Last week, I had a whole week without my kids which felt like about 6 months without them. (If I returned your email last week, or belatedly weighed in on a Chairman Mom thread, that was probably why…)

I was reminded this past weekend, when we were finally reunited, of why I love life with them so much more than without them, despite all that sleep, time to read, and the luxury of not disciplining anyone for a week. 

There was a moment that was so Eli…We were leaving the zoo and the two of them were planning a version of Aladdin we were going to perform for Apple Paul. (Somehow, it’s always assumed I’ll be in the cast…in fact, I was going to be Aladdin. Which sounds like a compliment but it’s actually third billing. Evie clearly has to be the outrageous Genie and also Rajah, and Eli of course has to be Jasmine and also Jafar.) 

Having made several demands of the “Friend Like Me” number, Evie started to dictate to Eli how she thought “A Whole New World” should be. “Evie,” I said. “This production was Eli’s idea. You can be in charge of Genie’s songs, but let him be in charge of Jasmine’s songs!”

Eli turned to me and said—in his prissiest, Virgo-est audible stage whisper—“Actually I’m in charge of the whole show….not to brag…” 

It was such an Eli moment. The need for creative control over a musical, yes, but also the need to say it out loud rather than just let my comment pass and pretend to give Evie some control. 

Eli generally shouldn’t say the second half of whatever his instinct tells him to say. The other day the two of them got into a fight and Evie came in to complain. I just decided to create a game with her instead. Eli came barging in hearing us laugh and said, “I JUST WANT TO TELL EVIE, I’M SORRY!” But he couldn’t help but add, “I only said that because I was worried she was in here telling on me.” 

I turned to him as we were leaving the zoo and said, “You are the most perfectly Eli Eli that could ever exist.”

Later that day, Eli was dressed as Maleficent and Evie was dressed up like Maui. I’m unclear on the plot, but somehow Eli waved his crow-cane and declared “NOW YOU WORK FOR ME!” Evie dropped character and looked at him as if she pitied him. “No, I don’t,” she said, returned to Maui and Giant-Hawk’d out of the room. 

“And you are the most perfectly Evie Evie that could ever exist,” I thought.

Today’s new questions on Chairman Mom:

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