Last Wednesday morning Jon and I decided that we would join the rest of my family for a short hike just a few miles away from our cabin. This decision was a big step for me because the hike would interfere with Leta’s sleeping schedule, and I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to Leta’s sleeping schedule. Interference causes screaming. Have I ever told you about the screaming? I don’t know if I have ever mentioned the screaming, but in case I haven’t this is all you need to know: you won’t like Leta when she screams.
The previous day Leta had taken three thirty minute catnaps, and that was all the napping she did for the entire day. It was partly her fault because she is very stubborn and finds her Mama’s anxiety attacks somewhat amusing. But her catnaps were also the result of the family in the cabin directly next to ours, a family who thought it was perfectly normal to rev their ATVs ALL DAY LONG outside our window. I should point out right now that if that family is missing their 16-year-old son who had a bad attitude and needed to stand up straight and button up his shirt, the 16-year-old kid who based his entire self worth on how loud he could gun that engine, that I MOST CERTAINLY DID NOT strangle him and throw him in the river.
So I woke up Wednesday and thought to myself, why am I sitting around this cabin being held prisoner by an unbuttoned 16-year-old? And when Leta woke up I informed her, “It’s your turn to work around MY schedule, and we are going to go on this hike and you are going to LIKE IT whether you want to or not.” And then she burped and shit her pants. I took that as a sign that all systems were GO.
The entire family drove up to the trailhead in three separate cars. We would have taken four cars but that seemed excessive. The surrounding scenery was indescribably beautiful, like this:
And I remember thinking to myself, this is totally worth it, I am so glad we decided to shatter all semblance of Leta’s daily schedule and walk a mile up this gorgeous mountain where there is no hot water to make a bottle and no soft surface to take a nap. She is liking it even though she doesn’t want to like it. I am Master of the Universe.
And that’s when God decided to smite me with his sword of Screaming Leta.
With no hot water to make a bottle and no soft surface on which to take a nap, we found ourselves assaulted by an inconsolable force of fury. On the side of a mountain. In the sun. By a lake. With pretty trees.
I tried plying her with beef jerky and all ten of my yummy fingers. I tried walking her up and down the path while singing every song in the Morrissey catalogue. I idiotically tried to feed her a cold bottle with cold milk and a cold nipple and was met with a reaction that said, “You are wretched, fiend-mother. I would rather you offer me a witch’s tit.”
And that’s when the anxiety attack hit, my mouth spewing forbidden obscenities in front of my mother and several innocent nieces and nephews. And I began running back down the mountain clutching Leta to my chest in an effort to shield innocent birds and squirrels and baby rabbits from the screaming sword of God’s wrath. Jon followed closely behind carrying all of our gear and speaking rational words of logical logic to guide us down the trail.
About 20 steps into our descent God opened up the heavens and began to rain down upon my wickedness heavy rains and golf-ball sized hail. I managed to hold Leta close enough that her head was spared any pelting from the golf balls even though she tried every maneuver in her repertoire to pry herself from my grasp, arching her back and pushing her body away from mine. It was like she knew there were golf balls falling from the sky and she was trying to catch them with her mouth.
Rain and hail and wind and screaming followed us the entire hike back down the mountain and when we got back to the car she continued to scream until we could warm a bottle up in front of the heating vents. We were soaking wet and bruised from God’s game of miniature golf.
That was probably the lowest point of the week, other low points being screaming matches between certain members of my family and the throwing of keys BY SOMEONE OTHER THAN ME! And then there was the constant fear that certain nephews might crush Leta’s skull by walking back and forth around her play area, except these nephews have never really walked anywhere in their lives, unless you can classify STOMPING AND THRASHING as a leisurely stroll.
We are so happy to be home, to be sleeping in our own beds, to be dodging flying objects thrown only by me. Leta took two two-hour naps yesterday as if to say, God thinks you deserve a break, Crazy Lady. No more food poisoning, no more enclosed quarters with my lovely family who all eat hotdogs with no buns, no more revving ATVs. No more cabbage in my bra, no more sleeping on my back because every other position sends searing pain to every part of my body, NO MORE GRUMPY BABY.
Please God, no more grumpy baby.