Funny/Not Funny


Michael fell asleep on the way to piano lessons yesterday, and when I roused him to go inside, he said, “I just want to snuggle with you the whole time while you’re working.”

The trouble was, he was so cuddly—for a child who employs love with such ferocity it approaches the level of violence, he can be unbelievably cuddly—that I just didn’t have much interest in working. We were both getting sleepier and sleepier, but I kept kissing his cheek and then his head would pop up and he’d kiss mine. (Little boy kisses=heaven.) Finally he said, “Every time you kiss me, I just feel like I have to kiss you too.”

“Well,” I said, “every time you kiss me, I feel like I have to kiss you!” I raised my eyebrows at him. “We could do this all day!”

He giggled. “But Mom, we need some sleep!”

Not funny:

We went hiking with some friends on Sunday, and even before we started Christian was telling me that the scientists he works with had been warning that it’s a particularly bad tick year. We wore jeans and we sprayed our shoes and socks and lower legs. And arms. And necks. Except for Alex. Alex missed the memo somehow. And then he went deep into the wild blackberry bushes along the path, in search of the first few ripe berries.

He spent the entire one-hour drive back home finding ticks and throwing them out the van window. The other kids found some, too, so we left the van in the driveway for 24 hours and closed all the windows so it would get good and hot in there and hopefully kill those suckers.

Because if you’re anything like me, right about now you need a beautiful picture of water droplets on an iris to remind you that nature includes heart-stopping beauty and not just nightmares.

But that didn’t help him. By bedtime that night he’d found eleven. By the next morning he told us he was up to sixteen. And when, at dinner on Wednesday, another one crawled down his neck—despite my having checked his head two days prior—he went into complete trauma mode. We realized that not only did he not wear insect repellent while he was foraging, he also didn’t bring his clothes upstairs and throw them in the washing machine with everyone else’s, so they’d been wandering around his room for two or three days. And we found out the ticks he’d found overnight had actually been attached, and he didn’t have any idea if he’d gotten the whole thing or just the bodies when he pulled them out himself. (He tries so hard not to be a bother to anyone.

He and Christian pulled out every piece of clothing, and his sheets, and his blankets, and found another dozen ticks, dead and alive. He’s slept on the couch for two nights and he’s desperately afraid of his room.

I have realized in recent months that Nicholas has definitely inherited Christian’s and my tendencies toward anxiety issues, but I thought in Alex they were more muted and under control. In the last twenty-four hours, I have learned otherwise. 😦