"What's the matter?" I ask her. I have to wonder what the heck could have gone wrong in the six minutes I've been gone. Right before I left, she'd been happily reading her book.
"I don't like this part of my shirt." She reaches inside her T-shirt and pulls on the back of the appliqué. "It's scratching me."
"Okay, well, you can leave it like that or you can go change your shirt." I feel like spitting my words. The cat had me up early. I'm too tired to deal with a this issue today.
"But I like this shirt." She blinks away a few tears.
"I know, but I can't do anything about it now. Either wear it or don't. You need to get to school."
I don't roll my eyes, even though I'm tempted, because I don't want Melina to think I don't care about her and her feelings. But sweet bacon crackers! I thought we'd grown out of this stage a long time ago, about the time when the seams of every single pair of socks we owned stopped bothering her.
Melina skips off, runs up the stairs, and grabs a new shirt. She and I both know she's not done.
"I really like this shirt."
In Melinaese, that's "What are you going to do about this and how fast can you do it?"
I stroll over to my trusty computer, look up what I can find on Amazon about fixing this damn T-shirt, and then tell her goodbye as she walks out the door with Tim. Her eyes still glisten with tears, but she'll hold up for most of the day.
But I know my child and her aptitude for tunnel-vision. And when Melina comes back to me at 2:40 p.m., the first thing she will say is, "How can we fix my shirt?"
I'm two steps ahead of her now, though. For I have to go to the store to buy a smoke alarm (because we certainly want to avert that sort of crisis), and I know that in and among the craft items there, I will find something that can help. And sure enough, I do.
Once I'm home, I grab the shirt, a pair of scissors, my iron, and the HeatnBond that I bought.
Just another day of averting a crisis around these parts. There's nothing a mother can't do, I tell you. Nothing.