ABOUT ME

About me: I'm 40 and added another gherkin to our pickle party of a family. My husband Chuck, our 8-year-old Junior, our 5-year-old Everett, our baby and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). When I'm not busy working as a graphic designer, I lie in a ball in the corner.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

When your neighbor makes you the worst smelling turkey ever

Last week I changed my blog header to the snowy frog scene and bam, it snowed.

Curious, ey?

If you're like me, you're spending this week in a pre-Thanksgiving frenzy. I don't cook, but Chuck and I do go away with the kids, which means packing and wrangling, driving and bickering.

For the last five years we've shared a timeshare condo on the ocean with my parents and Chuck's. It's right in Connecticut, so the drive isn't more than an hour and I swear I'm not complaining—ocean view for the holidays? Yes, please—but the condo is one story so we sleep in close proximity (all 10 of us). We have snorers. We have sleep talkers.

We have a toddler.

Toddlers have the propensity for destroying rooms, meals, and lives.

Think I'm being dramatic? I bet you $100,000,000 you've never had a toddler.

I'm hoping this year will be less stressful than last. Cam had just started crawling and the condo we were staying in was dressed in industrial style, uber modernistic furniture. Steel legs on chairs, dagger edges to the coffee tables, pointy sides to the beds, you get the idea. Add a few Matchbox cars to the floor and suddenly the place is a rollerskating arena of death, especially for senior-aged family members who've had a few too many cocktails.

Oops! Did Grammie just plummet face-first into the steel bolts of the fireplace?

Cam slept well in the Pack 'N Play the first night. (Why the hell do they call it that anyway? It should be called the Please Sleep in Me. Please.) Lulled into a false sense of well-being by Cam's feat, Chuck and I drank and ate way too much at Thanksgiving dinner the second night* and of course, Cam woke up screaming every 30 minutes after we put him to bed.

Around 11 p.m. we decided we couldn't spend the whole night like that. Despite the 15 fans we'd brought for white noise no one was getting any shut-eye. Chuck and I packed up Cam and all of our stuff and started for home. On the way, I called our next door neighbors who were dog-sitting and let them know we'd be home.

"We let her sleep at our house and we know you've missed her," they said, "so we'll bring her back home."

I told them that wasn't necessary. We were straddled with a baby who wouldn't stop screaming. We'd be okay without the dog, but they insisted.

An hour later we pulled into the driveway and found our neighbor Bob standing in our driveway, holding our dog. We stepped out of the car with a still screaming Cam and smelled...

...skunk.

"I'm sorry," Bob said. "When I opened my door your damn dog ran into your yard after a skunk. I chased her into the woods. We both got sprayed. I opened your door to see if I could find a towel and she ran inside. So yeh, it reeks!"

Bob had been drinking. Or he was high on skunk fumes. It was hard to tell. If you've never smelled skunk spray right after it happens, it has a sweet onion pungency to it that makes your throat burn and your eyes water. When we went inside it was even worse—but I had to put our screaming monster-child to bed.

"I'll open the windows and crank the heat," Chuck said, "if you deal with the kid." He winced—from the skunk or our child, I didn't know.

Bob followed us inside and apologized. Chuck put the dog on our screened-in porch and started to wipe her down. Thankfully she'd only been sprayed on her snout. I put Cam in his crib. He immediately stopped crying.

"Little fucker," I said as I shut his door. The upstairs was safe from the smell but it was brutal downstairs, where Bob had parked himself on the couch. He was examining his shoes.

"The thing is," he told me, "when I ran out the door to bring your dog home I grabbed the first pair of shoes I found. These aren't mine, and they stink. I'm scared to go home. I think they belong to my uncle."

Chuck returned from the porch. "I got most of it. She's fine."

"I feel terrible," Bob said. He rubbed his shoes.

"It's fine!" I lied. "We'll probably just go to bed now. The upstairs isn't bad."

"Let's get the air moving. Where are the fans?" Chuck asked. "Oh right, they're all at the condo."

Bob wasn't moving. "Let's just go to bed," I urged Chuck.

"Right!" Bob said, standing up.

"No," said Chuck. "I need a drink."

"Yes!" Bob said.

And that is how Thanksgiving ended. With watery eyes and burning throats, we tied one on with Bob. Eventually he got over his shoe worries. Eventually Chuck and I went to bed. And the best part—the part I am most thankful for—is that Cam slept until 9 a.m.

