OK. Sebastian is dressed. Liliana is changed and dressed. Both fed. It’s 10 past eight. I try and think of what still needs to be done amidst the ritual morning balagan. Funny how the same tasks and events need to be completed every morning and yet each morning presents its own version of disarray and clutter. If it were only the kids we had to take care of, I think, bleary-eyed, noticing the cone-shaped mop that has taken form on my head as I pass by the mirror. I still have to shower, haven’t even had a glass of juice yet.
Liliana pulls the “Apchee” book off the shelf. “Et ze” she declares. I check my watch. OK, We still have a little bit of time before Sebastian needs to get to gan. And I can always take her to hers a little later. Or shower later. Come on. Live in the moment. Read a sweet book. A mother-daughter cuddle. Liliana’s bent for speed-reading is of course a significant impetus.  This child is entirely amused and engaged by the lively dramatization of the “Apchee”, no need for elaborations, expositions, or denouements. I skip paragraphs and pages freely and generously. I can enjoy the silly “apchee”s without too much concern for the nagging encroachment of time. 
“Ah ah ah ahhh ahhhh aaaahhhhhpcheeeeee!” Sebastian of course hears my vigorous and animated performance and approaches us. I look at him tenderly, longing to share a moment with him too, and yet my internal cautionary alarm signals. Best to keep the two separate. If her style is cursory and perfunctory, his is thorough and precise. I must accept the fact that it could be another year before I can achieve my fantasy of having both kids burrowed on my lap, sharing story-time. 
Sure enough, Sebastian asks me to read the entire book to him. And I feel my heart extend mournfully, as it hungers to share the intimate encounter of story-time together with him also. And yet the brusque and unrelenting soldier of time marches on.  Not now. “Later”, I assure him. And I ponder, a little sadly, silently, whether there will be a later, whether we will find the time amidst the day’s typical rush of events.
“Plunk”. “Plunk”. I am returned to the reality of a restless toddler as Liliana pulls and throws book after book from the shelf. Inhale. Exhale. I let the sigh in and let the smile out. The “sigh’n’smile” has become the necessary and natural response to this little firecracker of ours. Without it we would have difficulty breathing.
But the “sigh’n’smile” has its limits. Restless toddler, restless mother; I begin to feel my anxiety descend. Books scattered all over the floor is not as fun as giggling over a silly story. I look at my watch. It must be time to take Sebastian to gan already. Surely it must be almost time to start thinking about me.  (sigh)