I’ve long passed the stage of investigating every mysterious crash or scream that happens in this house—really, it’s much more productive to just wait and see if someone emerges covered in blood or not—but after several minutes of hearing an odd thunking sound coming from what I thought was the living room I finally poked my head in to see whose toy was getting the Guantánamo treatment.

We’d just returned from the pool and I expected to see Dylan futzing around with one of his plastic horses, content with the knowledge that his parents had provided him with a quality amount of entertainment this afternoon. Instead, I observed him standing on tiptoe in the office, carefully balancing my laptop on its side before allowing it to crash back down onto the desk.


I unhinged my jaw and shrieked incoherently while orange flames shot from my eyesockets sent him from the room, then gingerly sat down to assess the damage. Right away, things didn’t look good. The computer wouldn’t turn on, for one thing. I plugged it in and restarted it, while noticing that it was extraordinarily dusty—how had he managed to coat it with dirt so quickly? When it finally groaned to life the display looked weird, my desktop was all fucked up, even the touchpad felt different.

JB came in to sympathetically pat me on the shoulder and remind me that I could always re-install a backup, while I clicked around in a tearful frenzy. All my current stuff was gone, shit, all my files, my photos—it was like the hard drive had been knocked around and was somehow serving up data from several months ago. The system was running so slow I couldn’t even get Disk Utility to run. And why did the display look so shitty? Had he broken some kind of . . . graphics card . . . thingie, too?

The worst part, I thought, was that I didn’t know how I was ever going to forgive my own child. What kind of clueless asshole kid just destroys a computer for no good reason? I mean, I know he’s a toddler, but for god’s sake, why? WHY?

I retreated to the kitchen and slumped over the counter, spiraling further into a pit of despair, with visions of grim-faced Genius Bar hipsters sadly shaking their heads at me. I’m sorry, they would murmur, respectfully drawing a white sheet over my darkened laptop screen, we did everything we could.

As I imagined the difficult task of writing the note that would be pinned to my son’s jacket as I left him on the steps of the orphanage—should it start with “Dear Sirs,” or would “To Whom It May Concern” be more appropriate?—JB called from the office, “Hey, so I think I have good news for you. This is not your laptop.”

It turns out Dylan had swapped my MacBook Pro with my old, long-defunct laptop. He’d taken my broken laptop from the bottom of the office bookshelf where it’s been sitting for nearly a year:


He then put the old laptop on my desk and carefully stashed my newer MacBook back on the bookshelf in the exact same location.

What he was actually doing with my old laptop when I caught him is anyone’s guess, but my working theory is that he was trying to plug it in. As for how I didn’t realize I was trying to fix a computer that was smaller, older, and running a completely different operating system (to name a few differences), I have no good explanation other than “child has broken something!” made a lot more sense at the time than “child has secretly replaced this thing with a different thing altogether!”

I’ve upgraded him from clueless asshole, but I’m not sure devious little fucker is any better. O, this kid. I have never loved so fiercely something that was capable of being this annoying.

(Dylan, smiling beatifically and batting his fifty-foot lashes at me: “We don’t touch Mommy’s picyooter any more, RIGHT? Right.”)

Remember me whining about my skin a while back? So I’ve been doing the Oil Cleansing Method off and on for a few weeks and overall I like what it does: deep cleans, leaves most of my face feeling soft and glowy, doesn’t cost a million dollars. (Con: since I wash my face in the bath each night, I have to clean the tub more often to fend off an Oily Ring of Ewwww.)

The rashy whatever-it-is on my chin didn’t go away, though, and it seems like it’s slowly but steadily getting worse ever since it first showed up at the beginning of last summer, with spots showing up on my forehead now. I miss having decent skin, you guys. I don’t think I’m quite to the Oozing Leprous stage yet, but I feel wildly self-conscious all the time now. Unattractive.

I finally went back to the dermatologist, who promptly re-prescribed the original antibiotic that gave me headaches (Minocycline), and I took one last night and went UGH MY HEAD.


I keep wondering what it is that’s changed. Diet? Makeup? Skincare products? Nothing comes to mind, I’ve tried all sorts of different things and haven’t noticed any kind of pattern. But then last night while googling around for hormones+aging30-somethings+WTFISWRONGWITHMYFACE it finally occurred to me that maybe it’s my birth control?

Could that even be possible? I’ve had an IUD ever since Dylan was born, which is in fact when it was factory-installed, and it seems weird that I’d start having some random side effect 2.5 years afterwards.

Still, maybe she’s born with it . . . maybe it’s Mirena. Now if only there was some sort of Harry Potter spell for having it removed. (Cervixa Disapparition. Expulso No-Feel-Um. Libera Uterineum Bye-Bye.) You’d think I would have learned a thing or two from the process of pursuing pregnancy, but three years ago I wasn’t really thinking ahead to this thing’s exit strategy, and I’m just saying, IT DOESN’T SOUND PLEASANT.

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