I was having a moment. Apparently I was being overly affectionate with the Quail. Setting my coffee down on the kitchen counter, I had reached for her as she danced into the room with her backpack in one hand, a baby doll in the other and her favorite owl shaped hat tucked over her freckled forehead. As I pulled her to me, she pushed herself back away.
“Stop kissing you?” I asked with a raised eyebrow, reaching again for my coffee mug.
“Ye-s. Tooooo much wet. No touch, Momma. No cake. Time out”
She doesn’t like to hug me post run or post shower. She’s made that clear in the last year. Certainly she doesn’t mind getting wet and splashing until there is more water passively cleaning our bathroom floor than there is left in the tub most nights. But heaven forbid I should have a drop on me when I come near her. Every morning that I’ve gone for a run this summer, I can typically find her either peeking out the back porch screen door looking for me or hiding behind the kitchen door ready to ask me if I was running. Each month as the heat index rose, I found the will to get myself out of bed before sunrise to run laps in my driveway. An easy enough feat once I realized my phone could still connect to our Netflix from the driveway and the vocal stylings of a Benedict Cumberbatch flick or the rumblings of the Braverman family could spur me on. I grew to love this time of day where I could wake up on my own and get a shot of adrenaline coursing through me before I had anyone asking anything of me. Then the girls began to notice that I was up and not telling them to do anything. The prior months of explicit instructions, threats, warnings and sticker charts instructing them to stay in bed until 6 a.m. came into a state of peril. They knew I was up, and even if I didn’t feel like parenting, they felt like kidding. And besides, I hadn’t cared when they joined me in a yoga or work-out video. Hadn’t I loved it when Zuzu would scream her motivations from behind me as I keeled over to the latest Jillian Michael’s work-out? Zuzu, who, over the summer had developed an affinity for athletic clothes started suddenly popping into my line of sight in neon pink from head to toe full of the day’s questions before I could pause my audio. Then the Quail started noticing that neither her sister nor I were in the house and started investigating. A time or two she even joined me, which as I started yet another lap would devolve into a flurry of complaints for me to stop. Come back. No momma. No run. Eat. Watch TV.
Not exactly the cause for a heart-rate increase I was waking early for. Eventually they started to realize it wasn’t as much fun to watch Mom run and talk at her as it was to attempt to confiscate the remote or My Little Pony dolls before her sister got to it. I tell ya, I’m not on my parenting game at 5:00 in the morning.
Impressed with the Quail’s calm and carefully worded explanation to me as to why I couldn’t kiss her this time I leaned down in front of her careful to not drip; “Ok- Abs- thanks for telling me.” I couldn’t help myself though from making my own pouty face at not having gotten my way or a kiss.
As she scooted around my bended knee she paused, leaned in, kissed me on the cheek and scurried off to begin her day.