The rattling door is a cattle prod. Here he comes.

A small, groggy hand reaches up and tugs. I grab a fistful of fleece and lift. He curls up in the crook of me, both of us fetal but facing, touching noses, his feet pressed between my thighs, my arm wrapped round. It is the baseline of mei tai days: one hand pat-pat-pats his little rump, and the other cups the egg of his skull.

Oh love baby love. Benny B. Love sweet. Ooosh goosh. S'okay baby boy mama love.

I love you too he murmurs, and I startle. He talks? Pancakes for breakfast. He is no baby. I run my hand down his leg and wrap fingers around muscle and remember. He runs. He runs and he skates and he breakdances and from the other end of the house through the kitchen he yells WATCH ME BREAKDANCE. I push my nose into his hair and inhale slow and deep. Shampoo and roast chicken and woodsmoke. He is no baby.

Oh baby stay with mama.

In the morning we lurch out of bed with sore everythings. Torture by elbow and knee, thrashing, clammy hot glue roll and perpendicular push push shove the bed might be three miles wide but I get four and a half inches of edge, him all splayed contentedly, a three-hundred pound puppy.

One of us says This has to stop. Then another one of us says MMmmm, I hadda good sleep. Now. Pancakes. Then another one of us says Yeah. It's brutal.

That night, the rattling door is a cattle prod.

Oh baby stay with mama.

Kate Inglis30 Comments