Last night after tucking Leta into bed I turned off her light, sat down beside her on the edge of her mattress and told her I was only going to tell her one story. She pleaded with me to tell her a princess story, and I wanted to go, seriously? Do you know how many other stories there are to tell in this world besides VERY SCARY OLD WOMAN CURSES PRINCESS WHO IS THEN SAVED BY STRAPPING YOUNG MAN? Here, let me tell you about the one where the princess marries another princess, they adopt two kids and then take over congress. After helping to get an African American voted into the White House. I like that story better.
I had planned to tell her The Tumble Bus Story, the one where she was so reluctant to go on the Tumble Bus that she moaned and hollered like a hyena being gutted with a Phillips Head screwdriver, and when I tell it I always imitate that noise. Except I exaggerate it a little bit, AS I AM WONT TO DO, so when I get to the part where she starts screaming BUT I DON’T WANT TO GO ON THE TUMBLE BUS, I tend to fall off the bed, wriggle around as if overcome by a seizure, and then pretend to puke inside her Barbie Corvette.
It’s a very technical maneuver I have perfected over the years through my love of cheap tequila. And Leta thinks it’s so hysterical that often she makes a puking noise in unison with my own. We become a chorus of vomit.
So I tell her this story, except instead of it being about her I say that Sleeping Beauty is the one afraid of the Tumble Bus. Sleeping Beauty is her favorite princess right now, so she is the obvious choice. I finally get to the part where I’m flailing around on the floor, and I’m giving it my all, I’m letting the demon inside me crawl its way up through my throat and out all over the walls like a fire hose of noise. I become the physical illustration of Leta’s disdain for life when suddenly she sits up, motions for me to stop for a second and says, “Mama, I don’t think Sleeping Beauty likes that Tumble Bus.”