As I write this he serenades me with an electronic piano that Grandma got the boys. He plays it with his feet.
Over the past week or so he has been very forthcoming with the fashion and personal care advice. He started by offering suggestions about the size of my bust. He's also has some very keen advice about the condition of my skin. He insists on having long conversations about what I'm wearing and why, in addition to make-up tips.
His current fixation is on the underwires in my bra (which he refers to as a "brav"). Every morning he says, "Dat you brav? Why you wear dat?"
"Because girls wear bras when they go out of the house."
"Uh... well, because... uh, that's what they do."
"It's a common practice in our Western culture that women wear bras because it's more socially appropriate although some feminists feel that it represses women." I paused and glanced carefully over at him hoping that would be a conversation stopper.
"You take it off."
"No, definitely not."
"Well, sometimes women also wear bras for the safety and welfare of their community. It's just better this way. Trust me."
"Okay."I rarely wear dresses. Last Sunday I was invited to attend church by a friend and broke out the one trusty dress I feel comfortable wearing. This sent Tristan into a tailspin. He followed me around the house quizzing me.
"It's a dress."
"You wear dat dress?"
"Mmmhmm."He then proceeds to crawl under the dress and look around and just generally hang out there like he's in a tent at the side of Walden Pond contemplating whatever it is that breast-fixated toddler vegetarians contemplate.
After an exhausting conversation about why I suddenly need to wear a dress when all his life I've only been wearing pants, we move on to the subject of makeup which I also rarely wear.
"Wass dat on you eyes?"
"Why you put dat on you eyes?"
"Because it makes Mommy's eyes look pretty. Does it make my eyes look pretty?"
"Oh. Well... I think it does. It makes my lashes looking longer and fuller. Most people think longer, fuller lashes are attractive."
"Because television tells them it's better. Except even if I didn't watch TV I would think it looked better."
"You put dat on you eyewashes?"
"Dat make you eyes look pretty?"
"Yeah, that's the whole idea."
"Oh Tristan. Just because. Just, well, just because. Why don't you go see Daddy for a minute?"
"Because Mommy's brain is tired."
"Oh. Why come you brain is tired?"That went on for about another half hour with me hinting at various compelling reasons why he should go somewhere else in the house and talk to someone else for a while. Finally he went off to see Julius and they promptly got into a shoving and screaming match and came running to me crying about how unfairly they both are treated by the other.
I pointed to something over their heads and yelled, "OH MY GOSH!" and when they turned I shut the bathroom door and locked it, slid down the wall and pulled my knees up to my chest and contemplated how much I need a pedicure while the two of them threw themselves at the door screaming, "MOM LET US IN, LET US IN!" Two brothers united in a common cause.
On the other side of the bathroom I spied a magazine I hadn't yet read and scooted over to it, thumbing leisurely through the pages. The door bowed ominously. The door latch rattled angrily. I could sense a 37-pound toddler hanging off of it like the monkey bars. I wondered how long it would hold and if it would come apart before their dad realized that I was trapped in the castle with raging Attila the Hun and Mini-Hun threatening to break through the stronghold.
I flipped passed an article about how I should walk more (because who needs to be reminded of that when the barbarians are at the gate?) and settled on an article about how I could have dazzling eyes like the movie stars.
Suddenly on the other side of the door I hear their father bellow at them to stop hanging on the door and wait for me to get out. They whine, but scatter to various corners of the house and I hear him walk up to the door and say, "You okay in there?"
"Just fine," I say, peering closer to see how in the world they do that eyeliner magic.
I grin and turn another page.