Evil, Evil, Evil Me

The DragonMonkey broke into my cabinet and stole my face cream.

Again.

For, like, the bazillionth time.

His fascination with skin care products is not a new thing. According to the DragonMonkey, his face is perpetually chapped.

Egoblart? Medjuck barnephew?”he mumbles sadly, pantomiming rubbing lotion onto his cheeks. The DragonMonkey would kick some serious heiny at charades. It’s pretty impressive how deep of a conversation we can have when 90% of his words are still unintelligible mumbling.

“We just put lotion on twenty minutes ago. You’re fine.”

Mejduth praphino,” he sighs, looking downcast. He pats his cheeks again, forlornly.

“I know what you’re asking, and the answer is no.”

Futhipar Greeblwok! Futhipar Greeblwok!” He slaps his cheeks harshly, voice shrill with insistence. Apparently, if he doesn’t reapply lotion right now his entire face will suddenly catch on fire.

“No.” What can I say? I’m an evil, lazy mommy and I didn’t feel like dealing with the inevitable mess that always results when we open a bottle of lotion.

The DragonMonkey throws himself down onto the floor, shrieking inconsolably. I would put him in the corner, but it’s still warm from him standing in it two minutes ago. It kind of loses its effect if you do it too often.

Besides, in order to put him in the corner I’d have to get closer to him. I glance down at him as he howls in rage, slapping his palms against the hardwood floor.

He’s noisy, and I have a headache.

So instead of disciplining I step over him, and wander off to go pet the dog.

“You like me, don’t you, Max?” Bad Max wiggles with delight, body trembling with excitement. “Who’s a good boy? You are? Yes, you are! Good boy! Good boy! Yes, you are!”

Max wiggles in place for a few more seconds, then explodes with happiness. He races in a circle around the grey area rug in the living room, tongue lolling out the side of his mouth. He’s a good boy! He’s a good boy! Yes, he is!

The DragonMonkey can’t resist.

Hahahahahahahahaha! Doggie dance! Doggie dance! Methrophe fizzlebot, boom boom! Doggie Dance!” Magically, the crying shuts off and he darts over to chase the dog around the living room, both of them feeding each other’s happiness.

It’s noisier than ever, but at least it’s a happy noisy. I pick up the Squidgelet from his swing and pop him on my lap. He stares quietly at me, smiling peacefully. I smile back at him, drawn into his quietness.

I spend the next few minutes alternating between smiling at him and tickling him, making him laugh. The DragonMonkey didn’t laugh until he was almost five months old. Squidgelet started at 6 weeks and I’m still infatuated by it. It’s such a novelty having a happy, easy-going baby.

With the distraction of the Squidgelet’s deep, infectious belly laugh it takes a few moments before I realize the house has gone suddenly quiet.

Uh oh.

Baby tucked under my arm like a football, I start looking around the house, room by room.

Kitchen?

Empty.

Den?

Deserted.

Living Room? Hallway? Boys’ bedroom?

Still. Silent. Abandoned.

Glancing over at our bedroom, which we normally keep locked, I notice the door is cracked open.

Crap.

As I round the corner from our bedroom to the master bath I hear small scufflings and happy noises. Well, at least I know he wasn’t abducted by aliens.

Of course, when I open the door and survey the damage, there’s a moment where I wish he had been.

Apparently, in the brief moments when I was distracted by his younger brother the DragonMonkey managed to break into the cabinet beside our sink. It’s not like I left it open, either. He even went as far as bringing in the step stool from the backyard in order to reach the prize. And what might that prize be?

My extremely expensive face lotion, which is now smeared in thick, goopy peaks all over his face, arms, the bathroom wall, the shower floor, etc, etc, etc.

DRAGOMONKEY!?!” At the sound of my voice he jumps, then immediately flings the emptied canister behind the toilet. What is Mama so upset about? There’s nothing in his hands… he’s completely innocent!

Never mind the fact that I’m watching hard earned money drip off his face and splat in age-defying, wrinkle-erasing glops on our bathroom floor.

“Did you get into my lotion again?!”

Suddenly, someone is finding it very hard to meet my eyes.

“Did you get into Mama’s lotion for the THIRD time this week?” Seriously, kid, I’m running out of places to hide it. How do you keep finding it?