In EPT (Exhausted Parent Time) that's fucking noon. 

Happy holidays to you and your family. Like myself, I hope you have a skunkless, toddlerless time!

For more holiday merriment, check out these Thanksgiving posts from years past:

I have no idea what day it is. Plus, quit bitching about your gift cards 

Happy Thanksgiving, Buttfart Face! 

 • If you were in line tonight at a liquor store, I am thankful for you
 
Anyone wanna trade grannies?

Because a frozen turkey is riding shotgun, that's why  

Is that a drumstick in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

* Slight exaggeration for dramatic effect. In other words: We were okay to drive. I don't take drinking and driving lightly.

When your neighbor makes you the worst smelling turkey ever

Last week I changed my blog header to the snowy frog scene and bam, it snowed.

Curious, ey?

If you're like me, you're spending this week in a pre-Thanksgiving frenzy. I don't cook, but Chuck and I do go away with the kids, which means packing and wrangling, driving and bickering.

For the last five years we've shared a timeshare condo on the ocean with my parents and Chuck's. It's right in Connecticut, so the drive isn't more than an hour and I swear I'm not complaining—ocean view for the holidays? Yes, please—but the condo is one story so we sleep in close proximity (all 10 of us). We have snorers. We have sleep talkers.

We have a toddler.

Toddlers have the propensity for destroying rooms, meals, and lives.

Think I'm being dramatic? I bet you $100,000,000 you've never had a toddler.

I'm hoping this year will be less stressful than last. Cam had just started crawling and the condo we were staying in was dressed in industrial style, uber modernistic furniture. Steel legs on chairs, dagger edges to the coffee tables, pointy sides to the beds, you get the idea. Add a few Matchbox cars to the floor and suddenly the place is a rollerskating arena of death, especially for senior-aged family members who've had a few too many cocktails.

Oops! Did Grammie just plummet face-first into the steel bolts of the fireplace?

Cam slept well in the Pack 'N Play the first night. (Why the hell do they call it that anyway? It should be called the Please Sleep in Me. Please.) Lulled into a false sense of well-being by Cam's feat, Chuck and I drank and ate way too much at Thanksgiving dinner the second night and of course, Cam woke up screaming every 30 minutes after we put him to bed.

Around 11 p.m. we decided we couldn't spend the whole night like that. Despite the 15 fans we'd brought for white noise no one was getting any shut-eye. Chuck and I packed up Cam and all of our stuff and started for home. On the way, I called our next door neighbors who were dog-sitting and let them know we'd be home.

"We let her sleep at our house and we know you've missed her," they said, "so we'll bring her back home."

I told them that wasn't necessary. We were straddled with a baby who wouldn't stop screaming. We'd be okay without the dog, but they insisted.

An hour later we pulled into the driveway and found our neighbor Bob standing in our driveway, holding our dog. We stepped out of the car with a still screaming Cam and smelled...

...skunk.

"I'm sorry," Bob said. "When I opened my door your damn dog ran into your yard after a skunk. I chased her into the woods. We both got sprayed. I opened your door to see if I could find a towel and she ran inside. So yeh, it reeks!"

Bob had been drinking. Or he was high on skunk fumes. It was hard to tell. If you've never smelled skunk spray right after it happens, it has a sweet onion pungency to it that makes your throat burn and your eyes water. When we went inside it was even worse—but I had to put our screaming monster-child to bed.

"I'll open the windows and crank the heat," Chuck said, "if you deal with the kid." He winced—from the skunk or our child, I didn't know.

Bob followed us inside and apologized. Chuck put the dog on our screened-in porch and started to wipe her down. Thankfully she'd only been sprayed on her snout. I put Cam in his crib. He immediately stopped crying.

"Little fucker," I said as I shut his door. The upstairs was safe from the smell but it was brutal downstairs, where Bob had parked himself on the couch. He was examining his shoes.

"The thing is," he told me, "when I ran out the door to bring your dog home I grabbed the first pair of shoes I found. These aren't mine, and they stink. I'm scared to go home. I think they belong to my uncle."

Chuck returned from the porch. "I got most of it. She's fine."

"I feel terrible," Bob said. He rubbed his shoes.

"It's fine!" I lied. "We'll probably just go to bed now. The upstairs isn't bad."

"Let's get the air moving. Where are the fans?" Chuck asked. "Oh right, they're all at the condo."

Bob wasn't moving. "Let's just go to bed," I urged Chuck.

"Right!" Bob said, standing up.

