"No!" Clark says. "No kisses."
"No kisses? That's what Mommies are for," I say.
A shake of the head.
"No? Mommies are not for kisses? Then what are they for?"
"I'm making pancakes," I tell Frances. "Do you want to help?"
"Will you put chocolate chips in some of them?"
"And will you put plain in some of them too?"
It's night, and in bed Frances hugs the new babydoll Santa brought her.
"I don't have to hug you, Mommy, because I have this baby to hug."
Then later, when I go in one last time, the baby is on the far side of her, not being hugged at all.
"She'll be fine by herself," she tells me. "Babies are a lot of work. It's better when they're three."
Which is true.