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little voices.

Ray likes to talk. 
Nonstop.
He gets it from Greg.
... just kidding.
My ears seem to get worn out after a while, like really fatigued muscles that just stop working on you mid workout (this is actually why I don't work out). I loose the capacity to discern between questions and comments, pointless or otherwise. My responses regress from hums, to grunts, to growls, and then finally snaps... or running away.

Recently Greg discovered a hidden gem among our apartment buildings and parking lots, the Tennis Court. It is a fenced in oasis outskirted by shady trees and paths where people walk their dogs. Whenever one goes by, the kids and I run to the fence and drool. Sometimes they even stop to let us pet them through the fence.
We visit the Tennis Court somewhere between the hums and growls.
Definitely before the snaps.
It's my run away spot. 
We've been there every day this week.
"Ray, smile!"

 "Okay, that's good."

Last week we went to a playdate at a park.  I met up with an old college friend and her two little girls.  I told Ray we were going to play with a little girl about Aunt Abigail's age and see her baby sister.We pulled up to the park as a random mom was leaving with her kids.  Ray yelled, "Look, Mommy, Look! Two little girls! I found them!!"

This park is not like our park.  This park is made for tots. We're talking slides that are only a few feet vs. stories high. It is covered in a cushion camouflaged under fake grass vs. mulch and cigarettes. If they fall, they'd bounce. It was beautiful.
toddler paradise
Ray was, eh hem, great with her oldest daughter, who's two and a half, leading her up the wrong way on slides and showing her all the dirt piles he could find. She tippy toe skipped all over the park, brown Shirly Temple curls bobbing up and down even when she wasn't galloping off somewhere... shewassostinkingadorable. We stayed about an hour though the heat was bad. Ray was still playing in the dirt and bushes when I walked her to her car. 
Ray comes running up holding something in his hand as my friend's buckling in her daughters.
"Look, Mommy!! I found a sticky fing!!" 
"Oh, a sticky berry?" I ask. 
"Yes! A sticky berry!" and he opens his hand to reveal his treasure. 
Gum.
We agreed our next playdate would be at her pool. 

We love reading books.  A new classic --I'm talking right up there with Goodnight Moon-- is a book called Do You Wear Diapers. Each page features a different animal and it goes something like this:
Ray has it memorized, so we've begun reading it together.
Me: "Hello, kitty. Do you wear diapers?"
Ray: "Meow. No, I don't wear diapers. I poop in the toybox."
Me: "Litterbox, Ray. Not toybox."
Ray: "Meow. I poop in the litterbox."
Yesterday was a long day.  I snapped at Ray a few times. Then I'd stop, and try to get my ears working again, and ask him to repeat what he'd said. 
I was getting in the car and realized I'd left my phone inside.
He was jabbering on and on and said, "Mommy, cover your mouth." 
I snapped at him. 
Then sighed and looked up at him, "Okay, Ray. What do you want me to do?"
"Cover your mouth with your hand like this," he waits for me to do it, "then blow a kiss like this!"
And I do it.
My grumpypants came off.

I feel tennis court playtime coming on.
This morning I was getting slammed with questions: "Mommy. is it daytime?", "Mommy, are you pouring milk?", "Mommy, is that Jimmy making a mess with his milk?" etc.
He later asked, "Mommy, can I (insert something a three year old should never be allowed to do)?"
I said, "No. But you can help me find my phone."
"Okay! I will help you find your phone! Where is it?" he asked.
"I don't know," I replied.
"But, Mommy. Where did you put your phone??"
I gave up reasoning and searching and started this post. 
It's still missing. (Update- I found it! yippee!!)
Earlier we'd eaten breakfast together. I'd finished and went to sit in my rocking chair with my hot mug of yerba mate, reminiscing over these funny little moments, this post formulating in my mind. Jimmy came over and magnetized himself to my legs and I was stuck and trying to reach to get my mug away from his grasp and he was giggling which made me laugh at my own delirium: a quiet moment with a hot beverage... BAHAHAHA
Across the room, 30 minutes into eating his egg, and 100,000 x's into being told to just finish his egg already, I hear Ray ask, "Mommy, why are you smiling?"
"I'm smiling because you guys are so funny."
Ray chirps, "I'm funny? Good."  

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