Oh you won’t be needing…
But you will use the hell out of…
Cashmere anything
Yoga pants
High heels
Slip-on sneakers with brightly patterned or crisp white socks that you don’t mind wearing to all the activities where kids go barefoot but moms have to wear socks.
Your snowboard/surfboard
All of your recyclable yogurt containers, water bottles, and plastic berry clamshells. Those are a big hit at the sandbox.
Martini glasses
Sippy cups and Starbucks tumblers
Lacy undergarments
Yoga pants
A go-to happy hour spot
A go-to hot chocolate place
A go-to karaoke song
A go-to Frozen song
Earrings
Yoga pants
A condom in your wallet
Band-aids in your wallet
Decorative bowls full of glass balls
Decorative bowls full of binkies
An Uber account
A Shutterfly account
A really good pair of fuck me shoes
A really good don’t fuck with me voice
Your flirty eyes
Your Elmo voice
Clothes that require dry cleaning
Yoga pants
Those crème brulee dishes
Those Thomas the Tank Engine dishes
We took Chicken and Buster to a restaurant the other night for dinner.

Actually, let me be precise here.

We took Chicken and Buster to a restaurant at 4:00 pm for dinner. YEAH WE DID. Say something. I dare you.

Chicken was great. I mean, he was great. He sat in his high chair. He ate his food without throwing or squishing anything in his iron toddler fist. He giggled and asked for "mo mo chicken pweese." People commented on how well-behaved he was. Ryan and I beamed at him, at each other, at the waitress, at other diners who cast happy/impressed smiles in our direction. We were basically neon.

But then someone said something along the lines of, "He's so much better-behaved than so many other two-year-olds I see in restaurants. Great job."

(RECORD SCRATCH)

Hold the phone.

There's a line here, a somewhat delicate one, that I think needs clarification.

Let's unpack your observation.

"He's so much better-behaved than so many other two-year-olds I see in restaurants. Great job."

You just told me that:

a) My son is well-behaved, which shows that he's a "good" kid with a "good" personality.
b) Ryan and I are "good" parents who have thoughtfully and consistently taught our son how to be respectful and polite when dining in a restaurant.
c) Other toddlers who aren't well-behaved are not as "good" as our toddler.
d) Parents of not-so-well-behaved toddlers are not as "good" as Ryan and I are at teaching children, enforcing rules, or creating "good" babies.

Yeah... no.

Chicken was well-behaved. Yes. THIS time. But he's also been that kid who throws food and kicks the table and climbs out of his chair, across the table, and into my lap so he can smear pudding in my hair. It's a total fucking crap shoot every single time we take him out to a restaurant.

We have eaten our food in shifts so one of us can be sitting outside with Chicken because he can't keep his shit together.

We've had to bum-rush the server at the water station to beg for our food to be wrapped up and rung up now please, yes right now, immediately, quickasyoucan.

A two-year-old's personality is a study in extremes. Today you saw an extremely charming and cooperative little boy, but don't be fooled. We are one spilled water glass away from total anarchy here, folks. We all got lucky.

I also absolutely abhor the way people throw around the words "good" and "bad" in relation to young kids. When you call one kid good, that means that he could also have been bad. A kid might be having a bad day, or bad moment, or bad night. He might be feeling bad, or be bad at handling those feelings right now, but don't ever call a kid "bad."

I imagine my baby saying, "Chicken bad," or asking me "Mommy? Chicken bad?" That shit makes me want to go Hulk and punch a wall-slash-cry and hug him tight as I can while saying "no, no, no baby. Chicken is so good. SO good." Kids aren't bad. That's a judgment that no child of 24 months should ever have to shoulder.

Also, since we're talking about value judgements - parents aren't "good" or "bad" either. It's spectacularly unfair to label a parent "bad" because a toddler is having a hard time sitting still, and just as unfair to label Ryan and me "good" because Chicken liked the dumpling house one time.

