In a stupor, I told the creature in my arms, “You have to burp, Mali…Simon…Lucia…um…Maxwell! That’s your name! Maxwell!”
Never forgiving my grandmother for calling me Donna, Lynda, Lonna didn’t prevent me from committing the same crime on my beloved baby boy. Even the stepcat’s name was called out before his. As the third child, he’s doomed to a lifetime of less pictures, stained shirts, and scratched up toys. “Serves you right for keeping me up ALL night. I’ve got your number little kid! I know Freddy Krueger’s pretend.”
Unable to waterboard me, he’s feigning teething. When knifelike fangs penetrate my neck, I’ll believe it. He wins today, but I’ll get him back.
How could I forget my son’s name? Sleep deprivation? Wait a minute. When’s his birthday? I gave birth only a few months ago, days after Christmas. Dec. 27 or Dec. 28? He could have made it easier for me and picked the 25th, but NO. The others knew what they were doing. Simon-April 1. Brian-Feb 14. Mali-Sept 11.
“Are you calling off work?” This familiar-looking guy standing in my living room seems concerned. My unshowered aroma must be circulating.
The ring on this man’s left ring finger matches mine. He must be my husband. His name is…um…Brian.
“Uh huh.” Driving an hour on two hours sleep and staying awake and productive for eight hours? Then, driving an hour home? I’ll pass.
He wants to know, “What happened?”
“The kid pitched a fight with his sheets around 12:30.” No more Saturday morning Dragon Ball Z. I was worried that his mattress might file aggravated assault charges.
Brian said, “You should have gotten me up.”
“Um…Max’s screaming broke the sound barrier when you crawled into bed at about 3. You fell right asleep. Waking you didn’t seem possible.”
“Did you try?”
“No. I thought a clean diaper would solve the problem, but he smiled at me as soon as his head hit the changing table.”
“Maybe he’s teething.” So the boy’s trying that one on him too.
“We’ll see.” I decided to ask him. He should know. He is Maxwell’s father. “When is this kid’s birthday? Dec. 27th or 28th.”
“I don’t know. Look on his birth certificate.”