“Yeah.” He looks downcast for a moment, almost apologetic, until I see his hand sneaking up and slowly reaching in the direction of the canister for more.

I sigh, and lean down closer. “Because you knew better, this time you will get three spanks for disobeying.” I hold up my fingers. “One, Two, THREE spanks. And if you do it again, you will get five spanks. Do you understand?”

The DragonMonkey bursts out into tears.

Feeling like an ogre, I take his hand and bring him over to the bed. I take my time about it, because it’s the anticipation that’s the real punishment. By the time we get there he’s howling. I take my three fingers and give three light smacks to the bottom – I doubt he even feels them through his diaper. Then he gets two minutes on time out. Afterward, I bring him over to the couch.

DM, why did you get three spanks?” I hold him between my knees, ruffling my fingers through his hair.

Methorphith, bleeginorp, mmmndah,” he says miserably, pantomiming opening up my face cream and putting it on his face.

“Yes, that’s right. You used Mama’s face cream and you got three spanks because of it. But I forgive you. Kiss?” He gives me an impatient kiss on my cheek, already bored of the conversation. I release him and he disappears into the backyard to harass the dog.

That’s the end of that, right?

Wrong.

Later that day my stepdad was helping me load him into the car. I was tuning out the constant stream of unintelligible conversation pouring out of the DM’s mouth as I loaded the Squid into his car seat. From the other side of the car I could hear excited chattering, occasionally interspersed with my stepdad’s (Toto, according to the DragonMonkey) absentminded “Uh-huh’s“. Suddenly I heard this:

Nnjawakcka, methrophit, MAMA HIT.”

I glanced up, sharply. “What was that, DragonMonkey?”

The DragonMonkey looked at me accusingly, then deliberately turned his back. “Mehtrophi, fizzleboth,” he said to his Toto, as he pantomimed grabbing a step-stool and reaching into the back of the cupboard.

Thriphgopht nonpizzle,” he said, opening up the pretend bottle of face cream and fake-rubbing it into his poor little chapped cheeks.

Thriphgopht nonpizzle,” he reiterated, glancing at me briefly, before returning his attention back to his grandpa and launching into the grand finale, “MAMA HIT!” He swung his arm wide and feigned a blow that would have downed a horse.

“I did NOT!” I sputtered.

“MAMA HIT!” he said again, this time staring at me as he raised his arm above his head and began to dramatically reenact a world-class beating. “HIT, HIT, HIT. MAMA HIT.”

I gaped.

“Toto,” he said sadly, “Thriphgopht nonpizzle (there I was, just innocently rubbing some lotion into my poor, neglected, chapped little cheeks)…….” he gave a theatrical pause, “MAMA HIT (and then my evil, evil, evil mother burst out of nowhere and began pummeling me!)” By this point he was thoroughly into the retelling of the story, and he began using both arms to illustrate the pretend beating.

(Pretty much how the DragonMonkey was describing me)

My stepdad nodded sadly, eyes twinkling at me. “Is that so?”

The DragonMonkey stared at him gravely and nodded. “Mama HIT.” Smack, smack, smack went his arms as he energetically demonstrated the beating a third time. “Hit,” he said sadly, looking at me, obviously disappointed in my behavior.

Crap. Maybe I liked it better when he couldn’t speak at all. At the rate we’re going, I’m going to be lucky if I don’t end up in prison.

A Nighttime Symphony

A Symphony of Sounds

brought to you by:

Our Nighttime Household

*CLICK* goes the light switch.

*WHIRRR* goes the fan.

Dark goes the room.

*Snore* goes the husband.

My eyelids grow heavy, and after rolling around for a few minutes I drift off. I enter my second life – my vivid dream life. Brilliant colors, background music, swashbuckling adventures await… I don my secondary persona and dash off into adventure….

“MEEEEEEEEEEEH!!!!

I’m ripped out of my dreamworld as Squidgelet gives an angry, hungry grunt and whips his head from side to side. Sleepily, I roll over and pop open the nursing bra clasp. He latches on with a grumpy grunt.

I drift off into a semi-awake state.

*SNORE* goes the husband.

I pop off the Squidgelet and switch him to the other side.

I drift off into that half-awake state again.

