Our bedtime rituals of bathroom prep, mismatched pajama choosing, general dawdling, and book selection are done. Sprite joins me on my bed for some storytelling and sympathy. She is nursing a cold/cough/whooping situation that has just begun. She wonders aloud, several times, when it will go away.
“My throat feels scratchy like there are scratches in it. My eyes are getting tears. I don’t want to have a cold anymore.”
Her cold is about two hours in. We have a ways to go.
Sprite snuggles into the comforter and we commence to read a really poor synopsis of The Little Mermaid and two rip roaring Elephant and Piggie stories. We take turns doing the dialogue. I am always Gerald (the elephant). Sprite is always Piggie (the pig). Because Piggie is a girl pig. And girls rule.
Downstairs I hear Mr. Snark arrive home early from Red Bull’s indoor soccer practice. Have they been unable to gain entry to the labyrinthine school/high security prison in which pre-season practices are being held for the second week in a row? Last week the coach’s son literally had to commit a felony break in to gain access to the airtight facility. Hopefully, the incident has been stricken from the record in the name of good clean fun. No one waited outside the barbed wire fence for late arrivals. So, last week, after a thorough sweep of the grounds yielded no sign of life, no practice for Red Bull. There is no swearing downstairs, so I can only assume Red Bull got into tonight’s practice without breaking the law. Time will tell.
Back to the bedroom. Story time is done and the ceremonial hair detangling begins. I take my turn working through the nest of knots in Sprite’s ever-growing curly mop. Soon it is time for Sprite’s revenge turn. She takes the brush and digs in with a good amount of vigor for an ailing child battling a lung condition as evidenced by her increasingly dramatic coughing fits. She brushes around in circles, ignoring my part, my pain receptors, my ears and eyelids.
“I’m like a real barber, Mommy.”
After my part is suitably obliterated and an angry twister of dreadlocks has begun to form over my left ear, Sprite artfully gathers six strands of my hair with a butterfly clip and perches it atop the highest point of my skull. Then there is a lengthy pause. I wait expectantly with my back to her, wondering if she is about to cough, sneeze, cut off three inches of my hair with a concealed weapon, or vomit. I hope for the first or second. Not the third. Please, not the fourth. There is some rustling behind me. Then it all becomes clear.
“I’m not done. I’m just fixing my underwear.”
Well that makes perfect sense. My barber says that all the time. I would imagine it’s a job related hazard, being on your feet all day.
Now Sprite is tucked in. I am tucked in too and am secretly enjoying a private screening of Nanny Mcphee Returns. Mr. Snark comes upstairs to check on the hacking cough episode going on across the hall. Then he pokes his head in to see me.