Happy Oh My God What Is That Thing That Tried to Kill Me? Day! Wait, you don't celebrate? I do. Today marks the passing, and I do mean the literal passing, of the embryo that implanted in my right Fallopian tube after our first IVF lo these many years ago. Seven years ago today I was lying on my bloody bathroom floor, thinking I might just possibly be dying, waiting for a sizable ectopic mass to detach and exit my body. When I say sizable, I realize that time may have distorted the accuracy of my memory; what seems now the size of a softball was probably just a, you know, baseball. Kind of a...meaty baseball, if you really must know. (In parts. Other parts, kind of Jello-y.) And speaking of baseball, the sport of kings — wait, that's...polo? NASCAR? noodling? Anyway, a giant pointy foam finger aloft for Paul! I always remember the date because it's also tax day here in the U.S. While I was deliriously humping the bathmat, he was frantically filling out extension forms for my income taxes so I wouldn't have to do my bleeding out in jail.
Thus endeth this too, too brief moment of tender remembrance. Wipe dry the crystalline tear that's trembling on your lashes, because, you know, life here is good. Exhibit A: Hat.
Exhibit B: Child who wore said hat all day long. Sometimes it was slouched to the side, which made him look like the littlest, drippiest sans-culottes the Third Estate ever did see.
Other times — exhibit C, bailiff, if you please — it just sat precariously perched, held on by what means I cannot say.
Since the hat is a few sizes too small, he ended up looking like nothing so much as a cheerful junior Adebisi.
...My son in his kitty lid, pointing to Catwoman and excitedly cooing, "Mama!" Stay awesome, Ben. Stay awesome.
(I will conveniently gloss over his pointing at the Riddler and calling him same.)
Charlie these days is not so gloriously capped, but I'm inclined to overlook this shortcoming in favor of his many other longcomings. His recent turbulence seems to have evened out; things are going more smoothly with his friends and his behavior at school is much better. I'm goddamned if I know what makes the difference. In many ways my kid is a mystery to me. But a funny mystery, wrapped in an enigma of ass-hilarity. Recently he asked us where he could get grenades. (What, the hole-digging didn't work?) I told him I didn't think it was legal to buy them. He furrowed his brow and looked...inconvenienced. "But then how," he asked, "do hunters get them?"
Speaking of hunters, did I ever post this here?
My mother sent me this clipping several months ago along with a note that says, "I can only find eight things wrong with this picture. Can you do better?" I am beginning to think that opening my mother's packages is at best a dangerous game.
And speaking of dangerous games! Which we were not actually doing. Which despite my powerful segue kung fu, I cannot actually link to the question I had for you. Which was!
...I was at the library the other day looking for books for Charlie. Now, Charlie can read. He's reading real books now, with chapters and polysyllables and words that you mispronounce because you've only ever read them — my current favorite being /pew' zlarr/ for pulsar — and everything.
I'm having some difficulty coming up with books that are challenging enough in terms of language to hold his interest, but still thematically uncomplicated. I'm sure there are appropriate books out there, and we've even found some of them, some good ones; you can have his copy of The Trumpet of the Swan when you pry it out of his cold, dead webfoot. I just don't know how to find others, short of reading every word myself to vet them. And before you laugh airily and advise me to just pick something, you uptight ass, here is what happens when I do that:
That's right. I pick a book about a veterinarian named Mandy Hope, of all things, nice girl, head on straight, and then next thing I know, a perfectly good beagle gets pasted by a motorcycle. Oh, God, Charlie, close that booooooook.
No dice. Instead she handed me a chapbook titled something like So You Think Your Child Can Read. Isn't That Cute of You, which ended up being about as helpful as you'd expect.
And I know y'all are readers and teachers and parents and librarians and smart, smart people who know what I'm like, for good and ill, and who have some small acquaintance with Charlie. So I wonder if you'd be good enough to share your recommendations. Or else the beagle gets it.
I need help, people. Please. Or a puppy will be on your conscience.