Skullprop is not allowed to touch your
skin or she will be very very angry and melted!
(Just like that, the winds change direction. Ugh. Here it
comes. I expect someone will get slightly physical here in 3-2-1….)
you have to make a delicious dinosaur lunch and now you are standing on the
dinosaur and hurting him! MOVE!!!!
Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrargh! (My son growls for real, with
anger and frustration, and I know he is biting into his own forearm a little
like he does when he is a despondent baby
T-Rex, which is around three or four times a day.)
I hesitate. It was so awesome to hear them playing, and I
wait to hear if a miracle occurs and they get it going again, but no dice. So I kick the door further open and go in and settle things down. Everything is different now, though. I can
So I’ll be back to spy some more, probably as you’re
Hell, I waited a long time for two little kids who look like
me to start playing dinosaur diner on a bedroom floor, and it’s finally here.