Today is Kallan’s birthday.
Yesterday was the day before Kallan’s birthday, and because I have become the woman who waits until the very last minute to do things? I had to go shopping for Kallan’s birthday presents. Maj decides she wants to come along to offer assistance.
I know Maj loves her sister, but I also know that she wants to be sure that I don’t go all crazy and buy Kallan too many gifts. Maj has resigned herself to the fact that I love her younger sister more, but she draws the line at having that greater love demonstrated with greater gifts. Maj knows the truth, but she wants it to appear as though I love them equally.
Maj drives me crazy.
Consider this . . .
We are walking the other day, and I dig in my purse for a mint. I find two and pop one in my mouth. Which leaves me with one. Kallan is standing next to me at that moment and when she asks me for the last mint, I hand it to her without thinking about it.
Maj is right there, “Can I have a mint?”
I dig around in my purse, but come up empty-handed, “Sorry, babe. That was the last one.”
“Are you kidding me? Why did she get it?”
“It was a tiny mint. She asked me for it. Sorry.”
Maj is incredulous, “You are sorry? I have nothing, and you are sorry?”
“I didn’t realize it was going to be a big deal.”
“Mother, Kallan has been a huge whiny baby today (Kallan squeals in whiny baby protest at this bit of news), and if anyone is going to get the last mint? It should be me.”
“Maj, I am sorry. I can’t really fix it. Can we please just move on?”
Maj does not move on, “So that’s how it works, I guess. Kallan is all whiny and then she gets what she wants. OK, well that is just perfect, Mother. Just perfect.”
I am exasperated, “If that was how it worked, Maj? If I really rewarded my children every time they whined? Then your room, Maj? It would be filled with treasure.”
Kallan snorts, “Good one, Mom!”
She turns to Maj, “Get it, Maj? Because you whine a lot, and so your room would be all crowded with treasure.”
Maj is all spitty with anger, “Get away from me with your disgusting minty-fresh breath.”
So Maj is going to help me go birthday shopping for Kallan.
We are about to leave.
I am sorting through my purse, trying to figure out why it weighs approximately 37 pounds. What the fuck is in here? Maj grows impatient and tells me she is going to run out and check the mail. Fine.
I stand and watch out the front window as she heads to the end of the driveway, gets the mail, and then heads back. She is about halfway up the driveway when she is attacked.
Did you ever see those Peter Sellers movies? The Pink Panther series? Man, I loved those when I was a kid. Remember Cato? The guy who popped out of nowhere to attack Inspector Clouseau in order to keep him ready for anything? The guy who was supposed to ambush Clouseau when he “least expected” it?
Kallan is Cato to Maj’s bumbling Inspector Clouseau.
Kallan just springs out from behind the car and throws herself at Maj. Like a fucking mountain lion ninja warrior. She is all over Maj, and Maj is screaming in terror. Kallan hits and kicks and rips at the mail Maj is holding and then? Just as suddenly as she appears, Kallan/Cato is gone. And so is the mail.
Maj is not gone. Maj is right in my face screaming about how Kallan has tried to kill her. Those are the actual words she uses.
“KALLAN IS INSANE! SHE TRIED TO KILL ME! MOTHER! SHE TRIED TO KILL ME!”
I am furious with Kallan, who is standing in the garage all innocently. She has no idea that I was watching the whole thing through the window. The mail? Is piled sweetly on the garage counter.
“Ummmm . . . Kallan?”
“I want to just skip the part where you lie and deny and scream about how I never listen to you.”
Kallan is all wide-eyed innocence . . . What is Mother talking about?
I continue, “Yes, let’s just skip right to the part where you consider the fact that I am about to take your sister with me to the mall to pick out your birthday presents. The same sister you just attacked in the driveway.”
Kallan’s eyes fill with horror as she realizes what she has done.
I keep talking, “That sister? She is in the house crying because she says you tried to kill her. Hmmmmmm . . . I wonder how sad your birthday party is going to be if I let Maj decide what you get for your birthday?”
And Kallan is off and running and offering crocodile tears and overly heartfelt apologies to Maj, who is having none of it.
I send Kallan to her room.
Leave instructions with Mark that she is to stay there for a half hour. Mark is all clueless even though he has been standing in the middle of everything, “Kallan is in trouble?”
And then Maj and I head off to the mall.
I cannot even remember the last time I had that much fun shopping.
If it was up to Maj? Kallan would be getting nothing.
Kallan needs to learn a lesson, apparently.
Maj watches me buy a bicycle for the favorite child with angry judgmental eyes. She does not speak, but I can hear her thoughts as we wheel the bike to the car.
Seriously, Mother? She tries to kill me and we reward her with a bike? I am going to have to live my whole life in fear now. That is just perfect, Mother. Just perfect.
She is all silent and ragey as we drive home.
Happy birthday, Cato!