29 November 2010

Happy birthday, you old goat

I recently celebrated my forty-second birthday. I think that I'm aging well, but over the past few weeks, events have been conspiring to make me wonder if I am deluding myself.

The first time, we were out for dinner for Sacha's birthday. Sacha was sitting next to my mother, adorning her with kisses. A woman with a large bouffant and over sized glasses sitting at an adjacent table, leaned toward our party and said, "He sure does love his grandmother!" As my mother agreed, the woman looked to me, and added, "I see he loves to kiss both his grandmothers." My mother explained that I was his mother, not his grandmother, and we shared a laugh at her ailing vision.

The following week while I was on line at the market with Sacha, a little girl behind us struck up a conversation.

Girl: Hi; I'm three!
Me: Wow, you're very big!
Girl (nodding at Sacha): How is is he?
Me: He's almost five.
Girl: I'm three!
Me: That's just what I would have guessed!
Girl: How old are you?
Me: I'm forty-one.
Girl: Are you his grandma?
Me: No; I'm his mother.

And then, on the morning of my birthday, as I snuggled with Sacha, we had the following exchange:

Sacha: Mama, today is your birthday.
Me: Yes, it is.
Sacha: Happy birthday!
Me: Thank you!
Sacha: How old are you?
Me: I'm forty-two.
Sacha: WHAT?
Me: Forty-two.
Sacha: Whoa, whoa, WHOA! That's old!
Me: Actually, it's not really.
Sacha: No, it is. Forty-two is really, really old.
Me: How about we go brush our teeth?

12 November 2010

Insult and injury

This week Sacha has developed an unfortunate habit of waking at that dreaded unnamed hour, when the sky is just beginning to lighten around the edges. When this happens I dare not look at the clock, because it will only confirm that although my sleep has been effectively ended, it is still far from time to start my day.

I think these mid-night wakings are due to a combination of daylight savings and a few too many nights of eating a late dinner, but whatever the reason, they have resulted in a seemingly endless loop of sheet washing — perhaps some semi-secular alliance between god, the water utility and a shadow arm of the Coin Laundry Association are having a laugh at my expense. More than once this week I've stripped Sacha out of wet pajamas, and brought him up to my bed. I could change his sheets and put him back in his bed, but I am constitutionally opposed to doing laundry in the middle of the night. Hope springs eternal, and I am unwilling to risk what little chance I have of falling back to sleep for the sake of housework.

While a middle of the night snuggle with a delicious child is decent consolation for disrupted sleep, recent experience has taught me that even this innocent act is not without risk. A few weeks ago when Sacha had an accident, Gabriel was already in our bed, so I tucked Sacha into Gabriel's bed and laid down with him for a few minutes. Sometimes, it's like a French bedroom farce around here. Sacha could not get back to sleep, and several failed attempts to make my exit later, I decided the only reasonable thing to do was to slip him a mickey give him a tablet of melatonin.*

He quickly grew still, but as I tried to extricate myself from his bed he popped up once again. At this point I accepted that there was no way I was getting back to my bed, got myself a melatonin and settled back in with Sacha. Just as I was drifting off to sleep, I felt a hot stream of urine hit the small of my back. Now, two beds were wet, and I was wide awake. I walked stiffly back to my room in my cold wet nightgown, changed my bedclothes, and got into my warm, dry bed. As I pulled the covers up to my chin and exhaled, David's alarm rang.

And so, with some trepidation, as I carry my son up the stairs to my bedroom, I issue a silent prayer that nothing, or no one, gets pissed on. Because if this goes on much longer, I may take to sleeping in rubber fetish gear, which would have the advantage of being both and practical and sexy.

*There are drugs that save, or vastly improve the quality of lives, and while I can't claim melatonin has done either, I still consider it a miraculous substance. Before we started giving it to Sacha at bedtime, it could take him hours to fall asleep. Although he was never loud or disruptive, he would lay quietly in wait, and every night, as I checked on him on my way up to bed, he scared the shit out of me when he popped up and gave me a hug.

02 November 2010

Behold the next generation of foul-mouthed youth

One recent evening the boys were watching television while I made dinner. Sarah, who was reading in the living room, expressed concern that the show was inappropriate.

I wasn't terribly worried, on the theory that a show airing at 6pm on Cartoon Network couldn't be too off color. But you can never be certain, and Sacha is already plenty cheeky. With two older siblings controlling the remote, his viewing habits tend to be a bit lowest common denominator. I checked in to find the boys watching Adventure Time, which I have vague recollections of as being somewhat surreal and not half bad.

This was not the response Sarah was looking for, because she followed me back to the kitchen to suggest I put on a different show. I allowed this line of inquiry to continue by asking for examples of objectionable language, but she demurred.

Me: Are they using curse words?
Sarah: Not exactly.
Me: Then what kinds of words are they?
Sarah: More like pre-curses.
Me: Pre-curses! Precursor curses. Like...dodo?
Sarah: No.
Me: Doofus?
Sarah: No. Like...stupid.
Me: Ah.
Sarah: Or jerk.
Me: Well, that's nothing he hasn't heard before.
Sarah: Or, 'This is jacked up.'
Me: Actually, it might be pretty funny to hear Sacha say that.
Sarah: Yeah, but sometimes they say things like, 'Go to hell.'
Me: That wouldn't be good.

Some of Sacha's most amusing utterances have been appropriated from television dialogue. I've seen him shake his fist and shout 'Curse you!' at offending inanimate objects, and he favors 'I have no i-clue,' an amalgam of 'I have no idea' and 'I don't have a clue.'  Last week while taking a bath he told me that karate takes skill, and practice, which I especially like because although it was lifted from a delightful book, it sounds like something overheard on a late night infomercial. 

And thus we devised a litmus test for appropriate television content — would this amuse or embarrass coming from Sacha's mouth? It could make a good drinking game; play at your own risk.