I knocked down the crib tonight. Gnat’s bed arrived while they were out of town, but I kept the crib around in case we had transitional issues. I’d read, and heard, about kids who fought the reployment to a Real Bed, who sought the security of the slats, who rejected the bed as if its open sides were a symbol of the perils one faced in this cold, bitter world: you can fall out of bed now. Just when you least expect it. You’ll be sleeping, having a fiiine time, and then: bang! It’s three AM and it’s cold and it’s dark and the earth itself, thrumming with gravity’s urges, has summoned your head to dispute the floor. And your head will lose. Welcome to the real world, kid. Welcome to the REAL BED.

Now that the security of the crib is gone, we have to leave the door open. We have to leave a light on. Actually, several. Actually, I have to train movie premiere lights at her window and strew highway flares in the hallway.

But all of a sudden she’s an adult.

“My baby is growing up!” my wife said tonight as I knocked down the crib.

“I certainly hope so,” I said. “Otherwise she’ll have to take special drugs and get shin stretching operations.”

But I know what she means. Gnat came back from her trip supercharged in some odd way - a week with cousins, older cousins, jump-started some portion of her brain. We were driving home today, and she said:

“Skeletons. I like skeletons.” Pause. “They’re cute.”

Ohhhkay. Hmm.

“Boys like skeletons,” she added.

That they do. Some of them like making them, too.

“It was dark,” she said after a while. “I like dark.”

My Toddler the Goth. I asked my wife about this tonight, and she laughed: they’d visited a little Junior Haunted House in AZ. Hence the skeletons.

“You took her to a haunted house?” I said.

Gnat insisted on it, my wife said. The Big Kids were going, and she wanted to go with the Big Kids. “And if the other mothers were throwing their kids off the cliff," I huffed, "would you -”

“It was a children’s haunted house.”

Oh, great. Gummi intestines, spilled from Hello Kitty’s torn abdomen? But no. It was all quite mild. Gnat was a bit nervous, but thrilled, and it made an impression on her. I don’t want to tell her she has a skeleton inside her, though; she’d never go to sleep.

Hell, that freaks ME out.

Interesting nightmare this morning; dreamed I was at Tony Soprano’s Christmas party. Everyone smelled of stale cigarettes. Tony walked around in a bad mood, and I thought man, I hope he doesn’t go Capone on anyone and put in their heads with a baseball bat, but then I remembered: Tone would only go nuts on a guy who was, say, wearing a wire. Then my brain, having decided in advance this was a nightmare, added a detail to my character: I was wearing a wire. Awww, damn.

It’s remarkable how unpleasant the characters from the Sopranos are when you know that most of them would kill you under the right circumstances. I mean, the most you can get from these guys is that they don’t shoot you in the face.

I chose the right line of work.

Had a big Screed in the pipeline tonight, but it’ll have to wait until tomorrow. Long day. Had to take Gnat to the doctor’s this afternoon - goopy eye, much redness. Snap diagnosis, half an hour in the pharmacy, back home. Made dinner. All eyes on the TV, which is never turned on during dinner, but this is wartime, and there was good news. A POW had been freed. Assault on Baghdad in progress. Momentous times.

Just went outside at 11 PM to finish the day’s cigar. The ground is crackling; the ground whispers and pops. The green life of spring is pushing its way to the sun.
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