Sunday morning I was lollygagging in bed with a small but persistent headache and occasional nose bleed, probably due to the fact that I wasn’t quite ready to enjoy normal dinner-with-friends wine drinking quite so close to the finale of my very important head cold. It occurred to me that nose bleeds can be symptomatic of all sorts of fun, including (1) change of seasons/dry weather, (2) brain hemorrhage, (3) getting punched in the face, or (4) over-blowing due to frantic amounts of congestion. But these days I’m also having hourly hot flashes and I haven’t had my period for a couple of months, and so for a moment I was actually addled enough to think, Is that a menopause thing? You start bleeding out of your nose? My mother never warned me about anything like that. We had a warm but shame-based relationship, though, so who knows? My organs could be migrating all over the place but I wouldn’t recognize the symptoms were because there wasn’t a Modess pamphlet about placental nose bleeds for my mom to leave on my bed.
Anyway. Sunday morning I’m lying in bed trying to will myself into the shower, wondering whether I’d be better off with two Advil or a Heineken, when Jackson comes flying in with his blanket over him like a cape. I love my son with all my heart, but not so much when he’s JUMPing UP and DOWN on the BED and then trying to suffocate me. With his love. And his blanket.
I managed to elbow him off me in the most passive, loving, sick-lady way possible, which he adores. We have the world’s laziest wrestling matches. We’ll be lying there watching TV and slowly trying to push each other onto the floor. So there I was with my headache and my bloody nose (and a very attractive dry cough that makes me sound like Lauren Bacall) trying to stiff-arm 100 pounds of boy, who then reared up with his blanket all dramatically and said, “DAMMINT, PAMELA!” and then covered my head like he was actually trying to suffocate me.
I was trapped under the blanket trying fruitlessly to elbow him in the groin in a way that wouldn’t ruin his life, so all he could hear was my muffled, “Oh my God, who is Pamela?”
“I don’t know!” he giggled, trying to sit on my head, “She’s your alter ego! And she’s blonde! . . . And she has a DRINKING PROBLEM!”
I managed to push him off, where he collapsed into a pile of his own hilarity, and I thought, Things are so much more well-defined for Pamela. I’m graying and have a cold-medicine dependency, but she gets to be blonde and call two bottles of champagne a good start.
But also, what in hell does he know to throw around the phrase “drinking problem”? Is he secretly watching Celebrity Rehab? Did I watch Lost Weekend when I was pregnant and Ray Milland crossed the placenta? It’s a shock to hear grown-up phrases come out of your child’s mouth like they know what they’re saying. I mean, kids pick stuff up all over the place, and I know Jackson’s fascinated with what it means to be an adult. When I was his age I was sitting in my bedroom memorizing Cheech and Chong routines and pretending to be Liza Minnelli in Cabaret and my parents didn’t have a clue.