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Out of Her Mouth

C (biting into a slice of apple the morning after a late night return from Kansas City): Daddy, I think this tooth might come out today.
D: Think so?
C: Uh huh.

Daddy thinks so, too, but that if it does, it will be the only good thing that comes out of her mouth all day. Lack of sleep usually does not make either twin more likely to use nice words, but especially not her. Daddy has braced for a constant stream of sassafras (and one wiggly tooth) coming out of that mouth.
Not so, not so. Oh, she’s definitely exhausted. Every time, but one, that Daddy puts her in her booster, she falls asleep within minutes, head lolling to one side or the other, Fisher jibber-jabbering next to her. (The one time that she stayed awake was intentional and by brute force, Daddy hoping that if she stayed awake this one last time, she might nap for reals at home. The brute force is delivered via car dance party. The windows are down. The sun is shining. The volume is up, all three showing some serious moves to nearby drivers, first sassy moves to “Lips Are Movin’”, then head-banging ones to Green Day’s “Holiday.” Daddy’s head banging at the stop light cracks them thoroughly up, both nearby drivers as well as the twins.)

The evening adventure is making good on last year’s promise not to forget presents for each other this year. (Daddy reminds them.) The babysitter watches Cory, while space cadet Fisher stumbles through the aisles, eventually settling on something Doc McStuffins related “because Cory will that, Daddy. She doesn’t have any Doc McStuffins stuff.” Yes, she does, but why quibble.

Daddy takes him back home for the switch and heads back out with Cory.

C (holding Daddy’s hand through the parking lot toward the store): Sometimes Fisher and I only fight a lot because we are just mad or tired or have sassafras, but he’s my brother. He’s my sweet brother. Daddy, I am having hard times thinking of what to get my Fisher for a present because my brain keeps thinking of what Fisher got for me. I wonder what he got for me… (No response from Daddy.) That’s what I keep thinking of, but I am going to try to think about what will make Fisher Bug say, “Oh! Thanks, Cory!” He’s going to smile, I think, when he opens that present. We buckle sometimes…
D (getting a word in): …bickER…
C: …yah, we bicker sometimes, but that’s just because we are tired or he pinches me or I have sassafras or something, but we just love each other. He likes to say that he’s older than me, but he’s not really older than me. Nine minutes isn’t like a day or a year or a month or something. It’s just nine minutes. So…and, I just love my Fisher Bug so much. He’s a sweetie brother. You know, he always helps me buckle my seat belt because that’s hard for me. But, it’s not as hard for him because he has stronger fingers. I have longer legs than Fisher does, and I can run faster than Fisher. But, he can do a buckle better, right, Daddy? (No response from Daddy.) I wonder what I should get for my Fisher Bug…

She delivers nonstop commentary through the store to the toy aisles, and, whether explained by extreme (rather than run-of-the-mill) exhaustion or by the holiday spirit, not a word of it is sassafras.

The wiggly tooth withstands all the sweet chatter, unwilling to leave Cory’s mouth just yet.

Three out of Four

An overly energetic flight attendant, Santa hat and all, stops by to comment, “Three out of four ain’t bad!”

Papa had just fallen asleep, unaware that the airline is losing the biggest bag. Cory has long been out, head on Daddy’s lap, legs painfully curled up on her seat, later to comment that she has grown “too big for sleeping on that plane anymore. It’s not comfortable.” Fisher lasted longer, watching episodes of the old “Wonder Woman” television show on his Kindle.

Earlier fog in San Francisco had delayed the flight. Faced with four hours in the airport, and it being the Kansas City airport, with its one staff member, its two other patrons, and its half a bar, Papa decides to rent a car. Everyone piles in to a two-door Mustang, some sort of joke by the rental car agent, for an adventure.

F (tired, on the way to the nearest movie theater): Daddy, are we in California?
D: No, Fisher. We haven’t gotten on the plane yet. We’re still in Kansas City.
F: Oh. I thought we were in California because er, uh, eh I miss Uncle Timothy and Aunt Therese and Stevie dog. (Baby voice.) She’s such a cutie dog. (Pause.) Daddy, can we go back to Kansas City?
D: Yes, Fisher. But, we are still in Kansas City right now.
F: Oh, yah. I have a lot of fun at Kansas City, right, Daddy?
D: Right.

Popcorn during “Big Hero Six.” Chips and beans at a local restaurant. A Mustang ride back. A 10:30 takeoff. Two hours into a three-hour flight. Faint snoring all around. Energetic whispers in the dark from Santa’s elf, working the aisle.

“Djinn.” Good Scrabble word, just before the batteries die.

Magic in That Old Silk Hat

The project after the snowball fight has a modest beginning: build Olaf.

But, once Fisher starts rolling snow, it’s on. Two large boulders later, Olaf sacrifices his own head so that his body can become Frosty’s noggin. A carrot from the vegetable drawer, charcoal from the barbecue pit, a hat and scarf from Aunt Therese’s bag of extras, black rocks from under the backyard snow, and many, many cosmetic adjustments later, a snowman “as big as Daddy” makes passing neighbors smile.

C (patting white snow over dirty brown patches): This is super fun!
D: It *is* fun.
C: Did you make a snowman this big when you were a kid?
D: I don’t remember ever making any snowman, Cory, but especially not one this big.

Pause.

F (bringing more “white paint” over): Daddy, I hope I am not dreaming…(plastering it on Frosty’s side)…I really hope I am not dreaming, because I am having so much fun right now.

Daddy watches him. Everyone pats more snow on. Daddy sings quietly, “There must have been some magic in that old silk hat they found…for when they placed it on his head, he began to dance around…”

They join in for the chorus.

Three Inches Deep

Two California kids went to bed in Kansas City with grass on the ground and a few flurries in the forecast. Flakes accumulated quietly on the rooftop just outside the window over their sleeping heads.

F: Look, Cory! Snow!
C (running to the other window): It snowed over here, too!

Sometimes heaven is just three inches deep.