Every night at about 6:45, usually a half-hour before her bedtime, Leta starts running laps around the living room. Sometimes she chants the theme song to Dora while she does this, sometimes the song about all the monkeys jumping on the bed, and she never has on pants. This started just a few weeks ago and was a shock the first time it happened, because Leta has never been a very physical kid, and I wasn’t even sure she knew how to run. But there she was all of a sudden burning circles around the couch, over and over again, her arms and hands splayed in a not very graceful way at her sides. Exactly like I run, like a seal whose flippers have suddenly morphed into legs and has no idea what the hell to do with them.
On the third or fourth night of these ritual laps she started asking one of us to chase her, except the way that she asked us was to scream DO NOT GET ME, and at first I was all, okay, no problem, I won’t get you. And as I went back to reading my magazine she got uncomfortably close, put her nose against my nose and screamed it again: DO. NOT. GET. ME. Meaning, I want nothing more than for you to get me, but I can’t seem too eager because I’m cooler than that.
So we chase her now, around and around the couch and occasionally into the kitchen, and Chuck cannot handle it, thinks we know something that he doesn’t know, like there must be a very good reason The Humans are running around in circles, and he feverishly follows right behind us, his paws barely making traction on the hardwood floors, like, WHERE ARE WE GOING? WHERE ARE WE GOING? WHERE ARE WE GOING? IS THERE FOOD WHERE WE’RE GOING? WHAT ABOUT BACON? DO THEY HAVE BACON?
Last night she turned all of the lap running into game of chase and then into a game of hide and seek, and every time she hid from Jon she chose the same hiding place, the far side of the island in the kitchen. And every time Jon found her she couldn’t believe that he had found her so fast, her face a frozen expression of HOW DID YOU DO THAT? Every time she went looking for Jon I had to hide my head in a pillow because I could not stop laughing. Because she would stand dumbfounded in the middle of the living room, her forefinger pressed to her lips, like, hmmm… he’s not right here out in the open, this game is so complicated.
I was sitting there watching all this happen, watching as Chuck followed Jon to his hiding place and stood there staring directly at him, his tail wagging and thumping the couch, and Leta checking every place but right where Jon’s large ass was obnoxiously sticking out from behind a chair. The only thing missing was a Google map of our house and a red pin sticking straight up out of Jon’s skull to signal HERE, HERE, HERE, and when she finally waddled over to find him crouching down over in the corner, not at all hidden from anyone, she puffed out her chest and started squealing triumphantly, like, LOOK WHAT I JUST DID.
I know that sometimes my writing is overrun by capital letters, and yeah, I’m sorry about that, but Leta’s life? It is lived entirely with the caps lock on.