Monday, February 3, 2014

A conversation between sisters, in the wee hours of the night

As I walked in from my movie date in the neighborhood with a friend (“12 Years a Slave” - wow!), I heard Pickle fussing on the monitor and found her sitting up, facing her pillow and crying. When asked what the matter was, she waved her hand at me, saying, “I don’t like this! I don’t like this!”

Upon closer inspection in the shadow of the night light, I saw the problem: there was a transparent rubber band wound really tight around her pinky, cutting off the circulation to her finger and making it swell twice its size. Oh no!

After much agitation, she let me free her pinky from the rubber band, and when My Guy joined us, she asked us both to stay, apparently shaken by the ordeal, and we did, flanking her sides in bed. I couldn’t believe she had been asleep with a painful, swollen finger! My Guy, perhaps in his way to calm her nerves, explained blood circulation and what happens when it’s constricted.

Our grey cat, Macavity, ever the curious one, came to inspect the commotion, walking towards her on her chest, sniffing at her tear-streaked face. “Look, Mac is concerned too, Pickle. He’s here to see how you’re doing,” I said and she explained to him, her voice a little shaky: “Mackie, sometimes I get hurt, and I get weally sad, so I cwy (cry)…”

The poor girl. After a few more minutes - “five minutes?” at her request - she dismissed us from the room, “okay, I need to sleep now.”

And that she did, until a little later that night, when another sound from the monitor woke me abruptly from my sleep. This time, I heard someone say, “go potty” but in my fogginess, couldn’t make out the rest. I eventually realized Pickle had needed to use the bathroom and asked for her sister’s help.

I heard the toilet flush, and soon, the sounds came back to the monitor as they climbed back in their respective beds and when they started to speak in a surprisingly wakeful voice, I looked at the clock. 2AM. Are you kidding me?

2yo: “Missy, I hurt my pinky finger today…I got a rubber band around my finger and there was no blood and my finger was swollen.”

5yo, Little Miss, in her sweetest, gentlest big-sister voice: Aww...we can use the stickers we got today and pretend it’s band aid and put it on your finger?

2yo: The stickers that Nina brought? [referring to Janina, our old Polish cleaning lady who adores them and brings a surprise for them almost every time she comes to our house.]

5yo: No, the ones we got after the movie [We saw “Frozen Sing Along” in the theater with friends that day - what a great time!]

2yo: Oh, the monkey ones. Okay…Look! I have three blankies on me to keep me warm.
5yo: I do, too! But this isn’t a blankie, Pickle, this is a sheet.
2yo: Oh, a sheet. But it keeps me warm...Nina put it on here.
5yo: Yeah, it’s nice. I like it too.
[Pause]
2yo: Good night, Missy.
5yo: Good night, Pickle.

Then silence.

I couldn’t help but smile to myself as I turned away from the monitor. During the day, they fight, they argue, they tattle, they scream—they behave just like sisters.

But, in the wee hours of the night, it’s comforting to know that they can be kind to each other even when they didn’t think anyone’s listening, with Little Miss helping Pickle with the potty, entertaining her bright-eyed questions, and making her feel better in a quiet, reassuring voice while the little one settled back in, nestled in safety and warmth.

Just like sisters.

I will gladly put up with all the fighting they do if it means that when it really matters, they will choose to be there for each other, with each other. Then I fell into sweet and restful slumber for the rest of the night. I mean, how could I not?

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