Three hours later, when we got back to the car, I could tell the trip had had the desired effect on the children: they were both exhilarated and exhausted. Jackson stared wearily out his window, but then finally put his thoughts into words as we drove through a rural area.
"Mommy, is chicken made from roosters?" I asked him to repeat the question as my mind zoomed through all kinds of birds-and-bees scenarios: do I tell my two-and-a-half-year-old that yes, roosters do have a role in "making" chickens? But Emily immediately understood what he was asking, and came to my rescue.
"No, Jackson. Chicken is made from chickens. And if you eat steak? That's from cows."
Sibling communication. Even 3.5 years apart, the children seem to have a way of communicating with and understanding one another that only they comprehend. And several ways of tormenting one another.
"I am just a susterated!" Jackson tells me, not noticing my blank look.
"Sisterated? Frustrated?" I ask.
"No, susterated! I am soooo mad!" he replies emphatically.
But as frustrated as they often become with one another, it thrills me to note the genuine affection that they show one another most of the time.
"When my get big, my go to Ah-eee's school with Ah-eee." Jackson has told me several times. I ask Emily if she'll walk him to his preschool classroom.
"Of course!" she responds.
"Will you kiss him goodbye?"
"Probably not. Probably I'll just give him a hug and then tell him [lowers her voice to a whisper] 'have a good day!'"