I love the rain. I love the smell and sound it makes on my roof. I could stand by a window and watch it all day long and just daydream. At 34 weeks pregnant, my current daydream is simply my husband pushes this baby outta my body, takes me to a beach, and hands me a margarita! But that was far from my mind today. Today I was thinking about the spoons.
The day had finally come to confront the utensil mastermind. I was ready. Ready to put this all behind me and regain control of my silverware drawer once again. I had answered the who…now it was time to find out the why. So I continued staring out the window, waiting for my assailant to find me. It didn’t take long before I saw her reflection in the window.
“Hello Mother. I tot I might find you here.”
2-year-old Laurie stood in her doorway. She held a pink Minnie Mouse sippy cup in one hand and in the other hand a long silver spoon.
“Miss Laurie. Is there something you need to tell me? ”
“I don’t tink there’s much to say, Mommy. Why don’t you tell me how you fingered out it was me?”
I hesitated, but then it all came pouring out. “It took some time, but eventually I put all the clues together. I knew it couldn’t be Tommy because if he’d been playing with spoons, they would have been in the dirt pile out back. Not on his desk. And I knew it wasn’t your father because he’s a neat freak and can’t bear the thought of something being out-of-place. You almost had me when I found the spoon in the dog’s bed. I thought perhaps he was jealous of our ability to use cutlery and wanted to seek revenge. But then I remembered, the dog is stupid. I looked at outside suspects; Hoying, Grandma, even Pastor Nick. I never suspected it could be my sweet little girl.”
She crossed the room and picked up her Fur Real Friend white kitty cat while I spoke. I never took my eyes off of her. She was a slippery one. Too cunning for two. While she brushed the cat’s fur with a small purple comb I continued.
“Eventually, I put all the evidence in front of me and stared until my eyes about popped out. I knew I had to look at the case from a different angle. And that’s when it hit me. That’s when I figured what everything had in common. The spoons were all found on or near the floor. Nothing was ever found in any place higher than my knee. And who’s about as high as my knee?”
Her expression never changed and her eyes never left mine. It was obvious she’d been practicing the staring game with her brother. “That means nothing. It could have been a lepwechaun or a fairwee or a twoll. How did you know it was me?”
“Because of this!”
Just as I suspected…she couldn’t even look at the picture.
“You must have forgotten that I do the laundry in this house. Did you just think it was magically placed in your drawer every day? Well, it’s not! I separate it! I apply the stain remover to the spaghetti on your white t-shirts! I toss it in the washer, then the dryer, then the laundry basket! I fold it! And I damn well put it away!”
I turned back to face the rain. “Imagine my surprise when I came in here to put your princess jammies away and found my spoons. My precious precious spoons.” When I looked back at Laurie, she had tears in her eyes. “So that’s how. Now tell me why, Laurie. Why did you take my spoons?”
The tears in her eyes had surprised me, but not as much as the anger that suddenly washed over her face. “Why? Why, you ask! Isn’t it obvious? Every beckfest, yunch, and dinner you and Daddy and Tommy get to use the big spoons. It takes you just a yittle bit of time to eat your Cheerio’s or ice cweem or peas. But I have to use the baby spoons! You ever twy to eat peas wit a baby spoon?!?! It takes me yike 10 minutes just to get them to stay on the spoon. And I have to eat them one damn pea at a time! It’s agonizing! But you! You can fit pobaby 7 or 8 peas on a big spoon!”
She began tugging on the ends of her hair, her face was flushed and red with anger. I knew her hissy fit wasn’t over just yet, “So finawee I had enough. Wemember when you made homemade icecweem? Everyone got a big spoon, but not me. You all yaffed at me cause evy time I twied to take a bite, the icecweem would slide off my stupid patetic baby spoon. I got maybe 3 bites of icecweem before you said, ‘That’s enough. Time for a baff, Miss Yaurie.’ It wasn’t my fault. Do you hear me, Mommy? IT WASN’T MY FAULT! THE SPOON WAS TOO SMALL! So that night I decided if I couldn’t eat with a big spoon, then nobody would.”
Part of me felt bad for her. She was just a little girl with a little mouth in a big world full of big spoons. One day her mouth would adjust, but not today. We both knew it, but neither of us would say it.
“Laurie, I’m sorry. I didn’t…”
“SHUT UP, MOTHER! JUST SHUT UP YOUR BIG MOUTH!”
And then it happened. She lunged at me like a spider monkey in a Jet Li movie! Her chubby little legs tightly wrapped around my body and her chubby little fists starting beating my chest. I was momentarily stunned! The only time I’d ever seen her move that fast is when she stole a piece of chocolate from her brother on Valentine’s day. While we jostled about the room she screamed and spat, “MY SPOONS! MY SPOONS! MY SPOOOOOOOOOOOONS!”
I tried with all my might to pull her off of me, but she has some incredible lower body strength for a two-year-old. My only option was to try to beat the hell out of her, but how could I do that without hurting myself or my unborn child? I pulled her hair, but she just grabbed mine and yanked harder. I decided to pull some old-school moves and boxed her ears. It worked! She lost her monster grip around my waist and fell to the floor, but before I could pull any other stunts I learned from the 3 Stooges, she ricocheted off the wall and round-house kicked me in the jaw.
“OW! WHAT THE HELL, LAURIE!”
“Kung Fu Panda. The t.v. show. Not the movie. Guess you should have played more puzzles with me and let me spend less time in font of the t.v.”
Damn, she had a point. But while she was talking something bumped my hand. It was exactly what I needed. This time, when she came running at me full force, instead of attacking her, I wrapped her in a hug, grabbed the sippy cup that had bumped my hand and shoved it in her mouth.
I could see the fear in her eyes as I whispered, “It’s okay, sweetie. Drink your milk. Everything will be okay.” She was no match for the power of calming words and a cup of nice warm milk. The fear slowly turned in to trust and the trust in to love. It was over. I grabbed her blankey and we snuggled on the bed.
“If you want to use regular spoons, you can.” I whispered.
She pulled the cup from her mouth and smiled, “Tank you, Mommy. You the best.”
She fell asleep in my arms, and I wriggled my way out. I figured the whole round-house kick thing was probably cause she needed a nap. This wasn’t our first nap-time battle. I put a bag of peas on my face and waited for Steven to come home. He was going to be so excited.
As soon as he walked in the door, he asked, “Oh my God. What happened to you?”
“It’s over, honey. You no longer have to worry about the spoons. It’s over. ”
He put his lunch pail down, “This is all about those stupid spoons?! Christ, Rachel. Sometimes I wonder what goes on with you while I’m at work. Are you crazy?”
I could only smile. Maybe I was a little crazy. Maybe I took things a bit too far. But I knew one thing. Tonight, I was going to have a big ol’ bowl of Cocoa Puffs, and I was going to eat them with a clean spoon.