Thanks for thinking that we had a master plan in regards to teaching our son about restaurant comportment. That's a good one. Seriously. You should go on tour.

Ryan and I have one table-manners rule in our house: food goes on a plate or in your mouth. That's it. He doesn't have to eat his vegetables. He doesn't have to finish the spaghetti before he has dessert. As long as his food stays on the plate or in his mouth, I don't care what he does with it. We've held the line on this rule since Chicken was about 14 or 16 months old - if he drops or throws food on purpose, the plate is gone and the meal is over. We don't care if it was the first bite of dinner. If he's throwing food, he's obviously not hungry.

Yes, when we take him out to a restaurant and he doesn't throw food, it does make us feel like it was worth it, that he managed to absorb the lesson after every time we pulled a full plate away from him and had to wipe up spattered red sauce or applesauce or that handful of peas that exploded like a shotgun shell when he flung it to the ground.

But here's the kicker. If tomorrow he threw a fistful of oatmeal, and I removed the disincentive of pulling his plate, he would be flinging food around like Jackson motherfucking Pollock in a matter of seconds. That's the thing about punishment and reward, people. It requires absolute consistency. It's not that a toddler ever stops testing the fences you build. He just approaches them more gingerly next time. He just accepts more quickly and easily that you've said "no," like you always do. And then tomorrow he'll check again. Oh, you bet he will.

I'm so happy that our family had a nice dinner. I'm thrilled that my son ate well and enjoyed the outing, that I finally got to eat the dumplings I've been craving ever since we got that book from the library about the little boy who visits his grandfather's Chinese restaurant. I'm glad that everyone else in the restaurant was treated to the sight of a happy boy, a sleeping infant, and two beaming parents.

That was a win. But the longer I'm a mom, the more I feel certain that every parenting win is a team effort between the parents, the child, the weather, the nap, the snack, God almighty, and blind fucking luck.
Just a fun conversation with Chicken in the car:

Chicken: Binky song?

Me: You want me to sing a binky song?

Chicken: Yeah!

Me: (to the tune of "O Christmas Tree")
(this, by the way, is the song we started singing a few months ago when we really had to crack down on only using the binky for naps and bed. It totally worked for us. Maria Von Trapp and Mary Poppins were on to something.)

O Binky, O Binky,
I use you when it's sleep time.
O Binky, O Binky--

Chicken: Fresh one.

Me: I'm sorry?

Chicken: Binky song. Fresh one.

Me: You... would like a fresh binky song?

Chicken: Yeah.

Me: Okay... I guess O Binky is a little played out, huh?

Chicken: Yeah.

Me:
(to the tune of B-I-N-G-O)
There was a Chicken who had a binky,
and Binky was its name-oh
B-I-N-K-Y
B-I-N--

Chicken: Fresh one.

Me: Not a good one, huh?

Chicken: Nope.

Me: Okay, um...
(to the tune of "Rockin' Robin")

He sucks on his Binky all the night long
Suckin, and a-dreamin and a-sleepin along
All the other kids who live on his street,
Love to suck their binkies when they're asleep

Binkin' Binky
(Bink! Bink! Bink!)
Binkin' Binky
(Bink!... Binkity Bink!)
Oh, Binkin' Binky well you're really gonna bink tonight.

Chicken: Fresh one.

Me: That's it, kid. That's all I've got.

Chicken: Binky song.

Me: Which one? O Binky?

Chicken: No

Me: B-I-N-K-Y?

Chicken: Um... no.

Me: Binkin' Binky?

Chicken: No. No way.

Me: (shrug)

Chicken: Elmo song?


They told you...

how much money you'd spend on diapers.

But you never guessed...

how much money you'd spend on parenting books, organic blueberries, organic sunscreen, the organic versions of Goldfish, Oreos, Ritz crackers, fruit leather.



They told you...

that the baby would wake you up at night.

