When our two year old — oops, he’s three already — doesn’t want to do something (say, go to bed) he tells us “I’m busy.” I can’t help but cringe a bit when I think of how he must of learned that phrase.
So this morning when I was lying in bed trying to figure out why it had gotten light so early, I jumped out of bed quickly to go to him when he started calling, “Momma! … “Mommmmaa!” (Ruth was still sleeping and I thought she should.)
“Where Lala is?” he asked me.
“Do you want Eliana?” (Eliana, our next oldest child, is five and a half.)
“Yes. Lala play with me,” he added confidently.
“I think Eliana is still sleeping.”
“You play with me, Daddy?”
“Yes, son, I will play with you,” I said, wondering just how often I may have, while working in the office (which is adjacent to our bedroom), answered that I was busy. After a while, I remembered that I hadn’t started the laundry yet. (It’s the rainy season, and we line dry our clothes, so it pays off to start the laundry earlier rather than later.) So I invited him to go outside with me and around to our “laundry porch” to start the machine. I let him push the buttons.
When we came back inside, there was his big sister Eliana sitting in the entryway. Zerachiah had not forgotten his first question of the morning. “You play with me, Lala?” Eliana reached up and pulled her little brother down and gave him a big hug which he received and returned. “You play with me, Lala?” he repeated. She consented and so the three of us returned to his room. After a while Alitzah (our eldest, nine) joined us. I’m not sure what we built, but it had a door which you could drive a truck through, an impossibly high chimney, a tiny cat door, and a construction crane on the roof.
Tell the work awaiting me in my office I’ll be late: I’m busy.