Birth of a Family, Birth of a Book

The Little Monster
The Little Monster, 2008

Thanksgiving , 2008: less than three months since the Little Monster became our son at age six.

That autumn, the Man I Married worked several afternoons and evenings a week, leaving me home alone for nine-hour stretches with a boy who would spit at me, try to kick me, and shout, “I’m going kill you, fɥ¢kin’ bitch!” Locking bedroom doorknobs were not permitted in foster homes, so MIM rigged me a small noose: not for me (though there were nights where it tempted me like the HOV lane in a traffic jam) or the monster, but to rope the Little Monster’s bedroom door shut lest things get too out of hand. I never used the noose, but simply having it to caress like rosary beads reassured me enough to keep a lid on things.

MIM and I had deep, hacking, lingering coughs, which we ignored, and miraculously, weirdly, hid from the Little Monster: If we had a cough, LM had a cough. If MIM had a hangnail, LM had a hangnail. If I had a yeast infection, LM had a yeast infection. Thus, we most assuredly did not have coughs. Just some dust in the air.

I flung the liquor cabinet open once the Little Monster finally wore himself out and passed out in his little bed, mouth foaming like Old Yeller. We had sworn off booze when we became parents, but swiftly amended that to “no self-medicating until after the child’s asleep.” Gin and Sudoku got me through my first fall as a mother. Fall as in autumn, fall as in Scarlett tumbling down a grand staircase: take your pick.Read More »