I’ve come to the conclusion that reincarnation is a fact. It has to be. There is simply no other explanation for the two year old that lives in our house. There is no way that this child isn’t fresh off a past life that included a stint in some kind of correctional facility…or a long career in the navy. There must be some explanation for her alarming combination of salty mouth and street smarts.
Two weekends ago, Kate tripped in the basement and hit her face on a barbell. Both of her front teeth both broke and she needed to be rushed into town for an emergency visit to the dentist. A half hour after she’d broken her two front teeth, she spit out some blood and wiped her swollen lip with the back of her hand. “I feel bettew, Mommy!” Strapped into her car seat and waiting to drive off to her first dentist visit, she looked like she just came off a month-long bender, all bloody and swollen, hair unkempt and wearing remnants of her breakfast on her dress. It was so disturbing that once we knew she was okay, we laughed. The image of Brad Pitt in Fight Club – post knock-down-drag-out – flashed through my mind.
Yesterday morning I was putting the finishing touches on the spackle that conceals my dark under-eye circles when Gwen began screaming at me from downstairs.
“Mom, Kate just stabbed me with a knife!”
I stared at myself in the mirror and whispered, “Are you fucking kidding me?” After taking 1.26 nanoseconds to digest the horror of what I’d just been told, I ran from the bathroom, down the stairs and into the kitchen. (By the way, it’s really amazing how quickly the human mind is able to construct an epic-length scenario filled with blood and mayhem.) As I neared the kitchen, I had already imagined Kate grasping one of my super sharp chef knives, dripping with blood and reflecting one quick blinding glint of silvery light. Gwen would be staggering around the kitchen pressing her hand to the wound and wheezing, Why? Why?
In a nutshell, I was freaking out and my imagination lent my blood and guts scenario a spaghetti western kind of vibe…which is weird. (*Note to self: Discuss with therapist.)
In reality, I sprinted into the kitchen and saw Kate holding one of her dull Gerber toddler knives. No blood, no guts, and no kid staggering around the room in leather chaps and a Stetson. Gwen saw my face relax and decided that was NOT the reaction she was looking for.
“Mom, Kate stabbed me with that knife on my arm like this,” she said, demonstrating a sawing motion against her bicep.
“Gwen, that’s ridiculous,” I stated, “First of all, that isn’t a stab that’s a cut. Secondly, this knife can barely cut through a piece of Play-Doh.” I turned and whisked the knife out of Kate’s hand. “Kate, we don’t play with knives. Ever.” She angrily crossed her arms and shouted her latest mantra, “I hate it! Never! Never Ever EVER!”
“Katie, that makes no sense and knives are dangerous. Very dangerous.”
“You an ahhhshole, mommy,” she called over her shoulder as she left the kitchen.
“What did you say?”
She stopped and turned. “I do love you, mommy,” she assured me, “I do.”
I stood in the kitchen holding the tiny knife – the one Kate had just tried to shank her sister with -and digested the fact that my two year old just calmly announced that, despite my being a complete asshole, she loves me anyway.
I put the incident out of my mind. I even had a good chuckle after we dropped Gwen off at preschool and got stuck behind a dump truck that was spewing a cloud of black exhaust into the air. For approximately one mile, Kate called that hard working construction vehicle a “smelly cock”.
“Say truck, Kate,” I tried, “Teh…Teh..TRR-uck.”
Last night, Dave and I talked about these things after we’d tucked the kids into bed and said our goodnights. We were making our way down the stairs when Gwen called, “Goodnight! Don’t let the bedbugs bite!”
“Stop it, Gen…I gonna kill you,” Kate growled.
I turned to Dave and said, “I hope she didn’t stash that shank under her mattress.”