1. I'll start with the important movie. We watched 'Twelve Years a Slave' the other night, and it's one of those movies/books that I didn't really enjoy, but that I think everyone should watch or read. I was up late that night, trying to focus on writing my short story for Glimmer Train, but the movie kept invading my thoughts. While I was working in the living room, I heard Trooper talking in his bed.
"Trooper, it's late. Who are you talking to in here?"
"I'm just singing 'Happy Birthday' to me." And sure enough he was. He was looking at a toy truck catalogue and dreaming of his upcoming birthday. Just eleven and a half months to go.
So anyway, I finally went to bed, and I still couldn't stop thinking about that movie. I was lying on my back with my eyes open, not looking at anything, but trying to think about something more sleep-friendly so I could relax.
And then I saw it. A little movement on the ceiling, about three feet east of my head. But did I really see something, or was it my imagination? It was dark, after all, and it's not unusual to imagine things in the dark. So I looked for a moment longer, and then I thought I saw it move again, something dark shifting across the ceiling in the direction of my face. Oh, brother, for real? Yes. It skittered about a foot toward me all at once, and I elbowed Jonathan to wake him up. By this time it was almost 11:30pm, and he'd been asleep for a while.
Now before I go any farther with this story, let me take a moment to expound upon Jonathan's fear of spiders. I've had several near death experiences in the car because a spider crawled out onto the windshield and he almost wrecked. No exaggeration here. There was screaming and swerving at high speeds. There have also been occasions where I was abruptly woken from my sleep by him shouting and thrashing, having dreamt that a spider was on him or crawling in the sheets. The first time I thought we were under attack by aliens or something, but it was just a creepy dream on his side of the bed.
So back to me elbowing him. "Jonathan. Jonathan wake up. There's something on the ceiling."
He was instantly awake. "A spider?"
"I think so."
He literally jumped out of bed and ran into the kitchen to get the bug spray, which he keeps in a large jug with a high pressure sprayer and hose. I stayed in the room to keep my eye on the bug. While I was there, I moved pillows off the bed and spread out the sheet to make it harder for the little monster to get lost if it fell onto the bed. When Jonathan was ready, I turned on the light and he let go with a stream of toxic brine like he was a Ghost Buster and he'd just caught sight of Slimer.
He hit the spider, and it dropped.
"It's on the bed," he said.
"Are you sure? I didn't see it fall on there, and I don't see it now."
"Yes, I'm sure."
I wasn't convinced, but I moved closer to the bed for a good look. It took me a while to find it, because somehow it was hiding on the side of a wrinkle or something, but then it took off running for the end of the bed. It was awfully fast for a spider that had already been blasted by poison, and it had disappeared again before we really caught site of it. So Jonathan stood at the ready while I carefully folded up the top sheet and then the bottom, searching for our prey, and suddenly there it was running off the end of the bed and across the carpet toward a haphazard stack of boxes and paperbacks that I hope to one day sell (I can mail signed copies at discount prices, in case you wondered). Jonathan started shooting that nasty crud all over the floor, hitting the spider as it ran back and forth, but not seeming to slow it at all.
Finally, it stood still, not in the manner of a creature searching for breath or strength, but like a beast waiting for an opportunity to strike. Seriously, it was staring us down. Jonathan miraculously produced a napkin, dropped on the spider, and started jumping on it. I thought that was hilarious, and started laughing, and would you believe that spider ran out from under the napkin right toward me!
Then Jonathan stomped on it again, and that was finally the end. Here's hoping it hadn't already stashed a sack of eggs somewhere in here.
2. One day, mid morning, Trooper decided he was going to stop calling me 'Mom' and call me 'Mama'. I have no idea where this idea came from, and I can't begin to guess why he embraced it with such tenacity. He called me that non stop all day, repeating it over and over, often for no apparent reason. It might not have been so bad if he didn't say it so distinctly. It reminded me way too much of those creepy talking dolls, "Ma Ma, Ma Ma," and I kept expecting to find him sneaking around the corner with my good butcher knife. By late afternoon I was positively frazzled from hearing this six hundred times, and ready to lock him in the basement. Instead, I took him to the park, where he continued to torture me even though I repeatedly told him I didn't want him to say it, anymore. Finally, I followed through on a threat to take him home and put him to bed because he wouldn't stop. After several fairly severe punishments over the course of the evening and next morning, he finally gave in. Now he calls me 'Mother', and it kind of sounds like he has a Russian accent when he says it, but I don't mind. I still have no idea why he developed a sudden aversion to the title 'Mom'.
3. And now, the grossest thing he's ever done. It was about lunch time, Jonathan had come home to eat and I had run to the bathroom before putting out food. Well, Jonathan and I both stepped into the kitchen at the same time, and Trooper was acting weird. Unusually weird, in fact. He was lying on the floor behind the trashcan as though he was hiding.
"Trooper, what are you doing?" I asked suspiciously.
Nothing from him but a sneaky grin.
"Do you have something in your mouth?" And now I pause in my writing because just thinking about this grosses me out. "Do you have something in your mouth?" I asked again, and he gave me this half shrug, mischief look. "Come here." I pulled him to his feet so I could see him up close, and Jonathan came up behind me to find out what was going on. "What's in your mouth?" I demanded.
He finally opened up a crack, and his mouth was packed with something that looked a little like peaches. I opened the fridge to see if he'd taken a bit out of the peach that sat on the shelf, but no, it was unscathed. "Trooper, what is that?" It had to be something he wasn't supposed to have, because he was all kinds of guilty.
Then Jonathan figured it out. "It's raw chicken!"
We had cubes in there to cook later that night, and he'd stolen some out of the bowl. I instantly held him over the garbage and had him spit it out, and then I took him to the bathroom and brushed his teeth with toothpaste and then with mouthwash while Jonathan sanitized the parts of the kitchen we thought he might have contaminated.
Trooper had been warned about the dangers of raw meat numerous times, but I guess he thought we were just holding out on him. Now he knows. It was more disgusting than any poop misadventure we've ever had, and we've had plenty of those, too. Gag.
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