Usually I only get it on Saturday and Sunday, but thanks to the glory of Paternity Leave…
I pick up Senator Smoosh—or, as she demands to be called this day, Ladybug—and we go in search of today's naptime book to read. We choose How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight, which The Bean heard maybe 40 times but Her Ladybugness has not yet (oh, how different the life of a fifth child) but is clearly instantly intrigued by and how could she not be?
We go back to The Boy's room and shut the door. I ask her what we're going to watch today and she says, "Hmmm…Day'd Bow. Ee?" No, I explain, we finished watching the David Bowie DVD yesterday. I spot my birthday present, The Who at Kilburn: 1977 and spend 90 seconds peeling the rassafrassin' safety tape off it, then pop it in the iMac.
As it's loading, I put her in my lap so she's facing away and we read the book, and although I'm not generally much of a Jane Yolen fan—the brilliant Owl Moon aside—it's mighty good, and goes over like gangbusters. Book finished, I turn my little coccinellid back around, so now she's facing me. She leans forward and puts her head on my chest and we begin watching The Who.
It's widescreen, so there are black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. I angle the monitor so her eyes are perfectly centered in the black bar at the bottom. I observe as she takes in "Can't Explain" and then starts to blink heavily during "Substitute." She doesn't even make it through the synthesizer intro to "Baba O'Riley" before they're closed for good. I feel her small body get heavier and heavier as it relaxes completely. I kiss the top of her head softly; her tousled hair smells like Baby Magic and toddler sweat, the combination a result of last night's tubby and this morning's hard work in the garden, which mainly consisted of her chasing birds in a heartfelt yet futile attempt to make friends with her fellow wingéd creatures.
I wait until the song's over, then turn the volume down and pause. I stand up and take one step forward, then lay her down on the bed. I am not as gentle as her Ladybugship demands, or at least deserves. Her eyes flutter then close again as a small smile forms briefly, then evaporates. "Wha we gun wash?" she murmurs before sinking back deeper.
I wait a half dozen deep breaths, making sure she's not going to rouse, thinking, "What are we going to watch? You, the inside of your eyelids. Me…you."