Before you read that sentence all wrong, I wash my undies in the sink so they don’t get mangled in the washing machine by velcro, hooks, buckles, or a T-Rex. When you live with three males and one small but very wild female, you never know what might end up in the washing machine with your delicates – that is just a fact.
These days I am lucky if I remember to pull down my pants before I sit down to take a pee. It goes beyond my usual ditz factor, I am really that busy, sleep-deprived, and distracted at the moment. Because of this (and possibly my natural ditz factor with a dash of lazy) I left some clean undies hanging in the bathroom and promptly forgot them. Before I continue, I’d like to say it again:
They were clean.
So, last night I was summoned to the bathroom by Sol.
“Mommy! Mommy! Zaviera is *mumble mumble* OW! Mommy, Zaviera just kicked me in the mouth!”
I hear a growl, a delighted shriek, both of which I recognize as coming from my sweet little flower of a daughter.
“OW! Mommy, Zaviera just scratched my face because I told her that *mumble mumble*…”
When I reflect on why my son’s words translated into mumbling, I realize it is because I had no point of reference for what he was trying to tell me.
I stepped into the bathroom to confront my two water monkeys and threaten them with an early bedtime.
Sol hunched over, glowering at his sister.
Zaviera was smiling the smile of the truly content.
And, she had my undies hanging out of her mouth, chewing and sucking on them like a happy little puppy.
“Zaviera!” I reached for the undies.
She dodged my hand, squealing and giggling, her eyes lighting up with mischief.
“Zaviera Maia Marama Clarke!”
We like to tell people that we gave our children long names to honor their ancestry, but really, I just wanted to rattle them off during times of discipline.
Zaviera Maia Marama Clarke shoved the undies further into her mouth.
“I told you Mommy, she was sucking on your undies,” Sullen Sol said from his corner.
My daughter smiled, her crooked little teeth latched down on her treasure. I swear she nearly growled when I reached toward her again.
“You need to give those to me. Now.”
Her smile turned into a frown. The beginning of a showdown gathered in her eyes. Her fists clenched.
“I’m going to count to three and you know what that means.”
Her mouth dropped open, the undies fell out, she looked at me, forlorn.
“Thank you, sweetheart.”
I wasn’t two steps out of the bathroom when I started laughing.
“Dan,” I said, walking into the kitchen. “You want to know what I just found your daughter doing?”
I described the incident.
“Of course,” he said. “She saw your undies and thought ‘Mommy!’ and then she felt all this love and being Zaviera, she shoved the undies in her mouth and started chewing on them because she loves you so much. That’s just a total Zaviera way of expressing her emotions.”
Normally, I try to refrain from admitting Dan is right about anything. At least not to his face. Whenever I do he replies with, “I know I’m right. I’m always right.” Which then forces me to tackle him and humble him. He is a lot bigger than me and tackling him takes energy and motivation, both of which I have little of these days.
But I’ll admit it now. He was right about Zaviera.
My daughter’s love is a force of nature. She flings herself at me and squashes her face into mine. She tangles her fingers in my hair and pulls. She latches her arms around my neck and hangs from my back, nearly choking me. She follows in my shadow, imitating me. All I have to do is open my arms and she is instantly wrapped around me, her little heart pounding against mine.
And yeah, she eats my underwear.
It’s why we call her the Crazy Little Creature.
I would have gladly dumped my entire drawer of delicates into the bathtub, sacrificing them, if it guaranteed that she would never stop loving me with such fierce abandon.