But you never guessed...

that you wouldn't be able to fall back asleep even though you're exhausted because you start thinking about what would happen if you took your kid out onto a hotel balcony somewhere and he leaned on the glass and it broke, like what happened to Eric Clapton's kid, and you make a solemn 3:14 am vow to never, ever allow your child out on a balcony, anywhere, ever. Or onto a ferry boat. Or into a school, my God, the shootings. Or to Africa. Or the Middle East. Or to that park where the hobos like to stab each other, even though the city thought that would be a great place to put a toddler splash park.



They told you...

that bath time would be such a fun and magical experience for you and your baby.

But you never guessed...

how fun and magical it is to fish out fun/magical shit (actual shit) from the bath water, drain the tub, clean the tub, and then re-run the bath. Or maybe just swab your kid down with baby wipes.



They told you...

to read to your baby.

But you never guessed...

that it would actually, physically take your breath away the first time your child finished a sentence in a book you've been reading to him for the last 18 months. That it would kind of scare the shit out of you that your kid knows every word in most of the books you've ever read to him. That it would actually bring tears to your eyes when he brings you a book and says, "read dis pweese, mommy?" That reading to your baby would become the best part of your day. Unless he picks that fucking "Zoom Rocket Zoom" book. It's seriously like 56 pages long.



They told you...

that breast is best.

But you never guessed...

how sharp those little baby gums are. And the bite power of an infant - they're like little sharks, they are. And how easy it is to not give a shit if it's a bad latch at 3:14 am. And how much it will hurt to latch on that side for days and days and maybe weeks after that one bad latch. And how ashamed you will feel that breastfeeding hurts and doesn't seem like it's working because the baby isn't gaining enough weight and that's your fault because your one big serious job as a mother is to nourish your child from your own body and you're failing at that, so you're doomed, doomed, doomed. But for God's sake, you can't give the child formula. He'll end up an asthmatic sociopath.



They told you...

to ask other moms for help.

But you never guessed...

how wonderful and horrible it can be to talk baby with other baby mamas. Nobody else will ever understand what you're going through, even your mom, even other women who have kids who are different ages. It's like running a marathon. The only people who know how it feels are other runners. Hearing another mom say "me too!" is the most tender balm on our whole body of open, blistered worries and frustrations.

On the other hand, if one baby is sleeping through the night and you ask the mom how, how for the love of God did she do it, and she shrugs and says, "we swaddled him. Like, really tight. You're probably not swaddling tight enough" then you have murderous thoughts about choking that woman to death with a muslin blanket.



They told you...

not to shake the baby.

But you never guessed...

that you'd need to remind yourself of that. A lot.



They told you...

that you'd need to do something to handle tantrums at some point.

But you never guessed...

that you'd need to do nothing to handle tantrums at some point. Because sometimes nothing is the best thing you can do.



They told you...

that you'd never love anyone like you love your baby.

But you never guessed...

that your baby would be, actually, like, pretty ungrateful of that love. And that you, despite your deep and reflexive love, would say or think terrible things to and about your baby sometimes. I say things like "I'm just trying to keep you alive..." and then I think  "you stubborn little bastard!" Or "Don't you understand that I will give you whatever you want if you will just tell me what you want and stop screaming!" And yes, yes I have said out loud "Okay, I need you to shut up, baby! Please shut up now!" while holding and bouncing a whiny witching-hour Buster in an 81-degree living room. I said it in a nice voice though.


They told you...

that you'd never get it until you were in it.

But you never guessed...

they were right.



Did I miss any?

Sorry, let me rephrase.

I missed at least 4,000. What did I miss?

Comment and share with the other 12-18 readers of this blog, plus that one guy in Russia who still checks in from time to time.


Driving home. Half an hour past naptime. Making good time, but the clock is ticking.

SUDDENLY (!)

A sedan pulls out in front of me. RIGHT in front of me.

I slam on the brakes. I honk. I barely manage to hold back the bright blue streak of swear words that I want to unleash. Chicken says "car beep!" so I'm extra glad I didn't drop some choice phrases from the prison yard.