"No," said Chuck. "I need a drink."

"Yes!" Bob said.

And that is how Thanksgiving ended. With watery eyes and burning throats, we tied one on with Bob. Eventually he got over his shoe worries. Eventually Chuck and I went to bed. And the best part—the part I am most thankful for—is that Cam slept until 9 a.m.

In EPT (Exhausted Parent Time) that's fucking noon. 

Happy holidays to you and your family. Like myself, I hope you have a skunkless, toddlerless time!

For more holiday merriment, check out these Thanksgiving posts from years past:

I have no idea what day it is. Plus, quit bitching about your gift cards 

Happy Thanksgiving, Buttfart Face! 

 • If you were in line tonight at a liquor store, I am thankful for you
 
Anyone wanna trade grannies?

Because a frozen turkey is riding shotgun, that's why  

Is that a drumstick in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

Monday, October 24, 2016

I wonder if all those years of karate will actually pay off

When you're a parent (heck, even before you actually become a parent), you live in a constant state of wonder:

I wonder how the hell I'm going to get this baby out of me.

I wonder when he will sleep for longer than an hour.

I wonder when he'll stop being so fussy.

I wonder if my mother will always criticize my parenting.

Etc.

Etc.

(The joys of parenting!)

Most of the time, you wonder about the firsts: first tooth, first step, first solid food. They're exciting, yes, but there are a whole slew of firsts that never make the baby book.

For me, I couldn't help but marvel at this bodily first with Junior. Also, the first time I had food poisoning and had to tend to two children. And the first time my kid said a bad word, even though it wasn't intentional. So many exciting firsts.

Just last night, when I was home alone with the three boys and Chuck was still at work, this first happened:

We were all upstairs when we heard a strange noise from the kitchen. Junior—who always has been my code-red child, the one who screams "RUN" and then totally books off, the one who shouts "Call 9-1-1!" even though it's not really a crisis—turned to me calmly and said, "Stay here, Mom." As he went downstairs, he put his arms into his karate stance. He came back a few seconds later and said, "All clear. It was the cat."

It all happened so fast, and yet so slowly. I stood there for a moment and stared at him. At nine, he's a solid guy. I can wear his shoes. I mistake his shirts for Chuck's in the laundry. He's as tall as my shoulders and yet, he's been my Junior, my first, for so many years I didn't recognize the "stay here, Mom" voice or the calm young man who confidently stepped down the stairs.

He saw me watching him and asked what was up. I didn't tell him what I was thinking. I ruffled his hair and told him to brush his teeth. That's the thing about children: They're so much more than that first tooth. They keep changing and surprising you and some days, you find yourself wondering who the heck this new little person is.

See? I told you it was all about the wondering.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Cranky ass Tuesday. Sorry, Parents magazine. But hey you? You're awesome

I'm going to start this post off in an unruffled way by saying—calmly—that I am a lover of magazines. If I had to assign a level of love to my well, love, I'd say I'm borderline freaky (yes, flasher at the bus stop) about them.

Every once in awhile I treat myself to Bella Grace—which is a beautifully designed, stunning magazine full of gorgeous photos—and the usual smattering of homey-cozy magazines, but I don't have 88 billion subscriptions.

If I had 88 billion subscriptions, like I'd really want to have, my husband Chuck would leave me. Because I don't read a magazine and get rid of it. I keep it forever.

FOREVER.

Seriously, we trip over small stacks of magazines in our home all the time. Surprisingly, no one gets upset. Probably because for every magazine my son trips over, I trip over a train for him. The other son? Legos. Chuck? AV cords and cables. I guess you could say we are a home of happy trippers.

(With achy feet and bruises.)

Anyway. Because I love magazines, I usually grab the free copy of Parents magazine from the pediatrician's office. I want to like the magazine, I really do. Before I even had kids I would stare at the magazine cover at the grocery store check-out and think, Someday I'll buy this. But no, even though they ditched that absurd column, I still have anger issues with the publication.

In fact, just the other day I raced into the bathroom, where Chuck was trying to poop in peace, and shouted, "WHO MAKES LUNCHES LIKE THIS FOR THEIR KIDS?" I shook the page in front of him:


(He's so sweet. He actually agreed with me before asking me to leave him alone.) 

That's a photo from Parents' September 2016 issue, called "Simply your lunch strategy." Simplify, ey? By hollowing out a few small tomatoes and stuffing them with chopped veggies? As if. The tomatoes are for Wednesday's suggested lunch. The next week's menu calls for Cobb Salad and homemade egg drop soup.

