Leta has been uncharacteristically calm during all the recent changes, and has not once asked to go back to the old house. She has been running so many circles around her room that a small path has been worn into her carpet. I was expecting her to put up more of a fight, but she has surprised us with how well she is adapting, and with all the chaos of living out of boxes and not knowing where anything is, this is a very welcome break from the way she usually digs her heels into the floor, the way she bites the head off of my will to live and spits it out of the side of her mouth like the husk of a sunflower seed.
Yesterday morning when she woke up she called out like she always has, except this time she yelled, “Can you please come open the door?” I only mention this because I still can’t get over the fact that she speaks in sentences, even though she’s been doing it for I don’t even remember how long. It just doesn’t seem logical that enough time has passed since those days when the only sound she could make was a sort of UGMMPH as she tried to extract her drool-soaked fist from her mouth. To now, a sentence with a subject and a verb that is conjugated correctly. I think Leta’s four-year-old step-cousin once summed up my feelings perfectly when he interrupted Leta’s very lengthy rendition of the ABC song by screaming, “HER CAN TALK!”
After I had brought Leta into bed with us, I was very much expecting her head to explode when she realized that we do not yet have a television in our bedroom, and therefore no early morning episode of Barney to watch while her father and I doze a few minutes more. In fact, she handled the fact that we do not yet have a functioning television far better than I did, I who am so severely addicted to a few distinguished prime-time shows that last night my left eye, it kept twitching through dinner because I knew that right at that very moment someone was getting kicked off America’s Next Top Model AND I WAS NOT THERE TO CRY ALONG.
Because if it were legal I would totally inject Tyra Banks into my arm.
Leta didn’t seem to notice the looming empty space on the wall of our bedroom, and instead snuggled deep into my neck. That is always a wonderful feeling, even more so at that moment because I knew she wasn’t doing it just so that I would give her an M&M. Or because she had seen an ant and was afraid that it was going to kill her. She was snuggling for the sake of snuggling, and I know these days are numbered and that it will only be a few years before she won’t even be able to say the word Mom without throwing up.
But there we were entwined like a pretzel under the covers, blissful, when she reached her hands up and told me to smell her newly polished pink fingernails, courtesy of a neighbor who watched her for a couple of hours during the move. Not sure what she was getting at I had a quick sniff, couldn’t smell anything, and then asked her what they were supposed to smell like.
“They smell like the library,” she said.
Okay. Makes perfect sense. So I asked her to tell me what the library smells like.
She giggled at me and answered, “The library smells like the library, Mom.” Like, woman, the older I get the more I learn how stupid you are.
If I had known my mornings could ever one day start like this I would have had kids, like, forty years ago.