“Mama, is dinner ready?” My little boy comes careening into the room with his socks as skates and his lunch box a rutter.
“Almost, lovey,” I say loudly over the Diego theme song. Diego is my son’s version of Sesame Street, and the theme song rings in my ears hours after its on, every night.
“Because I’m really really hungry,” he says, and zips away.
A few minutes, a ding and a sizzle and its ready.
“OK, dinner!” I shout, less because I need to, more because it makes me feel like a real mom.
He comes flying back in. My husband cracks a beer for himself and a Fresca for me, grabs the Good Seasons dressing. I fill up two plates with salad one with little strips of orange peppers, no seeds, no white showing, all facing the same direction. I pull a steaming hotdog out of the microwave and toss it into the freezer. This is the way my son needs to eat it. A hot then cold hotdog. He’s not OCD, he’s three, which is sometimes the same thing.
“Juice please” he sings, and pulls his mini table over to sit next to our big one.
We get started.
“How was school today, lovey?” I ask, and take a bite of my diet pizza, steaming hot but tiny. I cover it with the salad I made and look longlingly at my husband’s cheese tortellini covered in thick red sauce.
“OK,” says my son, and bops to the music. He goes to preschool, about 3 blocks from our house. He (and we) feel like it is real school so he seems less like a toddler and more like a kid. It confuses all of us a little bit.
“What did you do? Did you play with Sammy?” I ask and bop along with him.
“No, with myself,” he says, still bopping.
“Who did you play with today then?” I ask.
“Nobody!” he says. “Isabelle and David were playing soccer and basketball.”
“Oh, fun,” I say, “did you play with them?” My stomach is tight, but not from my cardboard pizza.
“No, they wouldn’t let me, they kept kicking the ball like this.” He gets up and shows us – he kicks the imaginary ball away from the table, away from the two of us.
“Away from you?” I ask.
“Yep,” he smiles and bites into a hot then cold hotdog. He bops again to the music.
“Did they let you play with them?” I asked, now desperate to not show my desperation, but wanting and needing to know.
“Nope,” he sings, and takes another bite.
“Juice Please!” he shouts, to hear his own voice.
I stand up and get it for him, swallowing the motherhood stuck in my throat like a piece of hot dog as I turn to the fridge.