Saturday, December 3, 2011


Sometimes it takes a little trauma to shake off the cobwebs, dust of the keyboard, and do a little blogging. Last night provided just the right jolt to what had become - even during and in wake of family visits and holidays - a lovely, lilting pace in the Fishman household.

Carrie put it best at three o'clock in this morning when she said, "Oh my fucking god, this is like a horror film." And it was - the long awaited sequel to "Mmmba, Mmmba, Mmmba," which was inspired the timeless horror flick, "Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah." All three were filmed on location at Fish Manor with a budget under $10 (not including the therapy and beer that were needed to recover).

Much like its prequels, "Downstairs" began innocently, disguised if you will like any other of the hundreds of nights we'd spent together. We played in the afternoon when mom got home, had a delicious shepherd's pie for dinner (although Amari wasn't very interested), and small dessert afterwards (very interested). At six-thirty, Mama called an audible to our normal routine and let Amari slide without a bath. She seemed tired and ready to go upstairs.

As usual, we took her upstairs together, bidding goodnight to all of Amari's toys, the hallway, her future room, and so on, then lay down in bed where Mama reads her a story and Dada goes downstairs to work. Fifteen minutes later, Amari strolls back into the living room - without Mama - and proudly proclaims, "Downstairs." Mama followed shortly after, telling me that she'd tried to bluff Amari by saying, "You can go downstairs, but Mama's sleeping." Apparently Amari might have a future as a poker player.

We decided to let her stay up. We watched an episode of "Royal Pains", she played an colored and tried to help me work from time to time - which was not really helpful at all. Towards the end of the episode, she began dumping out bags of puzzle pieces and moving dangerously close to our elevated Christmas tree. Already frustrated by her "help," I decided to put an end to her extended evening by snatching her up and taking her back upstairs. No sooner had I hit the landing than the tears began to flow and wails of "Downstairs, downstairs, downstairs," ensued.

We reached the bedroom and the haunting cries continued, "Downstairs, downstairs, downstairs!!!" We offered bedtime stories, bottles, pacifiers, hugs, rocks, etc., but they were all declined with a stern, "Downstairs, choke, sob, downstairs, huff puff, DOWNSTAIRS!!!" It took all of eight minutes for Carrie and I to look at each other, exasperated, as if to say, "Okay. Downstairs sounds awesome." So - not really knowing what else to do and very uncertain if it was a good idea - downstairs we went.

The faucet shut off immediately, tears continued to dribble down her face, but she was quiet, save the residual gasps of a long, hard cry. Her body took half breaths as she calmed down in my lap, snuggled against my chest. As the air left her lungs each time, however, I could have sworn I heard a faint whisper, "Downstairs...downstairs...downstairs..."

Much like other horror films, hindsight made it easy to find the mistakes we'd made along the way. Although we didn't have sex or say, "I'll be right back," or go out into the woods alone with a flashlight, we did let Amari have dessert without much dinner, we skipped her bath, and then I acted out of frustration and gave her little opportunity to transition. Live and learn.

Fifteen minutes and a bottle after our return downstairs, Amari was drifting off in Mama's arms, as sweet and innocent as a the pre-water gremlins. Finally, with our own little moguai curled up and sleeping between us on the couch, it was easy to pretend that the horrors we'd just survived had never really happened at all.