Eight-year old Young Lady is sprawled along the dinner table, her head on her outstretched arm, her untouched plate shoved to one side.
“Who wants to be my servant for the rest of the year?” she asks languidly.
“Moi!” pipes a cheerful voice next to me. Petit Prince has taken on the role.
“Go get me a glass of water,” she orders.
Three-year old Prince jumps out of his chair and walks to the cupboard, his shoulders thrown back, his steps mincing “like a penguin” as he puts it. Sir and I look at each other with a half-smile at the comedy unfolding before us. Prince gets some glasses, but Sir tells Lady to go fetch the water herself. She reluctantly removes herself from the table and gets water for all three kids.
Young Knight, in his unbridled six-year old enthusiasm, breaks the languor felt by a family that has started the day at eight o’clock AM with two English classes in the home, a soccer match, a piano lesson, two birthday parties, and a traffic jam in the pouring rain. He does this by suddenly slashing his fork in the Lady’s face with a Kung Fu Panda sound.
“Ca va pas, non?” yells my generally docile husband. (What do you think you’re doing?) “You could’ve dug her eye right out of her head!”
The Knight turns white with shock in face of such a rebuke. I can barely suppress a nervous giggle as I cryptically try to tell my husband he was too harsh just then and needs to throw out some comforting words – like, right now. When the Knight sorts through his shock enough to figure out he’s sad and afraid, he goes over to the couch and sits down, and wails.
It’s a Snoopy sort of wail with the lips held high to the moon and tears squirting out horizontally from his cheeks.
Sir calls out to him, then finally puts his fork down and goes over to try and talk him through his feelings, but the Knight’s wails only get louder. So Sir gives up and returns to the table. As the Knight’s sobs reach their climax, he starts to gurgle through his tears.
Petit Prince quietly starts gurgling with his water glass at the table, matching his older brother perfectly in pitch. Bubbling mirth threatens to spill over into my impassive face again.
When the Knight finally joins us at the table, still in tears, Prince remembers something that happened at the birthday party earlier and decides he’s going to cry too. Not to be outdone, the Lady decides to start crying because she just had a painful flash of what it would feel like to have your eye gouged out.
Sir and I hold each other’s gaze over the medley of discontent. “It seems like we’re doing something right,” I say, conversationally.
“Pass the pork,” he answers cheerfully.
The chorus swells.