I scoop two bowls of oatmeal.
Old-fashioned, steel-cut, simmer-on-the-top-of-the-stove-for-20-minutes oatmeal.
Maj loves the stuff.
Kallan does not love the stuff, but she has asked to have some.
This request has totally chapped Maj’s ass.
“All she wants is Brown Boy! Can’t you see, Mother? She is using the oatmeal as a Brown-Boy Trojan Horse!”
I stare at Maj, “OK, first of all? High-fives on the Trojan Horse reference.”
Maj reaches to slap my hand, “Thank you, Mother.”
“And second of all? Who the heck is Brown Boy and how is the oatmeal disguising his attack?”
Maj cannot believe I don’t know this, “Brown Boy is the brown sugar, Mother. Duh. Kallan just wants to smother her oatmeal with Brown Boy, and then she will not eat the oatmeal at all.”
Kallan is outraged, “Whatever are you talking about? I adore oatmeal!”
“OK, listen. Each of you take a spoonful of brown sugar, and we’re all set. If Kallan doesn’t eat the oatmeal, she won’t ever get it again.”
Maj is annoyed, “No, we are NOT all set. Kallan has a tiny bit of oatmeal and I have a huge serving. I need more Brown Boy than she does.”
Kallan scoops herself a huge heaping teaspoon of brown sugar, “Maj, could you stop calling the sugar Brown Boy? You are freaking me out.”
Maj yanks the brown sugar container toward her bowl, “No. He is Brown Boy and I love him. I will call him by his proper name, thank you very much.” She scoops two huge teaspoons of brown sugar onto her cereal, “There.”
What the fuck?
“Kallan, if that scream was because of sugar scoopage, you are in some deep brown substance trouble.”
Kallan lunges for the sugar container and scoops more sugar onto her oatmeal.
Maj this time.
What the fuck?
“Maj, are you kidding me? You are screaming about sugar as well? Deep brown substance trouble for you as well, my friend.”
Both girls ignore me.
Kallan you cannot have any more sugar Maj you need to stop acting like Brown Boy is a person Kallan I am not acting like Brown Boy is a person but YOU need to respect his sugary sweetness Maj you are insane and possibly a sugar butthead yes well Kallan if I am a sugar butthead then I will butt you right in the face and the taste will be Brown Boy sweet Mom Maj just threatened to butt me in the face Mother Kallan is abusing the privilege of the Brown Boy!
What . . . the . . . fuck?
I open the front door, “Out. Both of you. Pick up your cereal bowls and walk out the door.”
They both gape at me.
I gesture with my arm, “I am not kidding. You can continue this discussion out on the front porch.”
Kallan walks past me and out onto the porch, “A proud mommage moment for you, Mom.”
Maj stops to glare at me, “Really, Mother? You are going to make us sit out there all alone like homeless gruel-eating beggars?”
I usher Maj past me, “You won’t be alone, Maj. You’ll have Brown Boy!”
I shut and lock the door.
The doorbell rings. I open it, “Yes?”
“Kallan is trying to throw dirt in my oatmeal.”
Kallan pipes up, “Newsflash! Maj is the biggest sugar-butthead liar to ever roam the earth.”
“Oh my god, I am just so tired of the two of you and your bickering! I am shutting the door. Do not ring this doorbell again until you are ready to play the part of door-to-door salesmen whose only offerings are apologies.”
“Mother, that makes no . . .”
Several minutes pass, and then the doorbell rings again.
Both girls are sheepish, and Kallan speaks, “We’re sorry. We know how to eat oatmeal without fighting. We’re not supposed to scream and fight about dumb stuff like sugar.”
Maj interjects, “Yes, Brown Boy would not want us to fight.”
Kallan looks at her sister incredulously, “Yeah . . . OK . . . whatever.”
Maj apologizes as well, “You have perhaps mentioned a few times that we need to stop overreacting to small problems. Although I would like to say that in the heat of the moment, the Brown Boy misdeeds did seem quite large.”
Kallan turns to her sister, “Would you quit it with Brown Boy? That is so odd. Just stop it.”
“Awwww . . . does it bother you, Baby K?”
“It doesn’t bother me. You just sound insane.”
“Brown Boy and I are unconcerned with sanity.”
Kallan turns to me with pleading hands and whispers dramatically, “Help me!”
I laugh and wave them into the house, “Come on, ladies.”
A few minutes later, I try again, “Here’s the deal. I want to stop having to say the same things over and over again. I want my moments of parenting brilliance to apply like paint. YES! I want my wisdom to cover like paint . . . once I say something, I want it to cover more than just that moment. I WANT ONE-COAT COVERAGE!”
Maj smiles, “Did you just make that up? That’s pretty good! One-Coat Coverage. Good one, Mother!”
Kallan agrees, “That is a good one. High-fives on the parenting brilliance, Mom!”
I stare at them, “I am going to have to explain about my desire for One-Coat Coverage about a zillion more times, aren’t I?”
Maj nods, “At least.”
Kallan agrees, “Definitely.”