Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

Internal Digital Readout

Ever since Jon quit his job Leta has been sleeping in until 8 AM, two hours later than usual. This is typical Leta behavior and I should have seen it coming: whenever Mama could get a potential break because Dad is going to be at home she goes ahead and gives us both a break even though DAD DOESN’T DESERVE IT. Yes, he endured a job that regularly stomped on his soul and a boss who was so insensitive that — bear with me now, the rest of this has to be typed in all caps because justice demands it:

WHILE WAITING FOR MY DOCTOR TO SIGN MY RELEASE FORM IN THE PSYCH WARD, JON CALLED HER TO TELL HER THAT I WAS COMING HOME AND THAT HE WOULD BE INTO WORK THE NEXT DAY. HER RESPONSE WAS, “WHAT PERCENTAGE SURE ARE YOU THAT YOU’LL BE INTO WORK TOMORROW?” NOT, GLAD SHE’S FEELING BETTER, OR HOW ARE YOU DOING, OR WE’RE HAPPY YOUR WIFE DIDN’T KILL HERSELF, BUT WHAT FUCKING PERCENTAGE SURE ARE YOU THAT YOU’LL COME BACK TO WORK AND LET ME KICK YOU DOWN WHICH IS MY ONE JOY IN LIFE. AND THEN SHE HUNG UP.

And let me just add this part: BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIITCH.

So, no, Dad doesn’t deserve to sleep in. What percentage sure am I that he doesn’t deserve to sleep in? He can sleep in when he successfully breastfeeds a 15 pound squirrel for six months. Then we’ll talk.

This morning, however, Leta reverted back to her evil ways and began belting out a wounded scream at 5:30 AM. She sounded like she might have her head stuck between the bars of her cage crib, and that was the only reason I ran to her rescue. Had it been a foot or a finger-stuck scream I would have let her fend for herself because you can have those reattached. The head, not so much.

As I neared her door, however, a red ERROR ERROR ERROR message flashed through my head and I thought for a few seconds that this might not be a good idea. Those were my instincts kicking in and I should have listened to them, just like that one time when my instincts said DO NOT DRINK BOURBON OUT OF A PLASTIC WATER BOTTLE. Those instincts, man. They’re there for a reason.

She was happy to see me, of course, and her screams shifted immediately into shrieking glee. I could see my window of opportunity closing rapidly so I carried her back to our bed and tried to get her to lie down next to me. And that worked about as well as wrestling a wet pig to the ground in a mud puddle, arms and elbows and knees at geometric angles not conducive to peaceful sleeping arrangements. I will go ahead and admit right now that she is my kid in this regard, that I do not sleep well if I am required to keep my limbs in the upright and stowed position. My elbows always end up over my head and in Jon’s face no matter how many times he shoves them, violently, back over my body toward the wall. He can count down five seconds, and by the time he gets to one my elbow is in his eye AGAIN. If I can live with his talking, he can live with my elbows. Marriage.

Then she sat up straight and just stared at me as I pretended to be asleep. See Leta? Mama is ASLEEP. Remember when she said SHIT the other day and you imitated her? DO THAT NOW.

Have you ever had someone just sit and stare at you in the dark? And then after a minute or two they start speaking in a language that sounds vaguely Chinese? It’ll creep your shit right out. I’ve never seen Jon hop out of bed so fast except for that time I told him I was naked in the kitchen. He had her back into her crib within seconds, and the explanation he gave her went along the lines of, “Our bed isn’t big enough for you and your mother. Lie down. I don’t want to hear it.” She was asleep within minutes.

We went back to sleep until she woke up at 8, and when we heard her talking to herself in the other room Jon commented, “Do you feel like we’re cheating? THIS IS LIKE SUMMER VACATION!”

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