What the fuck? I ate half a granola bar that was stuck to my kid's shirt yesterday for lunch because, with three children and three different jobs, I don't have time to breathe—never mind stuff small tomatoes so my well-fed, coddled children can stick up their noses at them in the school cafeteria. And egg drop soup? Sure, I'll make it. Then I'll feed it to the garbage disposal, which is the best eater in my house when I try to introduce "new and healthy" dishes to my children.

I know what they'll eat, and I make it. That's where I'm at.

The picture below pisses me off too.



I know I'm projecting, but that woman looks miserable. She can't even keep her eyes open! She's holding that heavy ass toddler. The kid next to her is sitting on the counter, which, in this age of helicopter/velcro parenting is a big safety no-no (even though he's probably eight). She probably has had to pee since noon but can't catch a bathroom break. And she's being asked to "be silly" by wearing a fake mustache.

The poor woman probably has 30 loads of laundry to sort, tubs to scrub, a marketing campaign to finish—oh, and small tomatoes to stuff for lunch (!!) and yet, we want more of her.

We want her to laugh and play and be silly so she can "Spread the love."

She probably doesn't have enough energy to spread her butter on her own toast!

I've had it. When is enough enough? When have we crafted, given, prepped, smiled, encouraged, fed, bathed and clothed them enough? When did this sacrifice-everything-for-children-movement start? When did peanut butter and jelly, an apple and carton of milk (all organic, of course) stop being enough? Why must we origami their miniature vegetables too?

More importantly, if I'm not eating well because I'm too busy making sure they're eating well, when did that become okay and/or expected? How about an article about a mother (or father) who makes herself a delicious omelette for breakfast, then sits down and eats it—this is a big deal if you have a toddler—and then chucks cereal and milk in a bowl for her kids after she's done? Icing on the cake: She feels full, content and not at all guilty.

Right?

I'm not all piss and vinegar today. I promise. Even though I'm never reading Parents magazine again, I want to commend them on their article (also in the September issue) on balancing work and life, because it had this line:




If you're reading this post and you also want to hug the woman wearing the fake mustache because you give until you bleed, I want you to write down this line and tape it to your fridge. You don't even have to be American. You can be from outer space for all I care. Just know that you should be basking.

BUT NOT WHILE WEARING A FAKE MUSTACHE.


Monday, September 26, 2016

Yes, you can bring your toddler to the woods, but Malloy will probably tax him



I'm sorry I was gone for so long. Summer disappeared in a blink. There was nothing lazy about it, which makes me a little sad, but we did manage to log many hours outside. Except for the few weeks in August when Connecticut turned into a rainforest of humidity, heat and grossness. If there was ever a time I thought of taking the scissors to my hair and chopping it all off, that would have been it.

At 19 months, our third child, Cam, is more work than I remember his older brothers being. He scales walls, rides the dog, leaps off couches and levels rooms in two seconds flat. He's hot tempered and impatient. I've picked him up and carried him (screaming) out of places more in the last month than I ever did with either of his brothers...combined. I've never felt more of a "geriatric mother" than now.

The toddler years are exhausting.

Of course, there's a silver lining. Because he's my third child, I know this won't last forever. I know I need to take a lot of deep breaths and schedule time for myself. I know I need to walk away if I get into the red zone with my patience. I know I need to stock the cabinet with vodka. I also don't care if he doesn't eat all of his vegetables.

The best part is I could care less what people think. I wish I'd know that with my first. I would have saved myself a lot of unnecessary stress.

Speaking of stress, the picture above was taken while on a family hike. While I stood off to the side and soaked my toes, Chuck showed Junior and Everett how to skip stones. Cam sat next to me in a shallow pool and threw rocks. He was ecstatic.

It sounds idyllic, but we'd bickered in the car on the drive to the river. Chuck didn't think we should take Cam to the river. Everett had wanted to bring his Nerf gun. Junior didn't feel like hiking. I wanted us all to get some fresh air as a family. Etc., etc.

As it happens though, everything fell into place once we got into the woods. The sounds of traffic grew more faint. Fishermen scattered when they heard us approaching. The kids stopped bickering and instead noticed the leaves changing.

