The air felt armpit-ian this morning, as though we were living among the droplets that collect in the wiry strands in the concave of an athlete's arm. Thick, dewy, hot. Though I had abstained from the abuse of cedar gin that felled me the morning before, I was reluctant to leave the bed.
There is this daily morning conundrum: The almost-uncomfortable bladder. The "I could pee, but I don't have-have to." It's like being on a road trip and stopping at the Little Store in Hinckley so one's companions can go, then retreating to a stall to push on one's lower abdomen to hurry along the function that, without this self-force, will strike in North Branch. It would be hard to fall to sleep again, but to void means shaking oneself from the hazy-laziness of waking.
Ultimately, I expelled the fluids and, of course, was never again able to find my sleep-spot.
The Girl slept on. She's become a teenager in her sleep patterns, pushing her wake-time to dang-near 10 a.m. I opened her door to hasten it, then again returned to our bedroom to listen to her first gusts and groans through the monitor.
It wasn't Chacha who woke, it was Witta, Chacha's alter-ego. A tiny puppy in a state of constant panting who requires an imaginary red leash and frequent bathing. This is nice. Witta does all sorts of things that Chacha will not easily do: teeth brushing, diaper changes, baths.
"You pet my fur?" Witta asks.
A few days ago, I was standing over her bed when she woke. The first thing she did is stick her tiny tongue out of her mouth and begin her doggy breathing. I laughed so hard I scared her and she began to cry. Anyway, this is how she woke again today. I can hear her quick pants as Chuck lifts her from the bed.
When she comes into our bedroom, she refers to Chuck as her "puppy dada."
Over lunch we work on a family version of the song "Manic Monday," but Chacha, she's Chacha again, refuses to be a backup Bangle.
"I sing Alphabet Song," she suggests.
Chuck and Chacha play imaginary hockey, which has complicated imaginary rules.
We eat Tempeh Reubens because now we are addicted to them and maybe we'll eat them every day.*
Chuck goes to work and Chacha retreats to her bed with the iPad to watch PBS Kids while I do laundry, fill her pool, empty the dehumidifier and otherwise allow her to be babysat by Word Girl & Company.
It becomes impossible to leave the house. I want to exercise, but Chacha wants to stand in her kiddie pool dumping water on my foot. She wants us to race from a slab of rug to the front door and back again. Again and again and again. She wants us to put together dinosaur puzzles, which she refers to as "my work," and spends most of the time muttering under her breath about missing pieces.
"Don't throw puzzle pieces at me," she says. "It hurts my boobs."
Time out: It's weird when she says things that I know she must have gotten from me. I will admit that I've told her to maybe stop stepping on my chest because it hurts my boobs. But worse than this one is when she wanders around the house and uses a sort of dizzy tone to ask "Where's my phooo-ennnn?"
Time in: We go for a walk-run and at every other corner she tells me to "ready, set, readysetgo!" and we take off. We stop in the park just long enough for the sky to turn ominous, like Destination Oz-ian and I sprint a half-mile home to avoid an important lesson about lightning.
There is a bath.
As I'm rubbing Chacha's back before she goes to sleep I hear her tiny voice say: "Get out."
Chuck gets home and now we're both on vacation.
MASTER CHEF, HOLLA.
* As a family, we've eaten two pounds of sauerkraut in the past few weeks. Has anyone -- other than us -- ever finished off a 32 ounce jar of the stuff? It seems unlikely. Possible we hold world record?