invariably, there are always one or two markers for which the cap has gone missing, and they sit there, drying up on the table like slugs caught in the light of day. these caps usually turn up days or weeks later in unlikely places. like in ruth’s play refrigerator among the vegetables. or in a purse pocket hanging on her bedroom door knob. so, who cares, right? crayola markers cost a few dollars. no biggie. except add together all of the boxes of markers we will need to purchase throughout her childhood so that there are at least a few colors for her to choose from and you’ve lost a small fortune in plastic markers. all for lack of a one-second procedure, securing the caps back on when you are done. if this simple rule was followed, who knows how long a pack of markers could last? so, there they sit, taunting me with their slowly-evaporating ink, leaking their life blood out in tiny wisps of invisible ink moisture. and me, impotent to do anything, not having extra caps lying around, not knowing where to look for the caps, and not really having any energy to try to find them anyways.
how does ruth make any room a hazard area worthy of hard hat restrictions in such a small amount of time? in seconds, she can turn a relatively neat room into something out of “hoarders”. our bed is full of cracker crumbs as she likes to snack with her bedtime story. they wriggle up the legs of my pajama pants, end up caught in my underwear band, somehow, seem to crawl like little spikey beetles beneath my bare arms and hands all night long. she takes off wet diapers and deposits them in soggy, urine-soaked heaps around the house. her daily wardrobe is in a state of constant flux and, at any time, if i walk into her bedroom, the drawers are all pulled open with shirts and pant legs hanging over them as though trying to crawl out of their own will, there are small mounds of clothes on the floor, the dirty mixed in with the clean until i loose track and just throw the whole mess down the chute to be washed, just to get it out of my sight (until i meet it again as i am throwing it into the washer, then dryer, then folding it again upstairs, where ruth will inevitably walk over and grab the whole pile, knocking it over to the fur-coated floor in search of something else to wear). in a few seconds or less, she might get the urge and simply cover every inch of exposed skin (this includes the face) with marker, which, i don’t mind as it’s non-toxic, but then any time i want to take her anywhere that i feel this might be frowned upon, i have to add scrubbing off her face, and arms to our list of things to do to get ready, freshen the diaper, put on shoes, socks, and coat, pack a snack, bring a friend…etc. it can take a good twenty to thirty minutes to get out the door.
sometimes, she will get up with me. early. if she senses me trying to make an escape, she sometimes stirs herself enough to wake up. it doesn’t matter how early it is, how tired she still is. if she knows she’s in the bed alone, she’s up. i can’t really lie back down until she falls asleep either, like i could when she was younger. she’s grown too smart for that, and i have had the experience of lying in bed for close to an hour with multiple attempts at getting up, to no avail. plus, i’m not very stealth any more as a nine-month preggo chick. these are long days, marked by over-tired crankiness and an over-sensitive tantrum reflex. in both of us.
we call our car “the aquarium” because it is so full of goldfish. on the floor. on the seats. in every crevice you can think of.
she wants sparkly tights. she doesn’t want sparkly tights. she wants to watch elmo. she wants an apple. she doesn’t like apples. she wants to watch elmo. she wants to go outside. she doesn’t want to go outside. it’s too cold. she’s sick (cough, cough). it’s allah’s birthday today. it’s not allah’s birthday today. she’s making chocolate pie, but she isn’t. she wants to watch elmo. she wants food! (ruth, say please.) NO! SHE DOESN’T WANT FOOD! she wants to bathe taser, her toy horse, but she doesn’t want soap. she wants to read a book. the same book. over and over. she wants to go downstairs (even though it’s freezing). then, she wants to watch elmo.