Snore goes the husband.

Whirrrr goes the fan.

I’m having a relaxing, half-dream about horses.

The sound of the fish spitting the pebbles against the side of the aquarium wakes me with a jolt, and I realize that Squidgelet is pretty much done. Since I don’t really enjoy being a human pacifier, I pop him off, heave myself up with a grunt, and put him in the swing at the end of the bed.

I crawl back into bed, and after about 10 minutes of tossing and turning, I manage to drift back to sleep. I keep one ear open in case the Squidgelet decides he wasn’t done nursing, but it appears he’s back to sleep.

*CLINK! CLINK! CLINK!* The stupid fish spit pebbles against the glass walls of their aquarium prison. I lay there with my eyes shut, hating them.

CLINK! CLINK!

At some point, I manage to drift off again.

“MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEH!!!!”

With a grumpy sigh I lurch up and crawl across the bed, grabbing the Squidgelet. I hobble on my knees back to my side, and lay down to nurse.

He grunts and latches on angrily. I wince.

I drift off.

The left side begins to run dry. I can tell, because instead of calmly nursing, it feels like the Squidgelet is trying to suck my soul out through my nipple.

I pop him off to switch sides and he squawks angrily. He whips his head about blindly, too angry to latch on to what’s right in front of him. When he finally finds it, he bites down frantically.

I hate growth spurts. I know he’ll be back to normal in a day or so, but in the meantime… C’mon, Squidgelet. Mommy likes having normal boobies. If she was into BDSM and pierced nipples, she’d bring it up with Daddy. Please, please be gentle?

I drift off.

CLINK! CLINK! CLINK!

I hate fish. Tomorrow night we’re going to have goldfish sushi.

Snore goes the husband.

Whirr goes the fan.

My eyelids grow heavy.

“WAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!” goes the DragonMonkey.

I lay there a moment, feeling sorry for myself. I glance over at The Bean, who is laying face down, arms akimbo, blissfully sleeping through the racket.

I spend a few moments hating him and his ability to sleep through everything.

“WAAAAAAAAAAH!”

The DragonMonkey begins to shriek louder, and The Squidgelet stirs. With a sigh, I heave myself out of bed. I could wake the Bean, but since I’m already awake, there’s no sense in both of us being up at the same time.

I stumble into DM’s room, where he’s sitting cross-legged in his bed, wailing inconsolably.

“Aww, sweetie, what’s wrong?”

The wailing shuts off mid-scream as he thrusts an empty bottle at me. “NEW BABA. BABA. BABA NEW.”

I take the bottle from him, and he scoops up his blankie, takes a disdainful sniff, and thrusts it at me. “EWWW. Wash blankie,” he demands imperiously.

I pick up the blankie, expecting to feel it soggy with pee… but nope. It’s perfectly dry. Lately the DM has been obsessed with the just-from-the-laundry smell, and apparently the blankie that was washed that afternoon no longer smells like dryer sheets.

I hand it back to him, shaking my head. “I’ll get you a new baba, but your blankie is just fine.”

He thrusts it back at me. “Blankie EWWW. Wash. WASH!” he demands.

“I don’t think so, buddy. You did not just wake me up at one in the morning to demand I do your laundry. Nuh-uh. Not happening. Now lay back down.”

He flings himself sullenly on his mattress.

I warm up a bottle of vanilla soy milk (gag!) and give it to him. He accepts it begrudgingly.

I return to bed.

The feel of my weight on the mattress wakes the Squidgelet. I sigh, and pop him back on to nurse.

Whirr goes the fan.

Snore goes the husband.

Clink, clink, go the stupid, idiotic soon-to-be-short-lived fish.

I drift off.

WHINE goes the dog.

I jolt awake, disbelieving. No. I didn’t just hear that. No way.


WHINE, WHINE
goes Max.

Forget the fish. Forget sleepless nights. Forget traffic, and coffee stains on white blouses, and living in the city. Forget cancer and Hitler and rheumatoid arthritis.

I don’t hate any of those things anymore.

I hate the dog.

WHINE, WHINE, WHIIIIIIIIINE goes the dog.

I burst out of bed and go charging down the hallway like an angry Minotaur.

The dog takes one look at me and averts his eyes.

