Baby’s First Sentence

Jen bellowed with revulsion.

Josh did a joyous touchdown dance in the middle of the living room, knocking over an end table in the process.

Did you hear her? Did you hear her?

Jen started to cry.

Baby Jen dribbled spit down her chin.

Our little girl said her first sentence, Josh said.

Baby Jen said it again.

Fuck, I dropped the hammer, she said.

My mother’s going to be here soon to take her for her walk, Jen said.

This moment hung huge in their lives, especially for the most beautiful two-year-old on the block. With cheeks rosy as a sun-kissed McIntosh apple, Baby Jen’s black hair hung in a mini-pageboy to her ears. The corners of her mouth turned up just so, turning her smile into a soft band of delicate grace.

Innocence and style created a baby beautiful enough for a national diaper commercial. Actually, Jen would turn down a magazine diaper ad because of the shitty connotation that would follow her little darling through her life like a frenzied stalker, turning Baby Jen’s otherwise spotless image into a coast-to-coast poo poo joke.

Josh ran for the kitchen and returned with a jar of banana custard pudding.

Don’t you dare give her a reward, Jen said.

Look at her face, he said.

The child had stopped smiling.

She thinks you’re mad at her, he said.

Oh, princess, Jen said.

Baby Jen smiled again.

Fuck, I dropped the hammer, she said.

Jen screamed again.

She must have heard those goddamn construction workers next door, she said.

Fuck, I dropped the goddamn hammer, Baby Jen said.

Josh fell on the floor laughing.

The doorbell rang.

Hiya kids, Jen’s mother said.

Oh, Mommy, Jen said.

Baby Jen tried to talk but the words came out garbled because she had a mouthful of runny banana pudding.

I want a divorce, Jen said.

Mom spun and faced Josh.

What did you do?

There you go, just like your daughter always blaming me, he said.

Now Josh had gone too far.

Mom shot her words with the intent of a firing squad facing a doomed prisoner, raising her voice above the din of the construction crew next door who continued pounding, yelling, laughing and cursing.

Look at you, she said.

Jen jumped into the act.

Yeah, Josh, look at you, you worthless slacker, you.

Mom followed up with a vicious verbal barrage. Jerking a thumb to the construction noise outside, she pointed at the musical instrument Josh had lovingly placed on the sofa when he finished practice.

Instead of working like real men you’re home all day on the couch playing that violin of yours, she said.

Baby Jen‘s ears perked up.

Fucking violin, she said.