It wasn't the fact that I'd forgotten to claim my children last year that prompted me to hire a professional tax preparer this year.
How I could have forgotten them, I don't know. I suppose it wasn't a case of faulty memory, really. It was just that while I was rushing to complete my forms on 4/14, my kids were screaming and dismantling my house. In my haste to finish the taxes and get on with crisis prevention, I forgot to include them.
Now, a professional has the presence of mind to focus on my return while these same children are screaming and dismantling his office.
Tax Guy: Ms. Sanfilippo, about these screaming children who are trying to stick pens in the electrical outlets, are they all yours?
Me (staring out the window, sighing): Yes, yes they are.
TG (watching his computer reboot after my son unplugged it): OK, Child #1, name and SS#.
I respond appropriately.
TG: Child #2, name, SS#.
I answer again.
TG: Child #3, name, SS#.
Me: I only have two.
TG (still looking at the computer): What is your third child's name?
Me: I only have two.
TG (finally looking up): Two? (Now he is looking around, searching.) Are you sure?
Me: Yes, trust me.
TG (astonished): But, it sounds like 10.
Me: Only two. (That require the patience for 10.)
He really wanted to add more. Two just didn't feel right to him.
Actually, it wasn't forgetting to claim my rightfully begotten dependents that forced my stubborn self to visit the tax guy. It was my son who convinced me. You see, at the tender age of 2 1/2, my son understood that it would be better if mommy left this job to professionals. He conveyed this sentiment by chewing the numbers off my calculator.
--- Jennifer Sanfilippo
The phone rings. It's Nik. There's urgency in her voice.
"What's the first line of 'this little piggy'? I'm drawing a blank!"
"This little piggy... went to market... ?"
"Went to MARKET! That's it! Thanks bye!" Click.
Ten minutes later, she calls back.
"Have you seen her binky? Last time I saw it was on the Boppy."
I never used to get calls like that. Things have changed around our house in odd, subtle ways. I've heard many things I've never heard before --- utterances spoken in cutesy, high-pitched tones. Things like, "What a good burp, honey! What a goooodbuuurp!" and "Ugh, how could you poop on mommy twice?"
I knew there'd be moments of laughter, moments of concern, moments of exhaustion, and moments of great bonding between us and this little pupa. But I hadn't given much thought to how the bond between me and Nik would evolve. One episode stands out in particular.
The other day we found ourselves staring down at Tess in her bassinette, and she stared back at us, twitching and grimacing with unspecific angst. We marveled at the strength of her grip on my finger, the folds in her ear (which she borrowed from me). We marveled at her nose (which she got from her mom), and her disproportionately large and strangely flexible big toe (a mystery). A realization struck us simultaneously --- a realization that I'm sure must strike every new parent at some point:
"Holy shit. We made this."
Nik and I have always felt like a pair, but never before like a team. I don't want to be verbose about something so simple... this family stuff: it's good.
--- Brandon Heffernan