I fling open his kennel door and he skitters outside, sniffing the ground and circling.

I wait by the sliding glass door, toe tapping furiously. Pee, already. Pee, you dumb, whiny, sleep-depriving, useless animal. I glance at the clock on the stove – two in the morning. The alarm goes off at five. Yaaay.

Max finally pees then returns to the door, looking up at me lovingly with his tail stump waggling. I love you. I love you, my mistress. Thank you. Thank you for letting me pee. I love you.

I relent, and briefly reach down to scratch behind is ears. I still resent him, but I no longer daydream about tossing him down the garbage disposal. “Good boy, Max. Go to bed.”

He does.

So do I.

“MEEEEHHH…” Squidgelet wants to wake up, but I’ve already anticipated him and I pop him on a boob before he can get going.

Whirr goes the fan.

Snore goes the husband.

Clink, clink go the fish.

I drift off.

Coyote

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! EEE! EEE! EEEEEEEE!!!!

Anguished screams come from the living room, ripping me out of my sleep again.

Crap.

Ever since Coyote learned how to hunt about two months ago, he has been dragging home his kills and bringing them in through the kitty door every night. I’d be upset with him, but unlike many cats he’s not bringing it home as a present – he actually eats what he kills. Most mornings the only evidence that he was successful is a blood stain on our nice, grey carpet.

Scrubbing rodent blood and entrails off the carpet is such a pleasant way to wake up.

You wouldn’t think a clean, southern California neighborhood would have so many rodents, but we’ve learned otherwise.

I’ve learned to identify his kills by what he leaves behind. Mice are my favorite thing for him to catch, since they only leave behind a tiny bit of blood.

Rats leave behind a larger pool of blood and have too large of a skull for him to completely finish, so if the stain is larger and there’s a set of yellowed teeth pulled back in a death grimace beside the stain, then it’s obvious he killed a rat.

Gophers are my least favorite of all. Baby gophers leave behind patches of inedible fur, a stubby tail, and what appears to be a section of intestine.

Adult gophers are too large for him to finish, and are generally eviscerated, leaving loops of intestine lying in delicate, widening spirals. They always manage to die in the most bone-chilling ways, their anguished expressions and curled toes seeming almost human. Finding a dead gopher in my living room feels like walking into a serial killer’s lair – it’s disgusting, and completely unnerving. You can almost hear the whispers of, “It puts the lotion on its skin, or else it gets the hose again.”

Coyote’s propensity for hunting is surprising, considering he’s the most mellow cat I’ve ever owned. I rescued him from the streets of Taft the weekend of my grandma’s funeral. Depressed and stifled by the press of well-meaning relatives and stale cigarette smoke, I handed DragonMonkey off to The Bean and went for a walk. I’d walked the streets of the sleepy town many times during the years I lived with my Grandma, and there was something healing about feeling the same stretch of pavement beneath my feet once again. The sun beat down on the back of my neck, and I began to relax. It was comforting, losing myself in the familiar ache of being too-hot, feeling the aching scorch of the sun making my skin tingle. I stopped beneath the shade of a tree, leaning against a block wall as I took a moment to cool down. Glancing at the house, I noticed a pack full of lanky kittens staring curiously at me from beneath the shade of a bush.

“Kitty, Kitty! Tch, tch, tch!” I waggled my fingers enticingly, and to my utter delight two black kittens began to emerge from the sleepy pile. I seated myself on the wall, and grabbed both of them. The first to arrive was slightly taller, and I could hear his purr even as he trotted towards me. The second was a little quieter, and instead of throwing himself at me in ecstatic abandon, he flopped down beside me companionably.

“You can take them, you know.” I looked up at the voice, and saw a woman peeking through her front porch, smiling at me. “You can take them all, if you want.”

“No, I’m just loving on them. Thanks, though.”

“No, really, you should take them. I don’t even want them – they’re not really mine. The neighbors across the way moved and left their pregnant cat behind. I couldn’t watch her starve so I fed them, and now they won’t go away.”

I held the first kitten beneath my chin, and it rubbed its head against my chin, purring increasing in volume. “I’ve already got a cat, thanks.”

“Well, if you change your mind, feel free to take one.” She disappeared back into the air-conditioned shadows of her house.

