Archive for the ‘my son’ Category

The die story

November 26, 2012

A few Thanksgivings ago my baby cousin Sterling and his girlfriend came down from Washington. At dinner, they announced their engagement.

Wee hooo! I love a big announcement on a holiday.

After dinner, we pulled out the party games. We were going to play one of my favorites, Scattergories. Sterling’s affianced had never played before.

For this game, you have 12 categories, and a letter. You have to think of something in each category that starts with that letter.

Fun stuff. I always win.

I started passing out pencils and category lists, and we realized the die wasn’t in the box. I had left it in my bag of tricks for the Journalism Club I ran at the elementary school.

Alison said, “No worries. I have a die in my purse.”

We tried to stop her. “It’s not a regular die. It’s a many-sided die covered in letters.”

She kept walking toward her purse. Sterling’s fiancee doesn’t listen, I thought.

She came in rummaging through her little purse. Me, I carry a backpack. Between my canister of Wet Ones and my novel, I have no use for Louis Vitton.

“Here’s a die!” she said. I shook my head at her.

She pulled out a hand-carved wooden 26-sided die with letters on it.

My son yelled, “Welcome to the family! You pass.”

click for photo



November 23, 2012

Beatle George has an 8-year-old son. They were over for Monday Night Football tonight.

My son discovered with an outburst that the child has never seen Jaws.

How does this happen? I’ve insisted George bring the boy to me Wednesday so I can fix him.

To my mind, 4 is the right age for Jaws watchin’.

This decision came by happenstance. Uncle Jer and I were upstairs in the Boulder house, flipping through the channels on a Saturday afternoon, when we saw that the movie was about to start.

We looked at each other with excitement. “Pop some corn!”

Then my son wandered in.

Badda bing badda boom. Four was the right age.

We initiated him carefully. We told him what to expect. “Hear the music? That means you’ll see some red spots in the water. Here’s a scary part.”

Then I couldn’t wait for The Baby to turn 4. I stood by the set with the unpopped corn counting down the days from her third birthday.

We had left Uncle Jer behind in Colorado, but acquired the flick on VHS. My son and I popped corn and brought her into the club.

Now it’s Bennett’s turn. 

My kids know the routine by now. We’ll pop the corn, give the warnings, and as one, we’ll shout, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat!”

I’m thinkin’ since the kid’s 8, we’ll have to watch it twice.

A new expression

November 9, 2012

When I was a kid, we would say, “Oooh. You got burned!”

When my kids were little, they would say “You got told!”

About a month ago my son said, “Oh! He took your five dollars.”

I thought I knew the root of this, but it couldn’t be. It’s too obscure.

It is. He remembered it, and coined an expression.

Many years ago I told him a joke I am embarrassed to tell you I told him.

Two deaf guys were sitting around. One signed to the other, “What will we do tonight?”

This joke is really better with the visual aid of hand signing, which I do poorly, but which makes the joke better nonetheless. Please imagine signing with this.

“Let’s pick up some chicks and park at the point.” And that’s what they did.

The deaf guy in the back seat tapped the one in the front. With his hands, he indicated a problem — no condoms.

“No problem,” signed the one guy. “I’ll drive us over to 7-Eleven.”

The back seat guy goes in the store. A few minutes later he taps on the front window.

“There’s a problem,” he signs. “The condoms are behind the counter, and I can’t get the guy to understand what I want.”

“Just put $5 on the counter and pull out your penis.”

A few minutes later, tap tap tap.

“Did you get the condoms?”

Shaking no.

Then, with hands: Here’s what happened. I put the money on the counter, just like you told me. Then I pulled out my penis. He put $5 on the counter. He pulled out his penis. His was bigger. He took my five dollars.”

I hope I didn’t offend any deaf people. Blogging blind jokes is probably safer.

I have become the old lady who complains about change

October 15, 2012

Several factors are working against my enjoying Hollywood entertainment.

Tonight I was headed home thinking I had the house to myself for a few hours, and I wanted to rent a movie.

But Blockbuster, in its efforts to thwart my being entertained by Hollywood, had closed, and I didn’t want to drive into the next town for a rental.

So I pulled into the grocery parking lot and ran in to try the Redbox I’ve heard so much tell about.

I knew what I wanted, kind of. I wanted to rent ‘Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,’ because I read an article by Ellen Burstyn about the experience of producing that flick; and I wanted to rent some movie about Virginia Woolf with Nicole Kidman in it that I don’t know the name of, because I’m currently reading ‘The Diary of Virginia Woolf.’

