Archive for November, 2011

Rockford Ignacio

“Dad, we just bought a rat!” Eli exclaims on the phone.

“You bought a what?”

“A rat, Dad. His name is Rocky and he’s white and I’m going to feed him cheese and I’m going to hold him and he’s totally awesome!”

“Well, that’s, um, well. A rat? Really? Hey, put your mother on.”

“He’s very sweet, honey” his mother explains. “And just wait till you see his testicles. They’re so big they drag the ground.”

“A well-endowed rat,” I say and exhale deeply, loudly, deliberately. “That’s just we need.”

“See, that’s my thinking, too. I’m glad you understand.”

“Wait. Hang on. That’s not really what I meant.”

And that’s how it happened, how Rocky—full name: Rockford Ignacio Lesley, but only when he’s in trouble—became the family rodent:

I’d include a picture of his testicles, but this is a family site, and all the shit here is G rated.



Sometimes we call him It.

“What’s It wearing?” Sally asks Tuesday evening as Slade wanders around the living room with a dog food bowl on his head.

“It’s my hat, Mommy,” Slade answers.

And then Wednesday evening: “Did you hear that?” Sally asks after we put the boys to bed.

“That what?”

“That Thud.” Sally looks slowly left and slowly right like she’s about to share a secret and adds, “It’s still awake. . . And I’m pretty sure It’s up to something.”


Early today, at 3:00 or 4:00 this morning, It slides out of its bunk bed, waddles down the hall, and climbs in bed with Sally and me.

“Ouch, Slade,” Sally grumbles. “Be still.”

And later, “No talking, Slade. It’s night night time.”

Later still, It sticks a finger in my ear. I grunt, lift my head off the pillow, and peek at the clock. 5:05. Wonderful. Just wonderful.

“Hi, Daddy!” It whispers.

I grunt again, which makes It giggle, and It hugs or maybe tackles me.

For an instant, I go back to three years ago, almost to the minute. I go back to Sally waking up in drenched sheets, to Sally telling me to call the doctor, to pink blood on the carpet, the bed, the tile, the wall, and all over the toilet. I go back to driving to the hospital, almost certain the baby is dead.

Then I fall back asleep.

“Slade, do you know what today is?” Sally says from inside the bathroom.

I glance at the alarm clock. It’s 5:55 now. Swell.

“Today’s my birthday!” It exclaims in the bathroom.

I slip back in time again, to three years ago, to the waiting room, to the nurse who says placental abruption and C-section and significant blood loss and NICU. I slip back to Eli telling me we should name his brother Pick Pack while we sit, we wait, we hope. I slip back to Sally shaking in the hospital and a 3-pound baby wired to strange machines.

I get out of bed, three years almost to the second that Sally was cut open and our unnamed son was pulled into this life. I make my way into the bathroom.

“It’s my birthday!” It proclaims when It sees me, grinning, raising his arms like It’s won something.

And, you know, maybe It has.


Slade. It. Slader Tot. Your Son. Slader Tater. House Tornado. Feral Toddler. We have lots of names for our child, but whatever we call him, we’re grateful to the bone that he pulled through three years ago today, even if he sometimes sleeps too little and ends up in time out almost daily and has a thing for silly hats.

Happy Birthday, Slade/It/whatever. We sure are glad you’re around.

This was Halloween:

Picture a caravan of decorated golf carts, red wagons, bikes, and families shuffling along on foot. Picture kids racing from house to house in pink and blue twilight. Picture princesses, Thomas the Tank engines, and one Darth Vader. Picture open containers.

Picture a dinosaur toddler and a zombie 7-year-old eating candy and eating more candy and staying up past their bed time.

Picture a wiped out mom and dad, stretched out on a couch and recliner after the dinosaur and zombie bathe and brush teeth and put on PJs and fight sleep. Picture open windows in a still house, the thick night seeping in.

Picture the wiped out parents turning off night lights and pulling up covers and feeling something gentle and shared and fleeting in the zombie and dinosaur’s bedroom.

Picture crickets and white stars somewhere outside. Picture deep sleep.

How I became a mommy blogger who definitely doesn’t have a drinking problem

So somehow I ended up writing a restaurant review for a mommy blog and somehow that review turned into an ode to booze. Ahhhh booze. Magical, glorious, mystical booze. Is there anything it can’t do?

Wait. What? Don’t look at me like that. I don’t have a drinking problem, okay? I mean, sure, I start my day with three Coors Lights and a pint of Dickel and sometimes a bloody mary, but who doesn’t?

Damn it. Stop it. I can see you sitting there with your mouth open, slowly shaking your head, your right eyebrow raised in disapproval. I can quit anytime. I mean it. Anytime.

And besides, the write up isn’t just about liquor. It’s also about flyswatters, and I know you adore flyswatters.

You can find my review over at Lake Travis Moms, a blog run by Kim, a neighbor and pal who vacationed with us in New Orleans this summer and still seems to tolerate us.

Lake Travis Moms, incidentally, is loaded with useful stuff for Lakeway-area parents. Want to discover where kids eat free, for instance? Or when Elmo is making an appearance at the Hill Country Galleria? Or where you can get a jack-o’-lantern pizza for cheap? Lake Travis Moms will set you up. That blog will get you what you need.

Like booze. That’s what I need. Wonderous, amazing. . . Damn it. You’re looking at me funny again. I told you. No problem here. I mean, it’s not like I drink two bottles of bourbon for lunch. Sure, maybe I drink one, but that’s just because it’s good for my circulation. Everybody knows that.