“How many people do you think I am? Pretend I am somebody else. You can pretend I’m an old millionaire.”1
“Where is my beautiful house?”2
“We caught a rattlesnake. Now we got something for dinner!”3
“Your thumb is a bone with a bump on it. Bump bump bump. You move the thumb.”4
“I can’t sleep ’cause my bed’s on fire.”5
“There is water at the bottom of the ocean. Under the water. Carry the water. Remove the water at the bottom of the ocean.”6
“I dream of cherry pies, candy bars, and chocolate chip cookies.”7
“Would you like to come along? You could help me sing this song.”8
“Run, run, run, run, run, run, run away, oh-oh-oh.”9
“When this kiss is over, it will start again. It will not be ANY DIFFERENT. It will be EXACTLY THE SAME.”10
“My God! What have I done?”11
1 “Swamp” (2005 remaster). But also, my kid, who believes that ordering adults to engage in increasingly elaborate roleplay will somehow delay bedtime. (I never get to be the millionaire. I get to be the millionaire’s long-suffering servant.)
2 “Once in a Lifetime.” But also? My kid. Our house is a source of constant disappointment to him due to its lack of a waterslide, personal ice cream parlor, and reptile research lab.
3 “(Nothing but) Flowers,” but I should mention that my kid sleeps with a six-foot stuffed snake that is his best friend, favorite story prop, and imaginary food source, so this one’s my kid too.
4 Okay, this one’s only my kid, but I made you wonder, right?
5 “Psycho Killer.” But, yeah, also my kid. At this point, the floor of his room is made of lava and all the furniture is on fire. It’s my job to pretend to be made of ice so that I melt into water, which he can use to combat the conflagration. Does this mean that I also die, or that I am somehow converted into steaming clouds of parental frustration and fatigue? I don’t know. I don’t care.
6 We’re back to “Once in a Lifetime,” but who are we kidding? This happens every night. The good news is that, if I follow instructions to retrieve the water at the bottom of the ocean, I can put out the bed and all these lava hot spots and finally get this kid to sleep. Right?
7 This is “(Nothing but) Flowers” again, but we also skipped dessert tonight in a vain attempt to see whether cutting post-dinner sugar would make bedtime any less interminable, and you see how that’s working out. I dream of these things too. I will probably head back downstairs to gobble them down sometime after midnight, when/if my kid finally falls asleep.
8 We’re on a “Road to Nowhere.” Come on inside. Please. Just take over for a few minutes so I can pee. And it’s very far away and it’s growing day by day and, baby, it’s all right—David Byrne, it’s absolutely NOT all right, could you throw me a bone, here? What the hell am I going to do? How can a kid be both a night owl AND a lark? Help me out.
9 Yes. This. NOW we’re talking. I give “Psycho Killer” credit for the BEST DAMN IDEA I’VE HEARD ALL DAY. But wait! This is also my kid. We’ve reached the point in the evening where he’s not even coherent and is mostly just stringing repetitive words together, but the less he makes sense, the more he makes sense, you know?
10 This is “Heaven,” which is also a good word for the moment when I finally get to rise—quietly, dear God, please don’t wake up—SHIT. Yes, of course, I’ll give you one more goodnight kiss. And—okay, yes, one more, but this is really it, buddy, I’m so tired—what? What do you mean I kissed you the wrong way? How is that even poss—you know what? Fine. Yes. I’ll lay back down and start over.
11 You already know the answer to this one. Same as it ever was.