I Know This Thing
You got your mother’s spots. You got my hands and feet. This is nice, mine are long. We used to take you on trips, even when you were breathing liquid, when you were one of a thousand fruit sizes, growing, tumbling, kicking, burping. I used to close my eyes to find your mom in the dark. Now I find my way in and out of your room when you lose the pacifier in your sleep.
I measure time between when you are asleep and when you are awake. I used to measure time between when I slept and when I could have a drink. I was a big mess. I used to forget when to eat, until I needed to eat to make sure you eat. I used to find an empty fridge in the morning.
I can’t sleep without future meals in the cupboards and frozen milk cubes in the freezer. You grew teeth early and are always crunching ice. So I make you ice cubes out of everything. I am lucky for your teeth. I thank the sky for them. I can buy fresh anything and chop it into a powder to make the cubes. Then you crunch for days.
You like fresh cheeses. This too is lucky and easy for me, because I like them too. All I have to do is restrain myself just enough to save some for you before I eat all the way through my hands.
I can never tell if there was a time before this time and after. Sometimes I dream about a place and time and you are not there. This is when I wake up and have to run into your room and make sure you are real. This is when I wake you up to play in the middle of the night. First you are angry, then you are giggling, then we are both asleep and waking up on the couch again with the cheese plate empty beside us. This is when I feed you ice for breakfast.
When your mom is home she makes sure I don’t wake you up in the middle of the night to play. She keeps us on a schedule. She tries to imagine what it would be like without me, sometimes, I do not get angry at her for it. I just clean everything up around us and hope she realizes how much extra time there is to take pictures of you two and your matching spots.
One time, it got really late and you were not asleep and your mom was still at work, and you did not want to sleep the first try. So we looked at some books and danced to some polka music. I walked you back into your room and placed you in your giant crib. You wrapped your long fingers around my big finger. I rubbed your butt with my other hand and you fell asleep looking up at me. You have my eyebrows too, and you like to dry hump the bed and wiggle your butt to put yourself to sleep. You’re going to do that for your whole life. I know this thing.