That's annoying enough, to have to swerve to avoid a collision.

But then the light in front of me is yellow.

The sedan accelerates and runs the light just as it turns red.

I slow to a stop.

You son of a bitch.

It's bad enough that you almost sideswiped a car holding three souls, two of which are still innocent. But then you were the last car through the light, and as discussed here, sitting in a non-moving car with two young children rates just above unmedicated dental work on the agony scale.

Unless you, too, have two young children in the back of your car who despise red lights, or unless you, yourself, are speeding toward the nearest research hospital with the cures for Ebola, AIDS, and cancer in the trunk of your car, in a cooler packed with ice that will only last for the next 4 minutes, you have no excuse for driving like an asshole, sir.

And I don't think you DO have medical miracles in the trunk of your car, sir, because if you did you wouldn't have swooped right into the Burger King drive-thru line less than a block past the light where you left me stranded, trapped by my adherence to traffic regulations and inexplicable dedication to the survival of my two screaming/whining overtired offspring.

But you enjoy that Whopper. I hope you get mayo on your necktie.
Dear Gutter Cleaners on the Roof of the Elementary School,

First of all, I'd like to thank you for doing the important work of cleaning the gutters at the elementary school. It must be physically difficult, not to mention annoying, to spend your entire sunny July Saturday up on a hot roof, cleaning gutters.

Second, I'd like to examine and explain the following incident, from my point of view.

Chicken, Ryan, Buster and I were hanging out, doing some low-level chillaxin' at the toddler park. Tossing wood chips around, calling for ladybugs, leaning on playground equipment and just taking in the day. Then, from up above, we heard the following exchange:

Dude 1: Hey Steve! Steve!
Steve: Yeah?
Dude 1: Hehehe... are you... hehehe... are you a melonfucker?
Steve: What?
Dude 1: Are you. A melon. Fucker?
Steve: Haha! YEAH, dude! You KNOW it!
Dude 1: I told you Steve was a melonfucker, dude!
Dude 2: Haha that's awesome!
Steve: I fuck the shit outta those melons, dude!
Dudes 1 & 2: HAHAHAHA!
Steve: I fuck those melons all NIGHT!
Dudes 1 & 2: HAHAHAHA!
Steve: I am a melonfucker!
Dude 1: Legendary!
Dude 2: Yeah, man. Legendary!

Okay.

It was at that point that I decided I'd heard enough, and collected my family to leave.

When you saw us leaving the park, you all fell silent, and then started giggling and snorting. I can only assume that you knew I'd heard your banter, had gotten righteously offended (as moms are wont to do), and had to storm off in a huff to save my two precious angels from your crassness.

I would like to make one thing very clear.

Yes, we left because I would hate for my son to one day talk like that. But it's not for the reason you think.

I'm not here to tell you to watch your mouth. I don't patrol the schoolyard with a bar of soap. You're grown men, among a work crew of other grown men, on a Saturday, when school isn't in session.

I didn't want to expose my kids to you anymore because guess what, Shit Brick 1, Shit Brick 2, and Steve?

You aren't fucking funny.

You're like one half of a micro-step above 12-year-olds playing the penis game.

That shit is not fucking legendary. It's fucking stupid.

If you wanted "melonfucker" to ascend to the stuff of legend, you have to go harder than just repeating "melonfucker" over and over again. You have to get creative. What kind of melons? In what positions? Under what circumstances? Did you take a honeydew to prom? Was that sweet little watermelon all up in her apple bottom jeans and the boots with the furrrrr, knew the whole club was lookin at herrrr? Up the ante, boys. Raise the stakes. Get crazy.

You know who would actually sound pretty funny saying "melonfucker?" My two-year-old. Because he'd pronounce it like "meyyin-bocker," and that would be adorable and probably get us on the Ellen show after our YouTube video went viral.