That's why I took that picture. Not for stupid Facebook or social media. But for myself. So I could remember that there are moments of peace and harmony. That we should spend time together as a family. That even if we still live in this ugly, overpriced state, we can still find tranquil places of beauty. And yes, that if I find a wading hole far enough into the woods, no one will hear my toddler screaming when it's time to go.

Not that I'd care anyway. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Off the clock

I'm so full of it.

Right after I wrote my last post about children clutter and how someday when it's all gone I'll "probably hate the hell out of it" I went nuts clearing off every tabletop in the house. I donated or threw away toys. I put things in their rightful place. I dusted.

It's wonderful.

So that's where I've been. Working, tidying up, sneaking in trips to the park and splash pads. Letting the kids stay up late and eat ice cream. 

And now that it's August 1 and school is only weeks away, I'm going to be away more. From the computer, I mean. I'm glued to it way too much for work and now that middle-age is officially settling in, I can't ask my eyes to squint any more than they have to.

So enjoy the rest of your summer and I'll see you in September.

Monday, July 11, 2016

What we've been up to, according to the table in the hallway




We don't have central air. We have window units, and because they're small and only cool one room at a time, I hang a sheet at the top of the stairs so they're not working overtime to cool both the top and bottom floors. I hang the sheet (this year it's a dinosaur twin sheet) by thumbtacks on either side of the stairwell.

Every once in a while, the sheet catches on someone's leg and comes down off the wall. If it's Chuck's leg, I hear him muttering that I'm trying to kill us all with my contraption. If it's Junior's leg, he screams "stupid sheet!" then clomps down the stairs in a huff.

Funny thing is, the sheet's been going up and down for the last four years and no one has attempted to find a better solution. Not even my Mr. Fix It husband. They accept my make-shift hazard and it hits me again that I really am in charge of this brood—in charge enough that they jetty around my decisions, even when they're half-assed. 

Of course, when the sheet comes down, the thumbtack flies off, and I frantically search for it. But just in case, I keep a stash of extra thumbtacks in the square mouth of the vacuum attachment, which has been sitting on the hall table for about six months. The attachment came off the vacuum one day, and I keep meaning to glue it back on but for right now, it makes an awfully handy spare thumbtack holder.

The vacuum attachment is next to Elmo, who is in his submarine. I grabbed the toy from Cam right after I gave him a bath and right before he tried to chuck it at Everett's head. Elmo's been in the tub with the boys for eight years. Junior used to get upset that Elmo was glued in—"He'll never walk, Mom?"—but Elmo keeps smiling and spinning in circles in his little boat.

Metaphor who?

Chuck's favorite book, Dune, is on the hall table too. He tried to get me to read it, but I don't foray often into space. He tried to get Junior to read it too, but Junior's wrapped up in any-and-all things Percy Jackson right now. So there it sits, until someone (Everett, maybe?) decides to give it a chance.

The dog's extra collar is on the table too. Everett grabbed it from my bureau, and I caught him trying to put it on his baby brother and attach it to the dog's leash, so he could walk Cam. Everett was so surprised I didn't like the idea I actually thought of letting him do it. I put the collar on the table right before I pushed the sheet aside and brought both boys downstairs, so we could walk the dog.

Sometimes I go into other people's houses and regret that my home isn't more put together. I feel like a little bit of a failure because their counters are sparkling and clean and because truly, every flat surface in my home is full of stuff—and not pretty stuff like vases or frames but weird stuff like Lego hands and eyeless stuffed owls and yes, vacuum attachments full of thumbtacks.

But this post, which began in my mind as a humorous attempt as self-admonishment (don't they all?), has made me feel a million times better. Right now we're in the thick of living and yah, shit's going to accumulate...mainly because kids have so much shit.

I forgot about the white harness on the table. I think it belongs to Chuck's sleeping bag. Or maybe he stopped in the hall one day, right before he almost fell down the stairs, and thought he'd harness the sheet to a pole instead of enduring the thumbtacks any longer, and he changed his mind and put it down. I really don't know.

I'm pretty sure about this: One day it'll be gone, just like that. Everett will try to harness Cam to the wall or Elmo to the tub and the harness will end up somewhere else, maybe lost among the missing thumbtacks. I'll finally find the glue and reunite the attachment with the vacuum. We'll get central air or someone (hint, hint) will put up a proper curtain rod.

Yes, one day all the stuff will be gone—the pieces of what we've been doing and how we've been falling around each other and tormenting each other and stumbling into each other—and the tabletops will finally be spotless.

