"Momma. Lulu made the microwave start buzzing." Jane plunks down the stairs. I stoke the fire. "I think she was trying to warm up her rice bag," Jane adds.
"Just open it 'til I get up there, ok?"
"Ok." She runs upstairs. Her feet thump on the wooden steps.
I pause to roll Rosie to her back, poke her ribs, swaddle her with a fresh orange diaper. I kiss her tummy. She laughs, waves Lincoln Logs at me. "Thank-you," I say. Jane trundles back downstairs, and we do the sign language for thank-you over and over. Rosie just waves, smiles.
We linger until lunch is late.
Rosie in one arm, blankie in the other, I head for her room. A short night's sleep and the stairs seem deep. I squish Rosie's cheek against mine. When I round the corner to nestle her in the almost too small cradle, I don't see it at first. Lulie.
There, squeezed like a snail in a shell, sound asleep, Lulie -- in the cradle. Suddenly, I remember: the microwave and the rice bag. Like Eve in the garden Lulie's hidden and covered herself -- with her blankie.
I switch my babies and scoop Lu and blankie up on my hip. "Honey, were you scared?"
She nods. I sway. "Were you hiding from me."
"Uh." She watches me out of the corner of her eye.
I hug her to me. "Honey, remember the truth will make me happy." I pause. "What happened?"
Tiny steps of truth, we unravel her fears.
"See," I say. "the truth makes me happy. Next time you should run and tell me. And don't you feel better too?"
"The truth makes you happy TOO." We cuddle and sway and banish the power of secrets between us.