I flipped the kittens over on their backs, scratching their tummies and marveling at their placid behavior. For nondescript, run-of-the-mill black cats, they sure had incredible personalities. I spent a few more minutes cuddling and murmuring into their fur before returning back to the house.

As I slept that night, I couldn’t get those stupid kittens out of my head. Life for a street cat in Taft is generally short, and not easy. It gets hot during the summer months, and water is hard to find. That, combined with the unusually high number of stray dogs tends to make most outdoor cats live no more than year or two. Those kittens were so sweet. Most kittens are cute, but every once in awhile you run into a kitten that you know is going to make a once-in-a-lifetime cat. It seemed like such a waste for those kittens to languish in a front yard until they eventually got hit by a car. Besides, I felt like taking something with me – some memento, some part of Taft. With my grandma gone, I knew I wouldn’t be making the three hour drive anymore.

I wrestled with it throughout the night before finally deciding to leave it to fate. If the kittens were there on the way out of town, I would take one.

I grabbed an old laundry hamper and lined it with a towel. We said goodbye to family, loaded up the car and then passed by the house on the way out of town. I opened the car door, the late-summer heat enveloping me. I looked over at the bush, and then up at the porch. No kittens.

I felt a surprisingly sharp pang of sadness.

“Tch, tch? Kitty, kitty?”

“Prrt?” A soft noise returned my call, and I looked down at the shade beneath a low-hanging tree. The second of the two black kittens looked back at me, mellow and friendly. I waggled my fingers at him, and he stretched slowly before meandering over. I picked him up, burying my nose in his fur, tears sliding down my face, dotting him with dampness. I don’t know why, but finding him there felt like the real moment of saying goodbye to Grandma, and to the life I had known with her.

I wiped my tears away in his fur, returning to the car. It was almost unnerving the way he reacted to being shoved in a dark hamper – I expected lots of loud meowing and skittering. In stead, every time I peeked inside he looked back at me — purring.

He adjusted to life in our house seamlessly, with a mellow, friendly attitude. We named him Coyote as a tribute to the life he escaped – kittens in Taft are often referred to as “coyote candy”, a fairly realistic term. The DragonMonkey abuses him mercilessly every time we turn our back for more than a second, picking him up by his middle and dragging him around like a stuffed animal. I try to encourage Coyote to fight back— scratch him, for goodness sakes! — but he’s just too good-natured.

I think that’s why his sudden desire to slaughter every small animal in sight is so surprising. Who is this carnivore, and what did he do with my mellow, sweet, peace-loving cat?

I’m thinking of renaming him Dexter – friendly by day, serial killer by night.

The other morning Coyote brought home a gopher that was so huge my first instinct when I saw the disfigured skull in the morning was, “Holy crap – he’s gone cannibal and eaten a cat.”

At any rate, on nights when Coyote isn’t that hungry he takes his time killing whatever poor, hapless rodent he’s brought back. I used to get up and try to save them. With their large, terrified brown eyes and adorable faces, I couldn’t stand the thought of them slowly being eaten to death.

The night I walked in on a half-grown rat with a broken back changed that.

EEEEK!” screamed the rat. I rounded the corner and stared in horror as it scrabbled around in lopsided circles while Coyote stared down in bemusement, stroking it gently with a soft paw, claws sheathed.

“Prrrt?” asked Coyote, staring up at me with mellow, golden eyes. Do you see my new pet? Isn’t it funny?

“EEEEEK!” screamed the rat again, thrashing in terror.

“Prrrrt?” Look! It is amusing, isn’t it? He stood up and padded over to me, leaning against my ankles. Pet me? Hold me? I want loving and cuddles.

EEEEEK! Please, for the love of all that is holy, end my agony! The pain! The pain! Please! AAAARGH! EEEEK!” screamed the rat.

Love? Cuddles? Snuggles? Coyote continued to press against me, purring. Snuggly wugglies?

I stood there, frozen in horror.

No cuddles? Okay. Perhaps later. For now I will go back to my plaything. Coyote walked back over, sitting calmly beside the rat, and continued to pet it softly with a velvet paw, appearing amused as the rat redoubled its fruitless efforts at escape. Shhhh. Shhh. It’s okay. Shhhhh. I’m just going to torture you before eating you alive. Shhhhh.

