Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

Pick a hand

photo of Marlo by Heather B. Armstrong for dooce.com

I’m sitting on the couch watching the evening news (a habit I gleefully resumed the day after the election was over) as Leta and Marlo transition from one game to another: hide and seek, Barbies, fort building, sliding across the hardwood floors in their socks and accidentally crashing into a wall. Depending on the resulting thud and its volume, I may or may not get up to assess the amount of blood or offer a standing ovation.

Suddenly Marlo runs over to the couch with her hands behind her back, Leta following closely. She hops up beside me, brings her fists in front of her and asks Leta to guess which hand she has a toy in. Except… the toy is so big that she can’t fully wrap her hand around it and half of it is visible. I have to bury my mouth in a pillow to muffle my laughter, and Marlo immediately whips her head in my direction with a look on her face that suggests I am ruining her trick and could I please die slowly in front of a jeering audience.

Leta glances knowingly at me and points at the hand holding the toy.

Marlo grunts and shouts, “UGGGGHHHHH! PICK AGAIN!”

Leta blinks several times as if she can’t believe that she shares this kid’s DNA and touches the hand holding the toy.

“NO!” screams Marlo. “PICK AGAIN!

“Marlo,” Leta says trying not to sound too condescending. “I pick this hand. I’m not changing my mind.”

Unable to comprehend why this is happening to her, she throws the toy three feet away and then angrily crosses her arms. “It’s not fair!” she screams. “You keep picking that hand! You just keep picking it and picking it and picking it!

I can’t handle it in any longer and Leta and I simultaneously start cackling. Leta is laughing so hard that she actually falls forward onto the couch but not before she and I lock eyes for a very brief yet special moment. I can tell that she is so happy that I am there to witness this with her. And I am so thankful that she is old enough to appreciate the volcanic fount of accidental hilarity that is her three-year-old sister.

You know what? I’ll take this memory over one of glitter glue any day.

photo of Marlo by Heather B. Armstrong for dooce.com

  • Dawn

    Love it. I have these moments with my oldest and his little sister.

  • <3

  • Kimberly

    Thanks for reminding me that these are the best memories ever! I love when my older ones finally get why I laugh at the other ones so much!

  • super cute! you have such a way with words that I feel like I was there for the hilarious moment. was marlo unhappy with you two laughing at her?

  • Erin

    I’m 32 & my sister’s 28. My mom and I still regularly share extra special moments of laughter at the expense of my still hilarious and adorable “baby” sister. Not that this is news to you, but you three are so lucky to have each other.

  • Maggie

    I just can’t get over how similar out daughters are. Mine are a bit older, but every time you describe Marlo burning the house down or throwing a completely irrational fit and her older sister looking at her like an alien, I can totally relate. Good to know I am not the only one!