I am not the guy the Redbox was made for.

But I had decided to try the damn thing, and I’m stubborn, so I got a Robert Downey Jr./Marissa Tomei movie from the early ’90s and went home.

I will have to return it unwatched, though, because I cannot figure out how to watch a DVD, and it will be months before I have the house to myself again. For a moment I considered going out and watching it from the back seat of my car.

It’s not that I don’t know how to use the DVD player. It’s that there are lots of other things hooked up to my TV, and my son went off to college.

He warned me this day would come. He wanted to teach me the ways of the remotes.

I told him all I needed was for him to teach me to Skype.

He said, ‘Mom, I’m not going to wait until I’ve gone and then teach you to do it over the computer.’

Of course not. That would be silly.

‘I just need you to rent the movies I want to watch and turn your computer in that direction.’ Duh.

He won’t do it, because he is working against my enjoyment of Hollywood.

Throwing people in the pool

September 27, 2012

Last night at a party a girl came at my son to throw him in the pool. I know this girl. She is a perfect girl, and she was being playful.

My son is strong, and he is a capable wrestler. She didn’t stand  a chance.

He spun around and threw her in instead. He does not understand his strength, I think, or when to temper it. She got hurt.

I wasn’t there, but I’m understanding she slapped the water flat, and face down.

This reminds me of yet another moment from my childhood I have never gotten over.

We used to celebrate Easter every year at my Uncle Junior’s house. I don’t know why we call him Junior. His name is Bill, and his father was a Korean immigrant, whose name sounded nothing like Bill.

I wore my suit, but only to sit on the step. I never learned how to swim, and was afraid of the water. Specifically, I was afraid of putting my head under.

One year my Uncle Hot Shot grabbed me from the lawn area and started running toward the water. I screamed for all I was worth. He laughed and hurled my tiny flailing body into the deep end.

Chlorinated water burns when you gulp and inhale it. I remember not knowing which direction was up, and feeling my hands go numb. They do that when I panic.

At some point I made it to the edge of the pool. When I got my lungs working, I yelled at Hot Shot. “I hate you! I hate you so much!”

My mother, who was on a lounge chair poolside, fully clothed, turned beet red and started yelling at me.

I got in big trouble.

Now that I’m a mother, I’m more upset with her than Hot Shot. In fact, knowing Hot Shot, I’m sure he saw I was on my own, and was making an effort to include me in the antics. He may have thought my screaming and kicking was part of the game, but my mother knew I couldn’t swim. A word from her to stop him would have carried some weight.

And afterward, a little understanding toward me would not have come amiss.

A riddle

September 6, 2012

Today my son found a kids’ riddle book in the glove compartment. I don’t know where it came from.

He read us the riddles, and some of them were funny, but many were groaners.

My daughter and I took it as a challenge to come up with better punch lines than the book offered.

Then we abandoned the book and the three of us  invented our own.

Here’s our favorite, made from scratch, for your entertainment:

What is the  favorite sandwich of common people?

A Plebian J.

The road trip fight

September 5, 2012

In the summer of 2001 we drove up the west coast for vacation.

It was two weeks of heaven, with one day of hell tacked on the end.

Our last stop was the Monterey Bay Aquarium. By then we had seen Hearst Castle, Carmel Beach, the California Redwoods, The Santa Cruz Boardwalk, the Rogue River, Seattle, Victoria Canada and San Francisco.

We were tired. The kids were 6 and 8.

Several hours from home they started this:

“Stop saying OK!” “OK!”

They didn’t stop until they fell asleep 40 miles from our driveway.

They did this naturally, but only because I didn’t have access to chloroform.

click here for photo

Breaking up

September 4, 2012

My daughter announced a couple of weeks ago that she was getting close with my son’s girlfriend.

I went where mothers should never go. I started imagining a future of girls’ days with all of us giggling over new shoes and facials. I imagined holidays and new babies and all of us a big happy family of love and a long history of togetherness.

I jinxed it.

He got in the car the other day and said he was going to break up.

He was physically ill over the decision. He said there was nothing specifically wrong; he just didn’t want to be there anymore. “It would be so much easier if she would do something wrong.”

I totally get it.

I have dumped and been dumped because of a mysterious and sudden feeling of detachment.

When my high school boyfriend dumped me, I had pain in my heart that was so great I thought I needed an ambulance — not my figurative heart, the organ in  my chest.