You know what else my two-year-old does that's funny as fuck? He pretends to carry soup around in the palm of his hand and takes sips from it periodically. Also, he pees in the bathtub while whispering "Chicken peein." He also likes to spin around till he falls down on the ground. That shit KILLS at Gymboree.

Oh no! Did I just ruin Act II of the Rooftop Hilarity Guild's weekend matinee? I guess you'll have to follow up that legendary melonfucker routine with "potatoschtupper" or "portobelloblower." Abbot and Costello, eat your romaine hearts out, right?

My stance on profanity is this: swear words are first and foremost words, tools for communication like any other word. When used appropriately, they can communicate an idea or feeling, help enhance the humor in a joke, or stress the intensity of the situation. When used lazily, like, say, when attached to an innocent piece of produce, expletives become just another piece of verbal rubbish.

I don't give a flying fuckity fuck how many fucking times you say the fucking f-word. Go for it. Carpet-bomb the playground. Just don't call yourselves legendary because you did it. Call yourselves what you are: operating at the level of pre-pubescent rebels whispering in the back of class.

And don't congratulate yourselves on putting off the delicate sensibilities of a young mother of two. In 5 years, my boys will be able to cuss you under the table. And they'll have come by that shit honestly.



PS - It's entirely possible I didn't sleep at all well last night.
My friend had a really bad dream.

For real, this is a story about my friend's bad dream. It's not about me and Ryan, or any other real-life couple. It's about a dream-version of my friend's marriage.

In her dream, her husband came to her and said, "You're the only woman I'll ever love. I love you and I love our son. But I have to go and travel the world. I love you so much, but I am leaving."

When she told me about it, I asked her if, in her dream, her husband would consider, rather than loving her and leaving, perhaps not loving her and staying. Because if, in real life, Ryan ever presented me with that choice, I know which one I'd choose.

It sounds pathetic, I know, to ask someone to stick around even if they don't love you. But I'll tell you, when you have a kid, or 2 kids, or 3, when you've spent years standing side-by-side balancing the building blocks of your singular life jointly on your shoulders, the loss of the person sounds a lot more catastrophic than the loss of the love.

Yeeeeahhhh... couldn't you just, you know, not love me and stick around?

Couldn't you just, like, be cordial with me and continue to brew the first pot of coffee in the morning?

Couldn't you just nod and smile absently to me in passing and stay here to be the one who does Chicken's bath and bedtime? And takes the trash cans to the curb Sunday night? And makes sure the car gets serviced when it's supposed to?

It's fine if you don't love me anymore, but I'm really going to need you here to fix the toilet when it runs, and get out of bed to check that the window by the front door is closed and locked.

I totally hear you - no love. Got it. But since you're here, can you please hold the baby while I take a shower?

So, just to be clear, you don't love me, right? OK cool. But listen, dividing up the books and DVDs sounds like a massive pain in the ass, so... how about if we just do like a roomie thing.

Since we're not loving each other anymore I won't bother you with any stories about my day, but I'm going to tell you all about what your sons did. I'm going to show you pictures and videos, and I need to be able to see your face while I'm telling you and showing you. I need you around so I can see you smile, so I can see that you're still the only other person on earth who loves them the same way I do.

Thanks.
When Chicken was a baby, Ryan and I split the night at 2 am. He had the early shift and I had the late shift. It worked pretty well for us, because we each got a decent chunk of sleep, and neither one resented the other for getting more rest.

This time around, I'm taking nights solo. Ryan is sleeping out on the couch so the baby doesn't wake him up, and Buster and I "sleep" in the bedroom.

I am the one who wakes up with the baby at 3 am, 5 am, and then every 4 minutes from 5-7 am when he spits out his binky and then screams "WHO TOOK MY BINKY?!"

Yes, that is a shitty night of sleep. In fact, it's many, many shitty nights of sleep in a row.

But something happens at 7 am that makes up for all those lost hours. Ryan comes in and takes the baby.