I’m a coward.

I crept back into the bedroom, ashamed at myself for not putting the rat of out of its misery. I shut the door and pulled the pillow over my ears, trying to block out the thin, piercing squeaks. Please, just die. Please. DIE. PLEASE DIE.

I started hating the rat, resenting its stubborn tenacity to life. PLEASE, DIE ALREADY. I have to work in the morning. PLEASE? PLEASE DIE. JUST FRIGGIN’ DIE!!!!

Eventually it did succumb, and by the next morning all that remained were a few drops of blood and an anguished-looking snout.

Coyote looked up as I entered the room, stretched lazily, and padded over to me. Loves? Hugs? I love you.

With a sigh, I scooped him up, and he flopped himself bonelessly over my shoulder, purring loudly.

Creepy, serial killer cat. I don’t know what I’d do without him.

Excerpts

Lately, my days have been slam-busy.

They start at 5 and don’t really wrap up until after ten. The Squidgelet is a much better sleeper than the DragonMonkey ever was, but he’s still up two or three times a night.

I wish I had more energy to write more. I really do.

I dream of a world where I’ve just come in from riding my horse to my spotlessly clean, peaceful house. I pour myself a glass of fresh-brewed sweet iced tea and head out to my wrap-around porch to indulge in a little writing (PAID writing) as I watch the sun sink behind a hill on my property. The grass is long, bending beneath an evening breeze that makes the fields ripple like water, and I breathe deeply of the still, sweet, NO-PEOPLE-AROUND-ANYWHERE evening air.

Usually, whenever I fade into that reverie the DragonMonkey takes advantage of my slight moment of distraction to break something or to hug his little brother into screaming wakefulness.

Yeah.

So, that said, here’s a couple of vignettes to tide people over until I can manage to finish a normal post:

===============

The DragonMonkey is an avid conversationalist— the problem is that between the mix of English, Spanish, invented words (nonope means oatmeal? Really?) and just plain mumbling, it’s hard to understand more than 10% of what he’s actually saying.

I can tell that this frustrates him a great deal, but until he learns how to speak words a little clearer there’s not much I can do.

The other day he was talking to me about the “twen”.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but up until that conversation I had no stinking idea what a “twen” is.

Ten?
Twin?
Den?

There were an infinite amount of possibilities.

knfljoieknf;knkl TWEN! 8r53jlkfjklfdj TWEN! Ur39jkfdnklfjdj TWEN! 5ru0ojkfjsdl;akfj49kdfsn; TWEN UP! UP! BYE! RU390JFDJ;LK TWEN! UR932JHJKL BYE BYE, TOTO! UEIOWJ;EKLJ TWEN!”

He sat on my knee, barely managing to catch his breath as the words tumbled over each other. The story was getting more heated and was accompanied with intense facial expressions and a whole lot of arm waving.

Finally, after the 97th repetion of “TWEN! TWEN!” I decided I should actually try to figure out what he was talking about, so I interrupted him:

DragonMonkey, what’s a ‘Twen’?”

He paused mid sentence, arms falling to his sides as he gave me a look of disgust.

Choo! Choo!” he said scornfully, using his arms to emulate a little toy train rolling along as he made the classic train noise.

“Oh. TRAIN. Gotcha.”

I swear I actually saw him roll his eyes before he launched back into his story.

====================

DragonMonkey: “8490jlkfdsjnk;lafhjioewrklwenfsm klewjioru32oihfknklfdnkl;?”

Me (pretending to pay attention as I reread Shogun for the millionth time): “Uh-huh.”

DM: “uioreji;klndfsklhiowhikenwfkdnklewiorhewnfdknklfnl TWEN uteowjklfdn;kl TWEN!”

Me: “Uh-huh.”

DM: “u9oqr3jklfjkjrewioknfd DOGGIE ureoiqwjlfknwdk TWEN uroewijklwenfkld EVAN uwioerklnfkd araña utioewjkfdns; house fjdos9ejowm choochoo!”

ME: “Really?”

DM: “ruiowjefkldnklfnewkrehwionfkdsn Aaaaaaa, Mama? Aaaaaaa, Mama?”

