Making no effort to accommodate others,
I sit on the couch surrounded by mes bébés.
Laugh, pinch, pinch back, "she hit me,"
raised eyebrow, mingling laughter.
And later, macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, and ketchup.
More - ENOUGH!
Two sunny wet heads scampering down the stairs.
One sunny wet head giggling and
staring up for my approval.
One refusal to get out of the bathtub.
One refusal to comb hair.
One "I'm hungry."
Oatmeal creme pie baseball.
Catchers upstairs reaching through bars.
Six petite hands hanging over the handrail.
One melodic ribbon of laughter...
Without looking up,
I know which silly girl is covering her mouth
in an effort to suppress unprovoked laughter.
Seven oatmeal creme pies soaring
through the air towards their captors.
Four oatmeal creme pies descending
back toward me.
One. Two. Three. Four.
Four cookies on the floor.
Three happy girls retreating to their beds,
satisfied with their catch of the day.
One deliriously happy me
falling into the familiar comfort
of the couch...dozing...to be awakened
by the sound of a diaper swishing with her unsure step
and the touch of the ten tiniest fingers.
One eye open - blonde hair in sight.
Two eyes open - a whisper, "Mio."
The joy emanates, not from my drowsy smile,
but from a place deep within.
One smiling face.
Two outstretched hands employing euphoric fingers
to lift the growing bébé onto the couch with me.
Two spooning bodies.
Two small voices releasing the African lullaby
to float through the room until it fades
into the darkness with our steady breathing.
One dream of the days still to come.