Dinner was over. I was packing up the leftovers and getting anxious and screamy because the girls were getting up to a bunch of no-good. Since Dave and I have an agreement that only one of us can be a jerk at a time, he intervened to change the trajectory of our downward spiral.
“Who wants to see a magic trick?” he called and motioned for everyone to join him at the dining room table. “Mommy, I’m gonna need your help.”
“A magic trick?” I asked.
“Yes, the magic trick.” He winked.
“Oh, THE magic trick. Oh! Yeah! Sure!” I hurried in and sat down at the table.
“I bet you didn’t know that I can read Mommy’s mind,” he told the girls.
“It’s true,” I confirmed.
“I used to do this magic trick with my mom. She could read minds, too.”
“It’s probably genetic,” I added.
“Julia, pick a number and tell it to Mommy. I’ll go in the kitchen to be sure I don’t hear. Let me know when you’re ready.”
Dave left. The girls and I huddled together and Julia whispered, “Four,” then shouted, “We’re ready!”
Dave returned and moved behind me, placed his fingers on my temples and began rubbing gently. “I think I’m getting something…” he stalled as the “magic” flowed from me to him.
The girls stood quiet, carefully studying us for evidence of trickery.
“Oh, this’ll help,” he said placing a pinky finger in each of my ears. I grimaced. The girls giggled. “I’ve got it!” he shouted, making us all jump. “The number is….four.”
I raised my eyebrows in a “whattaya think of that?” fashion as the astonishment washed over our little crowd of spectators. They bounced, they squealed, they clapped their hands with delight.
Lucy scrambled up into the seat beside me, drew in close and placed a chubby hand at the corner of her mouth to shield the word, “Seven” as it passed softly from her lips to my ears.
“Okay, Daddy,” I said hoisting Phoebe into my lap. “Let’s give this one a try.”
We restarted our charade and then Dave revealed, “The number is….seven.”
Again, shock and awe.
“Alright,” Julia huffed. “Try this one.” We repeated the whole thing with the number nine. Julia, finally convinced of our power, decided that since she couldn’t beat us, she’d join us. “Okay, It’s my turn now. I’m going to the kitchen, Daddy give Mommy a number.”
Dave held up three fingers. I nodded and called Julia back.
Julia took her place behind my chair, carefully rubbed her hands together and jammed her pinky fingers in my ears.
I sat. I waited. I closed my eyes. I pictured the number three as if it were the number of the day on Sesame Street. And then finally she came out with it. “Three!” she exclaimed.
After a moment of stunned silence, Dave and I congratulated her on a job well done. And because we refused to be upstaged, we demanded she do it again. The second try was a bust, but the third try brought her another success.
“Two out of three, Julia. That ain’t bad,” I offered. “Even Meatloaf says so.”
Dave started to sing, “Now, don’t be sad….’cause two out of three ain’t bad…”
“That means you’re about 66.6% psychic.”
“Really?” she marveled, reveling in her obvious inheritance of the telepathic trait.
“Alright, bath time,” I announced.
Julia bounded up the stairs and bumped into her grandma at the top. “Guess what, Grandma? Guess what? Mommy says I’m psycho! Just like her and Daddy!”
Psychic. Psycho. Either way, she’s probably right.