Mom, they’re staring at me.
Muffled word as I stare blearily into the toaster mirror. Hard to believe anything can stare this early in the morning. Before the coffee percolates.
They’re staring at me. She huffs and puffs the words out.
Them. She points down.
I look at her finger. I see only eggs on a goofy blue plate.
She insists on eating her meals from that plate.
All of them.
See? She puts her tiny hands on her non-existent hips and frowns. Pouts. Sighs deeply, aggrieved.
See what? I can’t see anything before the sun rises. Before the life-giving caffeine flows through my system. See what?
See? They’re staring at me. Another huge sigh threatens to engulf her little 5-year-old body.
There’s nothing staring at you. I try to reason. After all, she’s a smart little thing. Always pointing life’s inconsistencies out to me.
Like her having to take a nap when I’m the one who’s tired.
Sugar cereal is bad for kids but not for moms.
Getting wet in the rain is bad but taking showers is healthy.
Right. Reason and 5-year-old. Not the best of friends.
Moooohhmm. I blink – did I miss something? She sounded like her 16-year-old sister just then.
Now she drops her head a bit, look at me out of her lashes, and gives me that familiar, “what can you do with old people?’ look.
They. Are. Staring. At. Me. With. Their. Big. Yellow. Eyes.
Finally. Clarity. The eggs are staring at her.
My eggs are …
I heard you.
How do you reason with that?
If you eat them, they won’t stare at you.
I can’t eat them while they’re staring at me.
Close your eyes while you eat them.
Not again. I look around – is that teenager here somewhere, using her little sister as a ventriloquist’s dummy?
A honk outside. Her ride is here.
Up she jumps, saved from the nasty yellow eyes.
But what about breakfast … my words trail off as she grabs a power bar from her sister’s bottom-drawer stash.
Bye, mommy. Love you.
Blowing kisses. Slamming door. My little girl is gone.
Coffee. I need coffee. I sit heavily on the chair. Another morning melee survived.
… … . .
Tomorrow, she gets scrambled eggs.