- It's early morning, so I'm wearing only a T-shirt with no bra. I am leaning over Charlie as I change his dirty diaper. I realize only too late that my unprotected breast and its outermost outcropping are therefore in dangerous proximity to Charlie's restless right hand. Grab. Clench. Twist. Pure reflex makes me jump back from the table. Pure deviltry makes Charlie take advantage of the split-second opportunity to then investigate his still-smeared bottom with the very same hand.
- I'm standing at the bathroom sink, wearing yoga pants. (That term is laughably misleading; Charlie does more yoga in a single day than I've done in my whole life. Better to call them how-many-times-I-can-get-away-with-wearing-these-without-washing-them pants.) Charlie crawls into the bathroom, sees me, and instantly wants to be picked up. He starts yanking my pant leg, trying to pull himself up, but finds the material too stretchy to give him the kind of handhold he wants. He's pulling and fussing, unable to wait while I finish flossing. Finally he pulls up on the edge of the counter, wedges his way between my body and the cabinet door, and grabs me, seizing a fistful of pants and pubic hair in a determined, angry fist. And he pulls hard, trying to climb up my body via my crotch. "Motherfucker!" I yelp, scaring him into wide-eyed stillness. Then I pick him up so that we're eye to eye, and snarl, "No, no, no, no, no!" into his tiny, rapidly crumpling face. He cries, of course; later I do, too.
- "Ca'!" Charlie squeals. "Ca' ca' ca' ca' ca'!"
"Yes, it's the cat," I agree, as the cat prepares to scamper away.
"CA'!" Charlie's crawling catward, making excellent time. "Meh!" he adds, demonstrating that he knows very well what the cat says. (That's meow, not motherfucking hell, I gotta get out of here.)
Charlie's so delighted by the cat that I decide to make it easy for him. I pick up the cat, gathering him against my chest, holding him tightly so that Charlie can pat him.
For Charlie, of course, this means thumping the cat's side enthusiastically, cheerfully poking him in the eye, and lovingly grabbing a fistful of fur and pulling. (See above.) I am encouraging him to be gentle, trying to hold his hand to show him how, but doing that while restraining the cat, who does not wish to be restrained, is difficult.
At last I take pity on the poor sad bastard of a cat, and I let him go. Because I don't want his claws to catch Charlie as he springs off my lap, I absorb the recoil of the cat's back feet myself, right against the chest, directly between my breasts.
As far as I'm concerned, "Love means never having to say you're sorry" is a big, steaming, masochistic load. My boy's got a lot of apologizing to do.