"On Top of Spaghetti"
Text Copyright ©2009 by Christina Corlett
“Mommy, will you lay with me?” His sweet voice carries all the way to my daughters’ room. I am lying in bed with my eldest, curled on my side facing her. My fingers are entwined in her golden curls. We are discussing the summer reading program at our local library. She is an avid reader and is excited by the idea of tracking all of the books she reads.
“Mom, do you think they have 39 Clues because I really want to read it. Beth said it was good, right?” Beth is my media specialist friend (in my day we just called her a librarian) and my daughter regards Beth as some sort of book goddess.
“I am sure they do, sweetie,” I reassure her. “Now give me a kiss because I need to go lay with your brother.” My lips press softly to her fragrant forehead and I tell her that I love her.
“Love you too, mom.” She pulls up the covers and her blue eyes, that so surprised us when she was born – for how could two brunette and brown-eyed people produce a blonde hair and blue-eyed child? – shine up at me with love.
I turned to my middle child, a miniature version of me with large chocolate brown eyes set in a heart shaped face. She has the covers tucked under her chin, as is her nightly ritual.
“Good night, monkey. I love you.” I bend to kiss her sweet bow lips and she giggles.
“ ’Night, mama. I love you too!” She snuggles under her quilt and closes her eyes. Love bubbles up in me as I switch off their bedside lamp.
“Mommy!” Impatience now peppers my son’s voice. This is his ritual, to call me repeatedly while I put the girls to bed, until I come to lay with him.
“I’m here, little man.” His little body is aquiver with excitement now that I have finally made my appearance. I crawl into my usual spot and pull the blankets up to his chin.
My youngest child is as adorable as his sisters are. He is a clone of his father, with the same mop of curly hair and the same big brown eyes framed by luxurious lashes. I have a real soft spot for my son, although I try not to show it. When I smell his sweet baby smell, my heart melts.
“Mama, sing the song!” he demands. Although I know what he wants, I pretend that I do not.
“What song, baby?” He giggles and a tremor passes through his little body.
“The meatball song!”
“Oh, that song. Okay.” I clear my throat theatrically and then begin to sing:
On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese,
I lost my poor meatball, when somebody sneezed.
It rolled off the table, and onto the floor, then right out the door,
When somebody sneezed.
It rolled down the stairs and onto the street,
And then my poor meatball was nothing but meat!
My son’s eyes are glued to my face as I sing. Each time I say the word “sneezed”, he pretends to sneeze, just as I have always done every time I have sung this song to him. His face mimics my expressions perfectly, especially my sad face when I talk about the demise of my meatball. It is adorable to watch.
“Mommy, what happened to your meatball?” he demands, as always, as soon as my song is done.
“Well, it’s gone,” I explain, waiting patiently. I know that the questions are just beginning.
“Where did it go, mommy?” Now, the average person might take this chance to explain their philosophies about life and death to their child, but I choose another road. The teacher in me wants to see where my son will go with this.
“Where do you think it went, baby?”
“The library!” He giggles at his cleverness.
“The library?” I ask. “How does it get there?” He pauses to think.
“In his car!”
“The meatball drives a car to the library?” I look perplexed and my son giggles yet again. This is a very funny routine to him. He loves when mommy is silly.
“Yes, mommy. He drives to the library in his car,” he explains patiently. Silly me. Of course the meatball drives to the library in his car. How else would he get there?
“Oh, I see. And what does he do at the library?” I am very curious about this apparently erudite lump of meat.
“He reads books!” His tone is very matter-of fact, as if I should have figured this very obvious detail out myself.
“What kind of books does he read?” This seems like a logical question. Clearly, I am wrong, as my son rolls his eyes at me.
“Books about meatballs and pasta, mommy!” Duh. Of course.
“Cool. And what does he do after that?” My curiosity is leading me in the same direction as the proverbial cat.
“To school.” Naturally. Where else would a literary meatball go?
“But, son, what happened to the meatball in the song?” I need to get things back on track, as our time together is winding down.
“He gets squished.” I gasp. His little brows furrow in concentration. I can see he is really thinking hard now.
“Mommy, who cleans up the mess?” I can’t resist one last question.
“Who do you think cleans it up, baby?” He thinks for a moment, and then his face lights up.
“The policeman!” I am proud that my not-yet three-year-old son has the reasoning skills to figure out these profound concepts. My heart is full as I rain kisses over his face and hug him one last time for the night.
“I love you, buddy.”
“I love you too, mommy. Sweet dreams. I’ll dream about you.” His cherubic face is creased in a smile so sweet and pure that I am momentarily rendered speechless.
“I will, baby,” I promise him, as I leave his room.
And I will. I will dream about this perfect family that I have created with my husband, as I do every night.