And I'll probably hate the hell out of it.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

(Still) married with children

Chuck and I celebrated our tenth anniversary last weekend. Ten freaken years. That's a lot of dirty socks under the bed. I mean, love notes on the fridge.

Ahem.

My mother offered to babysit so we could go away for the weekend. Isn't she amazing? Seventy-two and still as sprite as ever. Remind me to send her something.

After belaboring options (could we really fly to Bermuda and leave my mother with three kids? Should we just rent an RV, park behind a gas station and catch up on sleep?), we settled on Salem, Mass., a walkable, low-key, and bewitching—har, har—city.

If you've never been, I can't recommend it enough. We ate a seafood dinner on the water, shopped, drank way too many Moscow Mules, poked around a flea market, stayed in the cozy guest house of the Hawthorne Hotel (the shower was in the closet!)...



... slept late, ate dinner at 11 p.m. (to soak up all those Moscow Mules) and of course, because Chuck is a somewhat retired ghostbuster we went on a Haunted Footsteps Ghost Tour.  It was seriously spooky. And look at what I caught on camera!


Myah, nothing but a cemetery—but it was still spooky. In fact, after Chuck and I sneaked behind that abandoned building in the background to swap spit (thank you, Moscow Mules) and heard twigs cracking underfoot right next to us, we raced back to catch the tour. (Fine, only I raced.) When I told the tour leader about our possible paranormal experience, he congratulated us on possibly having an encounter.

With a skunk.

Love that ghostly wit.

Chuck and I arrived back home in Connecticut refreshed, albeit slightly hungover, and lighter (but not translucent or surrounded by orbs, those are important distinctions). Which brings me to the point of this post. It actually isn't to hawk all things Salem (I'd go back in a heartbeat), but to acknowledge something that, in my opinion, is rarely said: Children can be a marriage killer if you let them.

That might sound harsh, but it needs to be said. If you forget who you are as a person, and you forget who your spouse is as a person, and you forget who you were as a couple—you know, those two crazy kids who once upon a time got horizontal—you can easily slip into the precarious dimension of zombie co-parenting. You know the dimension. The one where you let the day-to-day grind of child responsibility hack away at your souls? Where you take out your grindly frustrations on your partner?

Yes, you can go there—it's kind of impossible not to—but you can't stay there if you want your marriage to make it.

Until last weekend, I'd forgotten how much fun Chuck and I had had before we spawned. We must have logged 10,000 miles walking around cities, arm-in-arm, half in the bag. Those are some of my most favorite memories. And duh, those are the memories that made me say "I do" in the first place.

So yes, happy anniversary Chuck. Our getaway beats the shit out of our third anniversary and its  granny vaginas; our fourth anniversary, when we did something with bananas; our fifth anniversary, when I whittled you gingerbread cookies; and all the other anniversaries I apparently forgot to blog about.

I love you. And yes, if you need to start ghostbusting again you have my blessing.*

* I don't really mean that but in the spirit (HAH!) of this post I thought I should make it look like I'm a supportive spouse.

Monday, June 13, 2016

And on Sunday night in the driveway...


Everyone had meltdowns last night. The cat was even off.

It had been a busy weekend, and by 7 o'clock everyone—including me and Chuck—were cooked. I felt badly handing the kids over to the sitter, but it was almost bedtime and Chuck and I seriously needed some adult time.

Everett took our departure the worst. He held onto my leg and begged me not to go. The sitter scooped him up (this move should be mandatory in sitters) and suggested they play Candy Land. Thankfully he obliged.

We made it to the car and were sitting in the driveway, engine running, when Junior raced outside. I sighed, exasperated. Chuck shook his head. What now?

Junior motioned for me to roll down the window.

"What is it?" I groaned.

"I have to tell you something," Junior whispered.

"Hurry up," Chuck said tersely, "we have a dinner reservation."

"I know how Everett feels," Junior said into my ear.

"And...?"

"Right now," Junior said. "I know he feels."

"About what, honey? We're running late. Please just spit it out."

"Yah, Junior. We need to hustle."

Junior sighed, annoyed with us for rushing what he apparently felt was a monumental declaration. "Everett is crying because when you're gone, it's like our comfort is gone! And it just hurts a little. Even though we know you're coming back. Our comfort is gone. That's why we cry."

He kissed my cheek and ran back into the house.

Chuck and I sat there.

"It's, like, harder when they can talk," Chuck finally said.

"Yes," I said, swallowing the lump in my throat. "It absolutely is."

We left for dinner.