Homemade pizza (again!) cools on the counter. Nels is in the kitchen with Ralph singing a song called “Sophia” to the tune of West Side Story‘s “Maria” (incidentally, the day after Sophie was born at the tag end of my hospital stay this musical was on TV; we took great joy in not only co-opting the lyrics for this song but laughing at the dance numbers and cameltoes of the “gang” members).

Still, Nels’ rendering is lovely. He literally sings every word. Then suddenly he darts across and pinch’s Ralph on the bottom (family vernacular is “cup-a-cakes” for someone’s bum cheeks) and darts away. Nels is literally a joy for me constantly these days – like how while riding the bus he solemnly repeats over and over as he points to the icons at the front of the bus: “That says No Smoking, No Eating Food, No Wiggling, and No Playing Loud Music.” (guess which one mom inserted into the transit mantra).

I walk in my bedroom where Sophie is watching a Spongebob DVD and pause the film (time for dinner). She sees my new haircut which has also been flat-ironed and says, “Straight hair!” with a shy, happy grin. “I’m almost as pretty as you now,” I tell her, and hustle her into the kitchen.

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