Three births, two of which passed without the assistance of drugs, and a stinking cast has me howling with “This is hard” and “This itches” and “Blah blah itch.” I am annoying myself with it all, particularly my superhero-like sense of smell. It is as if my right arm has been swapped with a 7 month old, cafeteria sponge that was left to marinade in a vat of sweat and ass under a hot sun before being attached to my person.

Putting Finley to bed is an arduous affair as just as I have her heavy lidded and turning for the mattress and got to lay her down, the back of her silky little head passes the fiberglass ripples on my arm and she jolts as her body makes the transfer that is 3 inches higher than it would be if I had the proper use of my arm. Wailing and crocodile tears ensue, mostly from Fin.

We begin anew and of course we do so to the full chorus of:

“Maw-um! Why is Finley crying?” from Briar and, “Actually, maybe I think she needs some milk, actually. Ya think?” from Ave.

Eventually she goes down, but now before the inside of my cast is a hot, funky mess from the pinpricks of sweat and itch that fester as my panic mounts that it will truly be hours before bedtime is over and morning will already be nipping at the door.

It was around 5 when we came down this morning, Fin was a wide eyed vision of bliss and I was able to set aside the mid-morning creakiness within my ratty pink cast. We played, cooing at a baby doll, drooling over the red block letters of a puzzle and gnawing, pawing and gumming each other. The light outside bore the weight of winter just around the bend, the dark clouds rubbing shoulders with neighborhood trees kindled an excitement for the stews I’ll be making as the days grow cooler.

Fin pressed her toes into my side and I turned to her, she pulled herself up and beamed, I could almost hear her breathy exclaim, “I’m’a sittin’, mama.” Beyond her was a ballon, loving bundled in a silky blanket, Ave’s baby. On the bookshelf 9 coins were arranged in a line, “Look, mom, I made stairs with the money,” Briar had boasted last night. “Uh bah, bah, bah, bahb uh,” Fin blurts to break my reverie. I press my face into Fin’s and she grabs a hunk of cheek giving a double flutter kick of delight.

These girls, this life, keep me at joy’s door. I am at once at peace and itching to slip deeper into each moment.