I cried until I was cried out, and then I moped.

My son knows she’s wonderful; he knows he made her sad; and he’s in pain knowing he can’t offer comfort.

Maybe he’ll feel better in 15 years, when she, my daughter and I are out getting facials and buying shoes.

Mom’s voice in my head

August 20, 2012

I cleaned my house the night before my birthday party.

Our other house took days to clean. It was like painting the Golden Gate bridge.  I really appreciate having half the space and a more modern home when I clean.

My son came home in the evening, and every time he went into a room, he said, “It looks great in here!”

I used to say this to my mom when the house looked good, but she would always say, “No thanks to you.” So I stopped.

I thought of this, and how nice it was to hear that my work was noticable, and I just said, “Thank you” to my boy.

Mom called.

“Shall I come over and clean your house?”  At 8 p.m.?

“I cleaned it already.”

“Since you got home from work? It can’t be very clean.”

“Well my son came home and said the house looks great.”

“No thanks to him, I’m sure.”

I actually did not see that coming.

The chocolate milk story

August 3, 2012

When my son was 3, Uncle Jer took him into the kitchen and announced, “It’s time you learn how to make chocolate milk.”

I stood there doing dishes, thinking how great Uncle Jer was.

“First you get a glass, milk and chocolate syrup. You put them out on the counter.

“Then you fill the glass half with milk and half with syrup.”

“Half?” I made my shocked face. “You must really like milk.”

Uncle Jer turned to my son, “You’re mom is great.”

I fought with a nurse

July 27, 2012

This weekend we went to a party to welcome my new baby niece. I love holding newborns, but my birthing stories would scare anyone off getting pregnant, me being at the top of the list.

I gave birth to my son throughout the night. He was stuck.

At 6 in the morning he finally made it out and I wanted to sleep.

‘Look at your new son!’ someone said.

I closed my lids. They were blackish purple all the way to my brows because my pushing had broken all the blood vessels in them. ‘Just plug him on my breast. I’ll see him later.’

They did and I went to sleep. I was sleeping blissfully when a new nurse came on duty.

She shook my arm roughly and yelled, ‘Wake up and pee!’


I didn’t open my eyes, but I murmured, ‘I don’t need to pee.’

‘Yes you do.’

She wouldn’t go away. She said, ‘You have to pee, and if you don’t, you’re going to wet the bed. Then you’ll have to go find someplace to sit while I change your urine sheets. Get up and pee.’

‘I don’t have to pee.’

My husband, who was sleeping next to me, said, ‘Just go. We could have been back to sleep by now.’

But I didn’t have to pee.

I threw back the sheets with a huff, gentled the baby closer to Daddy and stood up.

And peed all over the floor next to the bed.

The birthday cake story

July 23, 2012

I just got back from Costco with my son.

There were photos under the glass at the photo center showing the different sizes you could order. My son was pointing to one of a baby with a handful of crumbly goodness, which was also all over his face.

My son said, “I wanna know what this kid is eating.”

I looked over. “It’s birthday cake. He’s turning 1,” I said.

It doesn’t surprise me he couldn’t figure this out. He, himself, did it all wrong. I told him as much, and reminded him of this story.

From birth, my kid couldn’t stand to be dirty. If something was on his hands, he held them away from his body and went “Ah ah ah ah ah” until somebody got him to a sink. He howled as soon as his diaper was wet.

Anything sticky was right out. I wish I had videotaped the day I tried to give him peanut butter and jelly on crackers.

Jump to his first birthday party. I had ordered a cake from the local bakery. Globs of colored frosting made Sesame Street characters on top. Grama placed it excitedly in front of him while we sang “Happy Birthday.”

We gathered around with our cameras for the ceremonial grabbing of frosting.

What were we thinking?

He looked at the cake. He looked at us.

We smiled. We nodded. One of my aunts yelled, “Go for it!”

We waited.

Finally he looked at me helplessly and said, “Fork, please.”

The diner story

July 15, 2012

My high school best friend is in town for a visit. She’s leaving tomorrow, but really wants to eat at Kay’s, a breakfast diner that was downtown and legendary when we were growing up.

It has since moved to a nearby town. It’s around the corner from the medical center.

One afternoon I had taken my son to the medical center for hearing tests — he has to have his hearing monitored; there are issues because of the tumors. The tests were taking a long time and we were starving.

