Raven stepped back from the bathroom mirror, her lips glistening, her cheeks rosy, her dark hair pulled back into a sleek ponytail.
“I’m ready,” she called.
Robin, her 4-year-old daughter, looked up from a stack of princess coloring books. With a sigh, she returned to her coloring, her fist gripping a pink crayon and rubbing faster, faster, faster across the page until it tore.
“Robin? Did you hear me?”
“Yes,” came the sullen response.
Raven strode into the neatly arranged living room. It had been the first project on her DIY/mommy blog. The sofa was white, the walls were white, the rug was jute, and piles of pillows added pops of color. Framed photos of mother and daughter, as well as graphic prints designed by Raven, were layered on every reclaimed wood table.
“Let’s go, come on!”
Robin dropped her crayon and twisted around in her soft blue wicker chair. Her legs dangled inches above the floor.
Robin slid slowly down until her toes grabbed the rug, then she squeezed herself between the chair and the rehabbed desk. She slunk toward her mother, whose gaze rested on the black smartphone nestled in her palm.
“Ok, ok, ok.”
Raven dropped to her knees and hugged Robin to her. Robin, trapped in the tight embrace, struggled.
“Robin, please,” Raven scolded.
Robin crossed her arms, frowned.
“Smile, please!” Raven lifted the camera with her right hand.
Robin lifted one corner of her mouth.
Raven eagerly turned over the phone.
“Robin, seriously. I don’t have time for this.”
Robin, irritated, fed up, stretched her mouth to her ears.
“Ok, go sit back down.”
Robin turned on her heel, her skin scraping against the harsh ropes of the rug. She dragged the chair back before stepping in front of it. With her hands behind her, she twisted it to one side, then another, maneuvering it into place and climbing into the seat. She looked back at her mother to scowl, but once again, Raven’s eyes were on the screen.
Robin resumed her coloring.
“Honey, answer some questions for me.”
“Mo-om, I’m busy!”
“No, you’re not,” Raven replied, her finger tap-tap-tapping on the phone screen. “Now, what is your favorite animal? Do you remember?”
“Bird,” Robin deadpanned.
“Good! What would be a silly dinner?”
“Tomato soup and popcorn.”
Raven looked up, cocked an eyebrow.
“And…little, itty-bitty wormies,” Robin finished, her voice rising into forced joviality.
“Good! Last one: Who is your best friend in the whole wide world?”
Robin returned her gaze to the coloring book.
“That’s right, Robin-pie!”
Raven turned to update “Raven’s Nest.” “My baby girl is so adorable; check out our ‘Straight from the bird’s mouth!’” read the blog post description. “Cheeky! #selfie#lovethatsmile#kidsarecute” read the caption on the Instagram photo.
Raven settled on the couch to spend the rest of her evening moderating and responding to comments. Robin played alone.