As I prepared this morning's oatmeal, I heard small feet padding down the stairs. It was Jane.
Poor Jane is feeling very much the neglected middle child these days. We try to celebrate her as much as we can, but she is so darn undemanding and independent. I decided to give her morning a boost.
Me: Ladies and Gentlemen! May I pleeeeeease draw your attention to the one, the only JANE! WOOOO!
Her sleepy eyes brightened as she entered the kitchen. Feeling like a celebrity, she pumped one arm in the air.
Jane: Yay! (dropping the heap of clothes she was carrying to the floor) I bringed my own clothes!
Me: Alright! (chanting) Jane! Jane! Jane! Jane! Jane...
She started dancing, in the spotlight at last.
Jane: (reaches down, grabs her t-shirt and throws it triumphantly in the air) Wheeeee!
This is when life turned to slow motion. The pink shirt sailed through the air, pausing briefly at the apex of its travels. I watched in horror as it tumbled, shirt over tail, toward the pot of oatmeal. That's where it landed: half in the pot, half draped over the side, just barely touching the hot stove element.
Me: (diving) NOOOOOOOOOO!
I snatched the shirt from its flammable perch. I was fast enough to stop a fire. Not fast enough to stop my reaction.
Me: Jane! We never ever throw things in the kitchen! You know the rule! That could have started a fire!
Jane's eyes faded from celebratory pools of bright emerald green to dull, guilty puddles of stagnant pond water. And that water was leaking out in tears.
We hugged for a long time. She eventually felt better and had a great morning. Still, I think it's time for a daddy-daughter date.