Having breakfast in the dark with Stevie Wonder and some angry dwarf

Either Kate got her eyes lasered yesterday or she went out on a bender the likes of which I have never seen, because this morning she’s been stumbling into walls and wearing dark sunglasses and moaning about the light from our neighbor’s refrigerator bothering her.

And then Piper decided to wake up earlier than usual and demand the bottle of milk we’ve been denying her for 36 hours. We’ve been waiting to return her to dairy products until she stopped casually yakking up random bits of food and beverages, so giving into the hostage-taker’s demands and giving her a full bottle of warm milk while she sat in the middle of our bed felt a little like handing her a goldfish bowl full of grenades and live snakes and asking her to keep it upright.

I figured I’d treat everyone and make some quick pancakes, but because of Kate’s eyes, I kept most of the lights off and cooked by the faint crepuscular glow available, which meant that I was stumbling around the kitchen, too, while Piper pointed her hand at … something on the table, we’re not sure what … and yelled two syllables we’re hearing a lot of these days: “DA-WA!”

Unlike “GAT” and “TUCK” and “DOG” and “CAR” and “ANANA” and “BAH-BREES” and “SOX” and “SCHOOSS” and even “DAH-WOK,” all of which come from Piper with clear ASL signs and well-known translations (cat, truck, dog, car, banana, blueberries-for-the-love-of-god-people, socks, shoes and music, respectively), DA-WA has become a generic and oft-repeated entreaty for whatever she’s pointing to, thinking of, or has seen recently. Woe betide the slow-to-comprehend parent who can’t intuit what she means! Even those who, on two three-hour chunks of sleep neatly divided in the middle by an orange cat who insists on feezling his whiskers around one’s nose, mouth and ears while one sleeps, feel like they’re doing pretty well just to be vertical and not falling asleep in the pancake batter. Or on the stove.

Anyhow, there we sat, eating our breakfast in the near-dark, Kate wearing Matrix-style wraparound sunglasses and wincing at every photon and Piper demanding who knows what. A return to the gold standard, maybe, and a little goddamn comity in Congress. Me, I just ate four pancakes with grapes and almond butter and maple syrup and told Kate she was pouring soy sauce on her breakfast.