Important tidbit I didn’t notice at the time: “aaaaaaaa” was said in the same drawn-out tones tone people use when they are spelling something out loud: Ddddd Ooooo Ggggg! Dog! This is important to know because “aaaaaaaah” said in that tone is DragonMonkeyese for “I am writing on something.”

Me: “Uh-huh.”

DM: “Aaaaa Mama?”

Me: “Uh-huh.”

He gave a contented sigh and begin happily coloring on my knee.

With a green Sharpie marker.

And I wasn’t even allowed to get mad since I was the one who granted him permission.

=============

Me. Iced tea. Wrap-around porch on a summer evening, the sweet scent of horses filling the air. Knees that aren’t scribbled on by condescending two-year-olds. Hey, a girl can dream, right?

Dewey

The DragonMonkey is a beautiful child.

I know I’m his mother and that I’m biased, but it’s the truth. Whenever we go out in public we get swarmed.

He’s so gorgeous!

Look at his eyes!

What a beautiful child!

What a handsome little man!

He should be a model!

It’s been that way since he was a baby.

Lately, we’ve even been hearing, “He looks just like that kid from Sixth Sense!”

While I’m proud of my son, I wouldn’t care how he rates in other’s eyes….

Except now I have a Squidgelet.

When I go out in public, I don’t hear the same oohs and aahs.

I hear things like, “Wow, what a healthy-looking baby!”

“He’s definitely alert!”

“He looks solid!”

The Squidgelet is a peaceful baby, and I have to tell you— that is a WELCOME addition to this household after the past two years of terror that the DragonMonkey inflicted upon us.

Squidgelet is totally content to just hang out. He enjoys being held, but if you need to put him down, that’s okay.

He’s an incredibly smiley baby, too.

He started laughing at 6 weeks old and hasn’t stopped since.

It doesn’t take much to make him happy. As long as he’s not hungry or wet, he’s happy. In fact, on a regular basis I’ll walk into the room and see him propped up in his swing, laughing his little heart out.

At nothing.

It’s kind of disconcerting, actually. What in the world is so funny about a wall? Or a door jam?

I used to wonder about it, until someone snapped this photo of the Squidgelet:

And that’s when it clicked:


Aaaaaaah. Now I get it.

I gave birth to a little, bitty, reincarnated Dewey from Malcolm in the Middle.

Mawwiage

“Ooooh, yeeeeeaaaaaahh….” The Bean groans, head tilted back, eyes closed.

In front of us, the hotel tv blares out the jumbled words of a late-night comedian, but neither of us is paying attention.

“Right there?” I whisper softly.

“MMMMMMMMMmmMMM!” He groans loudly in response, and the baby stirs slightly in his swing beside the bed.

“Shhhhh!” I caution, hands still moving.

“Sorry, sorry,” he whispers back. “It just feels so good.”

“It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?”

There’s a small pause, and then the relative quiet of the room is broken again with another moan.

“OH, YEAH, Becky… YEAH… MMMMmmm!”

I wince at the sudden noise and glance worriedly over at the baby, but this time the Squidgelet doesn’t even stir.

“Mmmmmmm…” The Bean makes another pleased noise, and I take a moment to wonder whether our neighbors can hear us. The hotel is booked solid after all.

Screw it. It’s my anniversary weekend. Neighbors be damned. If they didn’t want to hear us then they should have booked in one of Bakersfield’s better hotels.

“Are you ready?” I run my hands over him, poised.

“Oh, yes,” he whispers back, eyes closed in anticipation.


CRACK!

“MMMmmmm!” The Bean groans again, lips curving into a smile as I finish cracking one of his toes.

“That was a good one!” I give his foot a small rub, then move onto his right foot. “Ready?” My fingers hover over his pinky toe, ready to pull.

“YEAH, baby. I’m ready. Do it!”

CRACK!

“Wow! MMmmmm. Crack the next toe!” he begs, wiggling his foot enticingly.

Hey, maybe they don’t make dirty movies about moments in marriage such as this, but it’s the little things that keep a relationship alive. Mawwiage. That bwessed awangement. That dweam, within a dweam….

Two babies. Three years. Forty bazillion toe crackings and “Bean, do you know where I put my cell phone?“s later, life is good.