Last night I finished reading Let’s Pretend This Never Happened out loud to Jackson at bedtime. We’d had to skip over some parts, like the backyard gravedigging and zombies chapter (spoiler alert), because even I didn’t want that to be the last thing on my mind before going to sleep. Our favorite chapters centered on Posey the cat and Barnaby Jones the pug. Jackson was often breathless from laughter, and I take partial responsibility for him failing his language test because I’d kept him up reading past 10:00 o’clock the night before.
When we had read everything and there was nothing left to read I went and read the acknowledgments page, too, because Jenny thanked “Alice and Eden” on it and I wanted to show off a little. Oh, boy, was Jackson impressed. He looked at me in shock, then he jabbed his finger into my chest, repeatedly (or, as he says, repeatively), and said, “That’s you!” I told him how Alice and I’d had breakfast and dinner with Jenny in New Orleans last year when she was spending half her time in her hotel room writing this book, and that Alice had reached out to Jenny a lot more than I had since then, and I wasn’t sure what exactly I’d done to deserve a thanks, but that I’ll take it, even if I am the less-reaching-out part of the Alice-and-Eden unit, because when a New York Times best-selling author thanks you in her New York Times best-selling book for doing God knows what, it still feels pretty fantastic.
Then I held up a beat-up copy of David Sedaris’s Naked that I’d snagged from the donations pile at the library for a buck. “I thought we could read some of the stories in here for our next bedtime book. He’s funny.”
“I don’t know.” Dubious face.
“What’s the problem, then?”
“I don’t know,” he said again, “I just think women are funnier than men.”
And then I fell over and died. I’d say MISSION ACCOMPLISHED but getting him to believe that women are funnier than men was never the mission; the mission has been more of a general “raise a boy who appreciates women and men for their talents equally, without an overlay of sexist expectations.” So I may have done a little cultural over-correction by wiring DVDs of 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation into his brain on repeat while he sleeps. Should I put a testosterone patch on his forehead? I hope this doesn’t mean we have to watch more Adam Sandler movies.