Every now and then, in Patrick’s eyes, I’m not a sufficient parent. It could be he needs help with his clothes, or getting dried off after a bath, or just a band-aid, and he insists that Mom help him. If Mom’s available, everything’s fine. But sometimes, Mom’s busy.
In those cases, though it never works, I say in my falsetto voice, “Hi, I’m your mom. I have blonde hair and I’m a girl.” I then try to help him. As I said, this never works. Instead, it starts one or both kids on a project of cataloging all of the proof they can see that I’m not really their mother.
Sunday night, when we were at dinner, we had another one of these incidents. I can’t even remember what it was about, or why Molly was busy. We were all sitting around the table, and Patrick needed something, and he insisted Mom was the only person who could help, and Molly was there but busy, and even though it was hopeless, I said, “Hi, I’m your mom. I have blonde hair and I’m a girl.” And I tried to help.
“You don’t have curly hair!” exclaimed Alex.
“You don’t have abwainhose!” protested Patrick.
I should point out that Patrick’s articulation isn’t great. It’s even hard for us to understand him sometimes. But this one stumped us. Both Molly and I stared at Patrick. “What?” we asked, nearly in unison.
“Abwainhose!” Patrick said.
Molly & I stared at each other, dumbfounded. Was he trying to speak Chinese again?
“Can you say that again, Patrick?” I asked.
“A… bwain… hose!” he said, and pointed to Molly’s pony tail. There it was, a brain hose, coming out the back of her head! We have no idea where he got that expression, but it’s one we’ll never forget!