The Importance of Presence

One of the biggest issues I have as a mom at home with young'uns is the problem of distractibility. I'll admit, I get distracted by the simplest of things. Take this afternoon for example, I had just made the girls and Liam lunch when I noticed mail still sitting there from yesterday. So, deciding to go through it, I noticed Kurt's Cato Institute Quarterly Message discussing an argument for "Doing Nothing" (In Defense of Doing Nothing, by Jeffrey Miron).  Thinking I could use a good argument for doing nothing, I picked it up and started reading the article that deals entirely with economics and nothing with being a stay-at-home mom. And that's when I heard the slurping coming from the table. 

Eager to put down the newsletter, I looked up to find Madeline sitting on the floor with her sandwich and Lily, tummy down on the table, slurping up what was obviously a large puddle of spilled water where Madeline used to be sitting. 

"Lily, Madeline, if you spill water on the table, you need to get a rag to wipe it up," I said, getting the towel. 

"But Mo-om," Lily exclaimed, "it's a disaster!" And she continued slurping the water off the table with her mouth as I wiped the rest up. I pulled Lily off the table and turned around to wring the rag out. When I came back, she was back up on the table and having poured the remainder of the cup of water out, was continuing with her slurping. (That's when I made a mental note to never send Lily to help with an oil spill....)

I got the table cleaned up (as Lily crawled over to slurp up the cereal that was never wiped up from this morning's breakfast) and went back to finish the mail sorting. I got lost in thought, thinking that spilled water was better than Madeline choking up an eraser she had accidentally swallowed while on a car ride over the weekend and puking it up into the cup holder of the car (to a very amused mother who couldn't help but laugh at the sight...you'd have to have been there) and was brought back to the present when I heard Liam giggling. I looked up and saw that Lily had "shared" her yogurt with him, having given him the entire cup and spoon. In a relatively short period of time, he had proceeded to smear it all over his tray and face and head and, well, anywhere else he could yogurt-paint, excluding his actual mouth of course. 

Lily sat there with that you-know-what-eating grin on her face and Liam was about as happy as a boy can be. And that's when it hit me that the beginning of Lily's biography will one day read:

Lily was a good little monkey, and always very curious.... 

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