Last week my mother agreed to watch Leta for a few hours so that I could get my hair colored. I guess the word “agreed” isn’t necessarily correct in the sense that my mother informed me that she would be taking my baby away from me for two hours and I either comply or be written out of the will. Not wanting to jeopardize the lifetime supply of Skin So Soft I stand to inherit I gave in without any argument. I have never seen my mother so in love with another human being, and there are some nights when I hear a noise outside and I’m certain that my mother is here to kidnap the baby.
I’m thrilled that my mom has become so involved in Leta’s life. Family was the primary reason Jon and I moved back to Utah, and I honestly couldn’t have made it through the last seven weeks without my mother’s help. She has single handedly stocked Leta’s entire wardrobe, and although the clothes are a little more flashy than I would normally prefer, I don’t see the harm in having a daughter dressed like a mini Avon World Sales Leader. Plus, we can use the money we save on baby clothes to buy more chocolate.
Leta is still too young for me me to feel comfortable leaving her for any extended period of time. When I do leave her I feel like I’m cutting off my arms and legs, and I’m left this armless and legless nubbin who can think about nothing but getting back to her. I know this will change and that when she is two years old and prone to repeating things like MINE and NO that I will drop her off at my mother’s doorstep and I will run away screaming. Actually, I think it will be neat to teach her certain phrases during her repetitive stage, phrases she can demonstrate at grandmommy’s house, phrases with a little more grammatical oomph like “AVON SUCKS!”
When I am forced to leave her — and in the instance of me getting my hair colored there was actual forcing going on; no woman who averages a 400% sales increase in the fourth quarter should have a daughter whose roots have become so dark and unruly that they are threatening to annex her face, how tacky! — I would rather leave her with no one but my mother. She has that annoying grandmotherly ability to comfort a baby just by entering the room. How the hell does she do it? Is it something they teach at grandmother school?
Leta can be wailing that certain baby wail that says I am now officially possessed by the Devil, and I can pace and shush and sway back and forth, and the Devil inside my daughter just laughs at me. My mother, however, wields some sort of secret Pope-like power and can cast out the demons just by picking her up. It’s infuriating! And of course she does it with a wickedly smug grin on her face as if she hasn’t already made me feel incompetent enough. In these instances I want to threaten my mother that if she looks at me like that again her granddaughter will grow up surrounded entirely by Revlon products, which to the Avon World Sales Leader would be the equivalent of me threatening to sacrifice my daughter at the alter of Satan.
Regardless of our occasional tensions I’m really grateful for the two hours I got to spend having someone fix my embarrassing roots. While the color dried on my hair I had the almost orgasmic luxury of reading a magazine uninterrupted, and when I glanced at the table of magazines sitting next to me I almost passed out from the possibilities. Should I read an article in Vogue or spend the whole 15 minutes reading People from front to back? I decided to seize my inner tackiness and I picked up US Weekly because I knew that I was guaranteed at least three whole pages dedicated to Britney and her lack of thinking capabilities. My mother would be so proud of me.