Monday, July 14, 2008

turtles don't sleep

"posada takes a pitch, low and outside for a ball, and the count moves to two and two..." whispers the tv in my bedroom. i can't have it too loud, jack's room is next door to mine, after all. and i wouldn't want to wake him up. "swing and a miss! strike three, and there are two away..." continues the broadcast. the yankees are losing. again. i'm sitting in bed, letting the day's detritis settle down like dust on the furniture. to facilitate this settling in, i'm watching the yankees game, doing a crossword puzzle (does anyone know a 10-letter word for "comical?"). i've got a pencil in my hand, i cold drink on the night stand, and (finally, now that the kids are in bed) a bit of quiet in the house. "that's popped down the left field line and curving foul out of play. two and one now to robbie." i love the sound of a baseball broadcast. its got its own pace and rhythm: a kind of music to me. people say watching baseball is like watching paint dry, and i guess i can understand their frustration with the pace of the game, but i, for one, love it. it is slow and deliberate, paced and precise. like a piece of jazz, it keeps its general form, but speeds up and slows down at times, a kind of improvisational lullaby for me. and so, as i realize that 'hilarious' has only 9 letters, i feel myself slipping into a baseball-induced sleep. the music of the game lulling me into beautiful dreams. "cano swings and hits a bouncer towards second...just out of the reach of roberts, into right field for a two-out hit..." as i surrender my senses to the sweeping movement of the sport, i hear a foreign sound. it's not the broadcaster's voice or the crack of the bat. its not the roar of the crowd or even the blare of a commercial. it is a sweeping noise, a kind of quiet moving noise. so i open my eyes and see him. jack is walking on his hands and feet with his butt stuck way up in the air, like he's playing a moving game of twister. he sees that i notice him, and so he flashes his best "if-i-smile-really-big-there's-no-way-i'm-getting-in-trouble-smile" at me. i say to him, "jackson, what are you doing?"
"no, what?"
"i'm a turtle."
"and cabrera flies out to end the inning, after 6 and a half, it is still yankees 1, orioles 4."
"oh, i see. well, mr. turtle, i think you should be in bed right now."
"no," he replies, with a more than a bit of defiance in his voice. "turtles don't sleep."
what am i supposed to say to that? i've got a 3-year old boy on all fours up way past his bedtime flashing his cutest smile and presenting his well-executed plan for being out of bed. all i can muster up is, "yeah, i'm pretty sure turtles do sleep, and its way past bedtime for this turtle."
as i'm leaving the room after putting him to bed, he tries one more time, "no, turtles do NOT sleep, daddy."
"yes, jack, they do. don't be ridiculous. go to sleep, mr. turtle."
as i settle back into bed, i notice that orioles already have the leadoff man aboard, and it occurs to me that ridiculous has ten letters.
it also occurs to me that these moments, these tiny little insignificant moments, are the moments that matter. as ridiculous as it is, my son pretending to be a turtle is just what i need to remember what this is all about and give me the energy i need to dive headlong into another day.
these are the moments that matter.


cathyq said...

Just think how clever he is to come up with a cover story and execute it with aplomb and panache as he faces the consequences of being out of bed. Wow. If only we were as clever and confident with our plans! Kids rock.(or turtle as it were).

Crafty P said...


cute story.

love the way your wrote it and how it all meshes and weaves together like a warm blanket. i think i'm sleepy...