If Ryan didn't take the baby, this is what 7:00-7:15 would look like:

1. Wake up to the sound of Buster crying
2. Immediately whip out my boob to feed him, or maneuver my body around him so I can drag myself out of bed and change his diaper

But instead, Ryan comes in, picks up Buster, changes him, straps him in the Ergo, and leaves the room.

So here's what I did from 7:00-7:15 this morning.

1. Rolled over in bed, stretched, yawned, wiggled, generally enjoyed being alone in the bed and not afraid of smothering Buster with my boobs or elbowing him in his mushy skull.
2. Got dressed, in actual clothes that I picked out because I felt like wearing them, not garments blindly ripped from hangers and put on inside-out
3. Took out the diaper trash
4. Changed the cover on the diaper changing pad
5. Ate breakfast
6. Drank 2 cups of coffee
7. Brushed my teeth
8. Put on blush and mascara (oh, the luxury!)
9. Put on deodorant (watch out now!)
10. Put in contacts
11. Started to write this blog post
12. Pooped

When a non-parent starts the day, he or she can stagger around like a zombie, take a shower, meander through the closet trying on outfits, eat breakfast, and read something on the internet while taking bites - actual bites - of breakfast.

A parent's day starts the moment a child needs something. Minute one of my day is dedicated to the needs of a pink-cheeked nonverbal succubus. I wake up and the first thing I do is attend to Buster, and for some reason, that first demand is the most draining and dehumanizing of the day.

The hilarious part about this whole baby thing - well, one of the hilarious parts - is the way it bends your days, lengthening some minutes into hours (every minute between 5 pm and 7 pm, for example) and chopping some hours into mere minutes (the hours that Chicken is napping, to name a few). And the relativity issue aside, every one of those hours and minutes is suddenly 100% spoken-for.

I know for a fact that if I didn't make time in the morning to dress myself and attend to some basic bathroom functions, somehow it would be 3:00 pm before I "had time" to put on deodorant. And when I finally did put on deodorant, it would have been one-handed, while I was pooping, and brushing my teeth, and jotting down notes for this blog post on my phone, because for God's sake I can't just do one thing at a time. It's not that I wouldn't have had 14 seconds to go to the bathroom, pull the cap off my deodorant, and run it under my arms; it's just that those 14 seconds would have come out of something that matters a lot more than whether or not I smell baby fresh.

(BABY FRESH, HUH. GOOD ONE, SECRET. There's a joke here about how not-fresh I am because I have a baby. I'm going to go ahead and need you to scrap together those parts and pretend my joke was hilarious because that's pretty much all I can give this morning. Rather than "a joke," I'm writing "the intention of a joke." Perhaps another cup of coffee is in order.)

So for that 15 minutes in the morning, I don't have to make sacrifices (dishes or deodorant, read a story or slap on some undereye makeup?) I don't have to multitask. I get to just do me. I get to be selfish.

For 15 minutes in the morning I get to be Katie, and that gives me the energy to be Mommy for all the other minutes in the day.
(overheard from Chicken's room during nap time)
(the child had been yawning and finding places to lie down for at least half an hour before I did his full nap routine and put him down in bed, where he snuggled up with his pillow and did not move, btw)

(silence)
(silence)
(silence)
Choo choo! Choo choo! 
(rustle, rustle, rustle)
(sound of binky hitting the floor)
(begins to wail)
GRANDMAAAAA!
Mommy daddy mommy daddy mommy daddy penis mommy daddy mommy daddy drive?
Cook egg?
(incomprehensible moaning and whining)
Binky! Binky! Binky! BINKYYYYYYYY! (sobs)
(stops sobbing)
Milk! 
No water!
Water!
No water!
Milk!
(incomprehensible whining and sobbing)
Cook egg cook egg cook egg GOON!
(this is the funniest joke to a toddler)
HAHAHAHA!
(dissolves from laughter into sobs again)
Rain? Raaaaaaaain!
(the first one is a question, the second a lament)
(the only way he can express his despair at this point is through vowel sounds)
Oh! Eh! Ee! Uh! Ow! Ooh! Eye!
(silence)
(silence)
(silence)
Boo boo?
Boo boo!
Poop!
(silence)
(silence)
Binky time, binky time, binky time
(moaning vowel sounds again)


In the morning I like to talk to Chicken about what we're going to do that day.