Finally, someone came into the waiting room and told us he failed the hearing test in one ear, and we had an appointment with a different doctor in 90 minutes.

We were out the door and Kay’s-bound before you could say blueberry pie.

Then we were so hungry we couldn’t decide what to order.

It went like this: I’ll have the chicken-fried steak and eggs, no wait, the cinnamon roll, except, oooh, maybe I want a waffle….

The waitress kept glancing toward the door, but we were intent on our menus.

Then she leaned in and whispered, “I need you order quickly, because the health department is shutting us down right now.”

We looked over to see a guy in a uniform putting a huge chain and padlock on the front door — dramatic, but unnecessary, I thought — and a sign saying the restaurant was indefinitely out of business by order of the government.

My son and I were so hungry, all we could think of was that we ought to order as much as possible before they closed the kitchen.

We took one of everything.

My son cracks me up again

July 10, 2012

I learned some yicky statistics about how many spiders the average person swallows annually while sleeping and such.

Among these fun facts was that Americans eat an average of 12 pubic hairs a year in fast food.

I shared this with my kids.

My son said, “Boy, I feel sorry for the guy who only eats fast food once a year.”

Driver license

July 6, 2012

My son is getting his driver license today.

When he started driver ed a year ago, we each gave him our biggest piece of advice.

Here’s the collection:

  • Uncle Jer says, “My dad always said ‘At a yellow light, if you can stop, do.’
  • I say, “Be predictable. Expect everyone else to be unpredictable.”
  • My husband says, “Be aware of your surroundings.”
  • My dad says, “Don’t be the fastest car on the freeway.”
  • My Oldest Friend’s husband says, “Always use your indicator.” After some investigating, I learned this is a turn signal.
  • I say, “Don’t drive like Uncle Mike.”
  • What I wish I could say is “Never go anywhere. Stay home with your mama.”


June 30, 2012

Today I clicked on a link on My Oldest Friend’s blogroll. The post began, ‘I think my husband and I should divorce.”

She goes on to say she feels a little dirty enjoying the right to be married, earned by her heterosexuality. She likens it to being a member of a country club that excludes people of color.

I left this story as a comment:

When my son was in first grade his friends joined Cub Scouts. We explained to him that this group was in the news because gays and atheists were not allowed to be members, and that in this family we don’t join groups that exclude.

I got a call mid-year from one of his friends’ moms, who could barely talk through her laughter.

She had asked him why he hadn’t joined Scouts. He told her “I’m not allowed to be in Boy Scouts, cuz I might be gay.”

Close enough.

The stabbing story

June 28, 2012

The other night when we were at my parents’ for Fathers Day dinner, my son was provoking his sister. She was swiping at him and he was holding her off with his massive armspan.

My grandmother, who is the sixth of nine children, said her brother Joe used to do that. He would just plant his hand on her head and hold her out of reach so she couldn’t fight back.

He was the fifth child, almost two years older than she. She said he was a bully.

“He pushed me too far,” she smiled. “One night at the table I picked up my fork and jammed it into his thigh.”

Reliving this stabbing made her look happy. I guess those were good tines.

I wasn’t happy. I knew what was coming.

“I’m gonna do it. One of these days, I’m jamming my fork into you,” said my daughter, who was suddenly looking happy.

 Thanks, Nana, for spreading this joy.

The time my son went missing

June 18, 2012

I just read on about a boy who went missing in 1955. It seems he’s just turned up.

His mother had parked her kids outside a bakery. After she paid for her cinnamon rolls she discovered an empty stroller. Her 2-year-old son and infant daughter were missing.

The baby was found a couple blocks away. I imagine the fruitless search for her son destroyed her. She must have had the worst kind of guilt.

When we see a parent looking for her child, my husband’s eyes well up. He’s been there once with each of ours, and the emotion of it comes right back to him.

I used to work nights at the newspaper in Boulder. One night we put the paper to bed before last call. A gang of us went across the street to Old Chicago.

For some reason I had Uncle Jer’s cell phone. It was one of two times I had it, and he was the only cell-phone owner I knew. By coincidence, the second time will be in the story of when my daughter went missing.

I had barely taken a sip of my Guinness when my husband called. Our 4-year-old wasn’t in his bed, or anywhere else my husband could see.

Then he made a confession. He had gone against my wishes and opened my son’s window to cool the room.

I was uptight about open windows in the kids’ rooms, or anywhere in the house if we were sleeping. JonBenet had just been abducted in December, a couple of Hop stops from our house.

