"'Dis?" E says, grasping my nostril firmly between her fingers.
"'Dis?" She asks, stabbing at one of my eyeballs.
"That's Mama's eye."
She pushes my cheek, turning my head so that she can plunge her fingers into my ear and ask the burning question I currently hear 3,000 times a day: "Dis?" With only three words in her repertoire, our conversations are just a tad bit repetitive these days. (The three words: "hi", "'dis?" and "dada", aka. OF COURSE, MOM, YOU'RE CHOPPED LIVER.)
"That's my ear," I say and take her hand in mine to try to settle her in for her last nursing session of the day, which is- after all -why we're here in her room, in the nursing chair, at 7 pm. I place her at my breast and give her her cue to focus: I sing.
Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high....
"DIS!" she insists suddenly, pinching my lower lip between her fingers. I will not be swayed. I will stay focused. This is serious business.
I keep singing.
...thereth a landth that I heard of thonce in a lullaby.
My pause between verses is her chance to grab for the brass ring: my tongue.
SomeWHEH oveh the wainbow, skies ah bwue....
She starts to giggle as I keep singing my lispy song. I'm still singing and she's still not really nursing and then we're both giggling, our laughs and my song muddled by the pieces of each other we have in our mouths.
The giggles die out eventually, her hands finally find a restful spot on my bra straps and there is silence as she settles in for a moment to nurse.
Suddenly she pulls off, perhaps realizing she has yet to meet her "dis?" quota for the day, and asks, thumping her hand on my chest like I'm a questioningly ripe watermelon,"'Dis?"
"That's my chest."
"'DIS?" She thumps harder and asks again, I guess not liking my answer.
"This is Mama."
"'DIS??" She's getting pissed now; I'm not understanding her.
"This? This is Mama? Mama's chest? Singing? Do you want me to sing?" I wish I had tea leaves to read or divine signals to interpret or HECK I'D TAKE A MAGIC EIGHT BALL. But I can only guess. And I guess that she wants me to sing.
and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true....
"Dis?" E 's voice is muffled, her mouth still around my nipple, and she pats my chest softly, the tired finally showing through. Still the question is burning in her brain, not letting her go. "'Dis?"
"This is love, E. This is Mama. This is Mama and E and this is love."
She closes her eyes and drops her head and hands back to rest on my chest. I reduce my song to a hum because it suddenly dawns on me that she likes the vibration of my voice, that it really isn't about the specific words after all.