Mommy drove to daycare from downtown on a Friday. She heard an old Prince song that she loved. "Why do we scream at each other," sang Prince against a backdrop of electric guitars and synthesizers. At almost 6pm, this made Mommy think of the hours ahead of her. She was happy to be on her way to pick up the babies. Friday was Mommy's DAY TO GET THINGS DONE and get things done she had. After a productive day without them, she missed Lil Buddy and Sweet Potata and couldn't wait to squeeze their collective cheeks and hear about their day. She longed for Lil Buddy to hop up and down with sparkly excitement and tales of the day. She couldn't wait for Sweet Potata to wrap her tiny arms around her neck and say "Ahmmy! Ahgghi!"
But Daddy would be home late from work so it might be a rough two hours between now and bedtime. And sure enough, it was.
Lil Buddy and Sweet Potata had had a big dinner at daycare so mommy put out snacks: cheerios on a ribcage level plate for SP; applesauce on a higher table for LB. Mommy scanned the messy apartment and made mental checklists of the things that needed to get done before guests showed up for Sweet Potata's birthday party the next day. Clean living room, organize desk, mop dining room floor, make little sandwhiches.
In her anxious mental notetaking, Mommy did not notice the cheerios, which now covered the dining room floor. She also did not notice Lil Buddy, who was asking her for the third time, "Mommy, what station comes after Rockwell?"
All she noticed, as Lil Buddy got louder and more anxious himself, was Sweet Potata with her tiny fingers stuck in a dresser drawer. Sweet Potata let out a pain cry and Mommy went to pry her loose and comfort her. She was okay, just pinched at the tops of her little digits. Mommy held her and stroked her sweet, hairless head. And then she heard Lil Buddy
"Mommy!" he shouted, "What--Comes--After--Rock--Well?????"
"Not now, Lil Buddy," said Mommy. Lil Buddy let out a blood curdling yelp and kicked Mommy in the shins.
"Lil Buddy! Your sister is hurt! I need to comfort her."
Lil Buddy scratched Mommy's arms. "Stop it now!" said Mommy.
"You stop it!" he yelled.
"I guess you don't want to read books tonight?"
"Nooooooooo!" Another curdler and big semi-fake cry with seemingly real tears. This made Sweet Potata cry in fear. Lil Buddy ran to his room and slammed the door.
After she was able to calm Sweet Potata down and set her down in a bed of soft chewy toys, Mommy went to see about Lil Buddy. She sat on the side of his bed and he wrapped his arms around her neck, putting his wet face on her shoulder.
"Lil Buddy, look at me." Said Mommy. "in my eyes." Lil Buddy tried.
"Take a deep breath." he did so. Mommy hugged him.
"Francisco," said Mommy.
"What?" asked Lil Buddy.
"Francisco. That's what comes after Rockwell. If you're going toward Kimball." said Mommy, naming the train stations that Lil Buddy had quizzed her on. He was a public transit expert.
"But what if you are going to the Loop?" asked a tear-streaked Lil Buddy.
"Well, then I guess it's Western, isn't it?"
"Yes, very good!" Said Lil Buddy.
They had the usual conversation about why it wasn't okay to scratch, hit, or kick; and how Mommy and Daddy would not do that to Lil Buddy. They hugged. Everyone was calm.
"Let's have a bath, okay?" said Mommy. Lil Buddy nodded.
A small happy voice in the other room cried out, "Dahp dahp dahp! Ahdahhhh!" Mommy and Lil buddy laughed and went to see about Sweet potata.
Mommy thought of the old Prince song and she sighed. This is what it sounds like, she thought, When Doves Cry.