I say:

"Good morning sweet boy! How was your sleep? Did you have good dreams? It's time to wake up and start your day. First we're going to give you a fresh diaper because we want you to have clean shorts. Let's take off that yucky wet diaper!

After diaper time, we’re going to go get some breakfast. Mommy made you a waffle with cream cheese! And then we’re going to put on your shoes, and then we’re going to go out to the car and go to Gymboree so you can play with your friends and run run run!

After Gymboree we’re going to come home and eat lunch – I was thinking about making you some soup, and cheese crackers – and then it will be binky time and nap time.

When you wake up from your nap, we will have a snack, and then we have to go to the store and pick up a few things, and then we’ll come home again and you can play play play until dinner time! How does that sound?”



I pretty sure this is what he hears:

wah wah wah! wah wah wah wah? wah wah wah? wah wah wah diaper wah wah wah wah wah diaper!

wah wah wah diaper time wah wah breakfast wah wah wah waffle wah wah wah cream cheese wah wah wah shoes wah wah wah wah wah wah wah run run run!

wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah lunch wah wah wah cheese crackers wah wah BINKY TIME wah wah wah wah.

wah wah wah wah wah snack wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah wah dinner time! wah wah wah wah wah?




So I'm really glad we had this talk.
If you haven't read about my morning yet, and want to know why these two moments were the balm my poor life needed, read fucking tuesday before you read this. 

Two things saved me this afternoon.

1. When the Ergo came out of the dryer and I strapped Buster on, I turned off Monsters Inc round 2, grabbed a binky from the bowl in Chicken's room, and said, "we're taking a walk." My evil plan was to get Chicken clipped down and binked, then rock and jostle him to sleep in the stroller, in the gray Seattle afternoon while I got a light workout and listened to my audiobook. This, I figured, was the only way to get all of us to dinner time without weeping, wailing, shaving of heads, and rending of garments.

We've been keeping the stroller in the garage, so we have to descend a flight of stairs to retrieve it. Now, Chicken has a checkered past with stairs. On the one hand, one time he lunged headfirst down a flight of stairs and was saved from certain concussion only by his mother's iron fist shooting out and latching, vice-like, around his ankle. On the other hand, one time he lunged headfirst down a flight of stairs and in fact fell down a flight of stairs. He was pretty pissed about that.

Ever since those incidents, I've been the hand-holding... I wouldn't say "Nazi." I'd say I've been a hand-holding Sister Mary Vicegrip at a cliche Catholic school: Strict, convinced of the righteousness of my beliefs, convinced I do what I do out of love. Every time we have to go down a flight of stairs I say, "hold my hand. Wait, wait, waitwaitwaitwaitwaitWAIT! HOLD MY HAND. PLEASE HOLD MY HAND." He still tries to lunge down every flight of stairs we see. 

Today we got to the top of the stairs to the garage, and before I said a word he stopped. He reached up, took my hand, and said, "hold hand? okay."



2. I called Ryan and told him what had happened this morning. We laughed. He "tsk"ed in all the right places, called our sons terrorists and savages, and then he said, "Kate, I just want you to know, I know you work much, much harder than I do. I know your job is much, much harder than my job. I spend my time trying to think of what job I could get just to bring us up to equal. I don't think there is one. I spend half an hour with the boys alone and I start looking for reinforcements. I don't know how you do it."

Then he came home, ate our minestrone, said it was delicious even though it was a little under-seasoned, gave Chicken a bath and read him four stories instead of three, took Buster out of my arms, and told me to go to the movies while he cleaned the kitchen.

I saw 22 Jump Street. Alone. 

It was really funny.

I've said it before. 

My husband? Just the best.