Thursday, December 20, 2007

Six nipples and a rock

Some of you have inquired whether we survived the latest virus to sweep through the Bradstein household, which was a good reminder that hey, I have a blog. As you may have surmised from my authorship of this post, we did survive, although my cure almost did me in.

3B fared the best and bounced back first, of course. Something about sleeping 16 hours a day seemed to help him recover. Mama caught the worst of this bug, losing her voice for a day, and sounding like Marge Simpson for several days after that, but she's finally getting back to normal. Something about being a consultant, stay-at-home mom in the midst of the holiday season seemed to complicate her recovery.

Me, I took the advice from a former coworker, who advised wrapping up tight in a blanket, laying down on the couch in front of the TV, and sipping through an entire bottle of tequila in one night. "Burns it out of your system," was what he said. I didn't have a ready supply of Agave-ade, so I substituted 63 martinis at our company holiday party. Something about those 126 olives made it easy to sleep my way to recovery that night.

And something about the 45 glasses of water and doses of Excedrin Migrane made it possible to walk upright the next day, despite what felt like the LSJUMB percussion section threatening to play and endless loop of The Obvious Child behind my eyeballs all day.

This time worked out slightly better than the last time I took the Cuervo cure (read: no hurling out car windows or in Denny's bathrooms--hey, if I didn't mention it, The King would), although it did have me sleeping through much of the last night that Mama and 3B were here before flying up to Grammy's for Christmas, which wasn't cool on several counts.

I was able to get home from the party before 3B went to bed, but all those olives had me laying down for a long winter's nap myself long before Mama was able to finish packing, getting our remaining gifts organized, finishing the final loads of laundry, and all the rest of what's required to leave home for two weeks with a toddler. So, even though Mama was gracious about it, I've been feeling like it was a bad-dad-no-biscuit move.

The tiny upside is that I would never have been tempted to such imbibery (imbibification?) at my former job. Sure, maybe with some of my former coworkers in a smaller group, but never at the holiday party. Which means that I'm still loving my new job and coworkers. And since they left, I've been able to pick up some of the slack with laundry, and receiving packages from Amazon, including some gifts and several new glass and Born Free bottles. Somehow, we only got the default latex nipples for the glass bottles, not the silicon nipples we ordered, so I've got to track those down.

But now that Mama and 3B are gone, and Barky and I are rattling around the house, I'm missing them more than I might if I hadn't gone to bed so early that last night. Then again, I'm not sure it's possible to miss them more than I usually do.

As they drove me to work before heading out for the airport, we went by the firehouse that we look down on from our condo, and the ambulance was out by the curb. Instinctively, both Mama and I said, "Look, 3B--ambulance." And, for the first time, he said, "Ambulance." OK, so it sounds more like "amby," but for the rest of the ride, every big red truck was an "amby.

And so, as I jostle along on the bus, typing this, every time we go by a red truck, I have to restrain myself from tapping the leg of the guy dozing off next to me and saying, "Look, an ambulance!" The same goes for whenever I see a bus, or a plane, or a truck, or a van, or a motorcycle, or a crane, or a dog, or a cat, or a baby, or another child, and I have to keep from singing out "Woo woo!" whenever I see a fire engine.

This morning, while walking Barky, I found myself pointing out the garbage truck, one of 3B's favorite vehicles to watch: "Look at the lights flashing. And the men putting the trash in. And the compactor..." Only to look down at Barky who was giving me one of those, "I'm really worried about you, Dad" looks. Then, I looked across the street and saw a mom holding up her son, who looked about 3B's age, so he could marvel at the trash truck over the roof of their car before she strapped him in to his car seat.

When I got home and was moving the laundry from the washer to the dryer, I heard a clunk in the wash tub. I rooted out a rock that I'm sure had fallen out of 3B's pocket, just as rocks (and bolts and nails and pieces of glass and coins and so on) had fallen out of my pockets into the wash, driving Mom crazy. And that just made me think of how I might have called Mom and told her that her curse worked--I got a child just like me, and how we would have laughed over that a little bit, and then she would have told me that I was never any trouble at all, because that was a reflex of hers. And I would have been reflexively comforted by that little white lie we would have shared.

And missing Mom made me ache a little more for Mama and 3B. It's as if I've lost an arm and a leg, but I can still feel them moving, as if they were still attached to me. And they are still attached, but not close enough to reach out and hold onto, so I set down the rock in the pile of useless nipples on the kitchen counter, started the dryer, took a sip of coffee, leashed up Barky, put on my coat and hat, and headed out into the inky cold morning.

Subscribe to the Bradstein feed--Vorsprung durch Technik!

Better by design
Or get new posts via email . . . Enter your email address:


  1. I remember one evening standing on the street corner with my brother Doug and a young (less than a year old)Chris and a fire engine went screaming by. Chris looked at it excitedly and pointed shouting out some random sounds. I said, "That's right, fire engine," while at the same time Doug said," Yes, a fire truck!" and then we exchanged glances, and laughter, and agreed that it had been very exciting one way or the other. Chris also enjoyed every vehicle with lights on top in DC when we drove through. He was much older then maybe 4 years old. He would point and shout out RooRoo. Didn't notice a single monument or significant building. What happened to those days?

  2. You need to call us if your stuck flying solo. We'll have you up for dinner.

    Seriously, you'll end up eating dog food or become one of those old ladies who talks to something chicken stock.

  3. Somewhere in the archives are a couple dozen shots of roo-roos with Laramie, Wyoming, in the background, courtesy of a young photographer named Doug.

    Jackson Browne has a lovely delicate lyric that picks up on the nuance of absence, the way a singer describes it: "It's like a song I can hear, playing right in my ear, that I can't sing--I can't help listening."

    Sure is dark these mornings. After tomorrow it starts getting brighter again. So may we all.

  4. Yesterday us adults went to NYC for the day while the kids went to daycare. Grownup time, right? All day long we kept noticing things that would only be interesting or significant to our kids. Roo roos included.

    And I have to empty out my own pockets every evening because of the little kid detritus I scoop up reflexively all day long. Usually a lovely assortment of paper clips, crayon nubs, bits of tissue paper, beach glass, and yarn.

    The Obvious Child! Ba-dum-pa-dum-pa-dum BUMP BUMP!

  5. I'm glad you guys are all feeling better. I'm sorry about missing your mom. I'm sure it's a constant ache, and yet it may also feel like a tide that hits in random strong waves.
    Sorry about that.

  6. My dog likes it when we stop to look at trash trucks. They smell like the dump, another favorite place, because she gets cookies from the folks at the scale.

    As far as missing folks, I can send you rocks snd various pieces of metal from my washing machine too. The boys must be related.