Bedtime
by Mom

... and the very best mommy in the world slept oh-so-sweetly that night, all because bedtime had gone according to plan. The end.
















Step 1: Eat dinner. Vegetable frittata, pasta with marinara and kale, ice cream.
Step 2: Color with crayons. Creative expression, quiet wind-down play, something fun to mail to my parents in the next letter.
Step 3: Take a bath. Play with water, splash gently, experience discovery, pour water from your cup back into the bath and learn physics.
Step 4: Go into bedroom. Quietly. Calmly.
Step 5: Soothing baby massage. Allow Chicken to pick his own pajamas.
Step 6: Milk, quiet play with storybooks and stuffed animals.
Step 7: Bedtime story, kiss, goodnight.



Bedtime
by CHICKEN

Tonight I'm reminded of something Fidel Castro once said: "It doesn't matter how small you are if you have faith and a plan of action." It is time to show Mom that I may be small but I will NOT go gently into-- is that the rubber duck? I LOVE the rubber duck!!!
Step 1: Eat dinner. Ice cream.

Step 2: Eat crayons. Better than ice cream.

Step 3: Learn that I can pour water not only IN the bath, but OUTSIDE of the bath! On Mom! On her pants! On the floor! And if I shake my cup! IT GOES ON THE WALLS! 

Step 4: Run into bedroom. Slam the door. THERE ARE SO MANY SOUNDS I CAN MAKE WITH MY MOUTH LIKE A SEAGULL!!! CAW! CAW! CAW!

Step 5: Poop on floor.

Step 6: Step in poop on floor.

Step 7: Run away from Mom across the carpet with a poopy foot.

Step 8: Scream and thrash while Mom cleans my foot, butt, and hand (because I also grabbed my poopy foot.)

Step 9: Baby massage. Mom rubs lotion on my whoooole body and then I roll on the carpet and find out how long it's been since Mom vacuumed. (I'm crunchy now.)

Step 10: Pick pajamas. Fire engines.

Step 11: Pee on pajamas.

Step 12: Pick more pajamas. Pirates.

Step 13: Scream and thrash while Mom puts on my diaper and pajamas.

Step 14: Shake milk upside down on the library books.

Step 15: Pick my favorite book. The world is too big sometimes and I need to sit down on my pillow on Mom's lap. This is the best place in the world. My foot still smells a little like poops.

Step 16: Bedtime story. Kiss. Goodnight.
Remember, safe driving is sexy to the right kind of woman.

If she wants you to run the stop sign, she probably has herpes.


Oh, the agonized howling of waking up from a second nap. 

By now it’s 3:30 or 4 in the afternoon and Chicken cannot believe he has to wake up AGAIN.  I go into his room and there is his face, wrinkled, pink, unfriendly, scowling out from between the bars of his crib. His hair, damp with sweat, riots in random tufts around his face. 

He looks insane.  

Or like he just lost a headlock fight in an attic in Phoenix. 

He rips out his binky and hurls it back into the crib with a little “DOOT!” of effort.


This is the noise he makes when working really hard on something. I hand him a disposable camera that I STILL haven't had developed since 2010, and all we hear is “Doot doot doot doot,” for the next 20 minutes as he turns the mystery trinket over and over, charging the flash, winding the little wheel, shaking it, putting the tiny pads of his fingers in every crease and chanting his focus word. 

Doot. 

It doesn’t sound like the noise a growing brain would make. It doesn’t sound like the wonder it is. 

Doot. 


In all honesty, we don’t think about wonder when he wakes from the second nap. It’s straight to the snack chair for a post-nap blood sugar bump. 

But in a few minutes, the miracle will rise like a full moon. He’ll be settled in his corner, on his blanket in his chair, one hand wrapped around a hunk of warm cheese, the other buried under the folds of the blanket. 

Who knows what he’s cramming down there, or how deep. All I know is, I’d happily scrape a thousand years of snacks from the upholstery. 

It’s a small price to pay for the person who gets to witness the miracle of a hand, a brain, an eye, a cheek, a throat, a tongue, rising up together to declare to the world, “I may be small but I am mighty.” 

Doot.
Me: So this woman was talking to me at Gymboree, telling me, like, WAY too much about her son and his problem with biting. Apparently he is getting asked to leave his day care because of it. She goes "Look at that angel over there. Can you believe he's left scars?" I look over at her son. A) He's probably 3 years old, full head of curly crazy-man hair, DEFINITELY wearing size 6 diapers already IFYOUKNOWHWATI'MSAYIN--

Ryan: --I don't--

Me: --B) he's got this glazed-over-dead-eye-shark expression on his face and he's closing in on Chicken with his mouth already half open.


Ryan: Really?

Me: I was like, "CHICKEN? CAN YOU COME SEE MOMMY PLEASE. NOW. PLEASE," and Chicken is ignoring me so I'm reaching out to put my forearm between Jaws and Chicken. I figure kid's got to prefer a nice fleshy forearm to a toddler skull.



He's an angel. Look at that face. From 30-40 feet away, ideally.

Ryan: Why would she tell you her kid's a biter?


Me: Better to be honest, probably. First rule of spin is get ahead of the story, right? Plus, it seemed like she really needed somebody to talk to this afternoon.


Ryan: Never underestimate the loneliness of a parent. We spend all our time with animals, basically. 


Me: Yep, We're zookeepers. 


Ryan: Throw the meat on the ground and run.

Me: To Gymboree. To talk about it.