I abandoned my beer and my friends. I could barely get my bike unlocked. My hands started shaking when I realized my husband wouldn’t have called until he had been looking a long time. He would have been sure the child was gone before scaring me.

Ultimately we found him. He had snuggled under the overhang on the foot of his bed, and was curtained in by his bedspread.

Having never slept near an open window before, he wasn’t used to the breeze.

That ended one of the worst hours of my life. I can’t figure how the Damman parents lived with that feeling for 54 years.

Explaining Easter

April 30, 2012

It wasn’t until we moved to California that my mom introduced religion into Easter.

For me it’s all about the Reese’s peanut butter eggs.

Everything I know about the Bible I got from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Monty Python.

So our first Easter here, my daughter, by then 3, was confused. She entreated her brother for clarification on the way home from their first Easter church service.

“It’s all about ta-da,” he said authoritatively. “See, Jesus died and they put the body in a cave blocked closed with a boulder.

“When they moved the boulder, they saw an empty cave.

“But they turned around and Jesus was behind them going, ‘Ta-da!’ ”

I had no idea Jesus had so much pizzazz.

My son’s second surgery

April 28, 2012

Today my husband had surgery to repair a muscle he ripped from a bone. Snowboarding is fun.

This surgery kicked his ass. The surgeon told me he would be in the recovery room an hour. It was three. It would have been longer, but they were closing.

Now my living room is a recovery zone. My aunt is going to lend me her nurse’s cape. It’s hard to give stool softeners without a cape. No one takes you seriously.

Anyway this calls to mind my son’s second surgery, which I had meant to tell you about way back when I told you about his tumors.

He had a terrible experience with the biopsy surgery. There was pain, vomiting and swelling. He hated the ICU. He didn’t think it was funny that I said the ICU was so named because of the gowns they make you wear.

So a year later he gave me a big No Way to a surgery to take the tumors out. He was 7.

I used all the tricks in my mama bag. We planned to go the Santa Monica Pier the day before. We made a list of the things he feared and worked to eliminate them.

The anesthesiologist said he could prevent nausea. The surgeon arranged a private room.

The nurses promised Tigger could go in with him. Being sealed in sterile plastic bags is what Tiggers love best.

No deal.

Then a month before the surgery, while he was at school, a producer from The Discovery Channel called me. She had wanted to film the surgery for a special on the surgeon, but when the surgeon described my son and his case to her, she got the green light to do a whole special on my son.

I interrupted his first-grade class to tell him about it. Sold. A producer bag has better tricks in it.

My son was brave and calm. Everyone made good on promises, and we didn’t have any of the problems he feared. Though he did add catheters and incision drains to his list.

Three months later my family went to the producer’s house for a preview screening. It was mostly interviews, but the middle segment was surgery footage.

It didn’t occur to me to be nervous about watching it.

But then, one side at a time, the surgeon peeled my son’s face back. One glance of this, and I turned toward the back of the room.

Then my husband said, ‘Honey, look!’ The surgeon slid the tumor off his pie server onto a ruler for the camera. It looked like a boneless, skinless chicken breast from the grocery store. The two he removed weighed a pound.

After the screening the producer told us it made her crazy to witness the operation.

The surgeon was  explaining what he was doing during the procedure. He kept looking at her while he was talking, but his hands kept operating. She wanted to shout, ‘Watch what you’re doing!’ She said it was like when her husband is driving and he looks at her instead of the road.

Finally he looked down, just as a bunch of gooey bloody stuff splattered up on his glasses. His assistant eased them off to clean them, and the surgeon kept working.

Now I have a list of my own.

My most embarrassing moment

April 22, 2012

Today I was asking my students my questions, and one of them got, ‘What’s the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?’

He was rock climbing and his pants came down.

This reminded me of something that happened in college. I can’t believe I didn’t think of this story before.

Throughout my phonetics course I was working on a research project. We each had a date at the end of the semester for a presentation.

I had a rough go of it from start to finish, but finally finished.

The morning my presentation was scheduled, it snowed heavily. My bike ride to school was only about three long blocks downhill and across campus, but snow meant I had to leave early.

I put on a button-down sundress with a wool sweater, knit tights and UGG boots. Boulder has a different standard of style and formality.

When it was time to go, my 5-month-old son was still nursing. He was on the cusp of sleep and still gulping milk.

I waited as long as I could, but finally had to pluck him off, hand him wailing to the babysitter, tug down my sweater and go.

