I remember about the time JJ first started walking, I often felt like I was living in an absurdist French comedy. I would be dealing with some crisis — say Malachi had a blowout — and in the background, JJ would be slowly and methodically putting all of the plastic dishes into the bathtub for no apparent reason while loudly calling: "BOB BOB BOB BOB BOB BOB." I would step outside of myself and think: "Wow. This is kind of hilarious."
These days the hilarity comes from the things they say: the grown-up phrases they are trying on for size and the imprecise conclusions they reach as they try to make sense of this mixed up, messed up world. Their cute babbling and slurry 3-year-old talk is occasionally punctuated by these windows into the big kids they will soon be.
Here's a recent one:
(In a family dressing room at a pool party)
Malachi: "What is that thing called?"
Me: "It's a bra."
Malachi: "What does a bra do?"
Me: "Ummm... It keeps my boobs all together."
JJ (completely serious): "(Otherwise) we'd have boobs EVERYWHERE!"
(Malachi pointing repeatedly to the crab on his shirt.)
Malachi: Gropygrope, gropygrope, gropygrope. Crabs say "gropygrope."
Me: Crabs say "gropygrope"?
Malachi: They sure do.
(JJ, scheming on my PB&J)
Me: OK, you can have some.
JJ (said like a tiny wizened diplomat): Thank you for giving me a piece of yours. You are a good brother.
And one that displays Malachi's adoration of letters:
(I walk into the room and Malachi breaks into a huge smile and reaches for me.)
Me: That's me!
Malachi: Spell Mommy.
Malachi smiles beatifically, as if that is the most wonderful thing he's ever heard. Then, in a reverent whisper: "I can also call her Shasta."