I pedaled hard and arrived in a sweat — half from the workout and half from nerves.

I ran in a little bit late. I assumed my name had been called, because people were looking around the auditorium in question.

Once I got to the front, I took a deep breath and peeled off my sweater. My dress was still unbuttoned and my nursing bra flap was hanging open.

I looked down at my exposed breast to see a swell of milk drip to my shoe.

My professor, a sweet little woman with graying curls, quickly stepped in front of me. With her back to the crowd she smiled and tried to offer comfort. She said, ‘It’s OK, we’ve all been there.’

That being the case, I guess this wasn’t a very interesting story.

More dinner talk

April 18, 2012

My son let his hair grow when he started high school.

One night my son was able to pull it back. He showed up to dinner in a ponytail.

I couldn’t get over how much he looked like my husband did when we married, and told him so.

“Daddy had long hair?”

“Longer than yours is now,” I told him.

“How long was it?”

I gave a glance to my man, who was nodding. I was going for it.

“All the way down to his bra strap.”

The story story

April 11, 2012

In my subbing, I’m using a lot of what I learned from my children’s best teachers. I volunteered in their classes every week, and knew which teachers were worth their stuff.

My kids’ first-grade teacher was that teacher they make movies about. Her demeanor was patient and maternal; her consequences were consistent; her lessons were creative. She was always on top of the latest findings in education. More than any teacher I’ve watched, she had a reason for the way she said or did everything.

And she sang and played guitar.

By the greatest stroke of luck, she was my son’s teacher when he went through his second surgery, the one to remove the tumors. It eased my mind that she was who I was turning him over to during this emotional year.

When I saw her again this fall, I learned that he had an emotional impact on her, too.

She had done a segment on author style. The children had to write a story in a famous writer’s voice. My son wrote “How the Cobra got its Hood,” a la Rudyard Kipling.

It was about a baby cobra whose parents were divorcing. As they fought for custody, tugging the child this way and that, they permanently changed their little one.

We were stunned. We didn’t know anybody with kids who had divorced. How did he get custody battles in his frame of reference?

The next year this teacher divorced, and her husband threatened to fight her for the kids.

She remembered my son’s story, and in an act of selflessness and love, let him have them.

It scares me some that he motivated her to do such a painful thing.

She shared with me that she believes she was being a sent a message.

All these years she was thinking of him, letting him influence her actions, and here I am everyday among children in my new job, trying to be her.

We didn’t even know.


September 4, 2011

Things pop into my son’s head.

For instance, he came out of his sister’s room laughing the other day. He cracks himself up.

“Look at that Tupperware on her desk.” He pointed with his hand shaking with crack up. “I gave it to her two years ago and told her it was pure from a melted glacier.”

He could barely get the words out.

“I scooped it from the pool.”

Congratulations instead of story today

December 6, 2009

Last night was a big night for our hometown’s marching band.

They won third place in the Southern California championships. They are among the best of the best.

I am so proud, I can’t think of anything else today.

For my many readers who went home, lifted medals over their heads and hung them over the family’s mantels, thank you for a spectacular season.

I know how hard you worked. You deserved it.

Julia, Myles, Will, Hunter, Carlisle and the other 119. Good on you.


I fought with a nurse

July 27, 0010

This weekend we went to a party to welcome my new baby niece. I love holding newborns, but my birthing stories would scare anyone off getting pregnant, me being at the top of the list.

I gave birth to my son throughout the night. He was stuck.

At 6 in the morning he finally made it out and I wanted to sleep.

‘Look at your new son!’ someone said.

I closed my lids. They were blackish purple all the way to my brows because my pushing had broken all the blood vessels in them. ‘Just plug him on my breast. I’ll see him later.’

They did and I went to sleep. I was sleeping blissfully when a new nurse came on duty.

She shook my arm roughly and yelled, ‘Wake up and pee!’


I didn’t open my eyes, but I murmured, ‘I don’t need to pee.’

‘Yes you do.’

She wouldn’t go away. She said, ‘You have to pee, and if you don’t, you’re going to wet the bed. Then you’ll have to go find someplace to sit while I change your urine sheets. Get up and pee.’

‘I don’t have to pee.’

My husband, who was sleeping next to me, said, ‘Just go. We could have been back to sleep by now.’

But I didn’t have to pee.

I threw back the sheets with a huff, gentled the baby closer to Daddy and stood up.

And peed all over the floor next to the bed.