Don’t rub me like a Jedi knight.

The above is a statement uttered by Henry. I was going to provide the anecdote that would put it in context, but the hell with it. You might think you can figure out why he would say such a thing but you won’t be able to figure it out. Henry is an enigma wrapped in a riddle, side-by-side with a conundrum, across the way from a bugaboo.

In other news, my son is covered in rashes. This is not new. For lo these many months he has been bedecked with eczema and bespeckled with hives. As he himself put it, he is "itchy, itchy Ichabod." I haven’t done much about it because—well, I blame the liquor. Whoops! Actually I am sober 89% of the time, and we’ve done everything we can to figure out what the problem is, and everyone’s conclusion is that there’s no real problem. Except he’s all scratchy and hive-y. The hives bloom and then fade of their own twisted accord, with no apparent connection to anything he’s eaten or done or said or thought. One doctor posited that it might be a reaction to our wool rug, so we no longer let him lounge pantsless on said rug. We apply medicinal salves and unguents on a regular basis, and we dose him with Benadryl. Our detergents are everything-free. No longer do we enjoy bubbles in our bath—instead we add soothing but decidedly un-festive baking soda, or as Henry calls it, “baby soda.” After the bath, instead of rubbing him like a Jedi knight, we pat him softly like a Sith lord.

Then he spent the weekend with my in-laws, and returned with smooth, rash-free skin for the first time in, oh, since he was born. My in-laws denied doing anything special for him. So the only reasonable conclusion is that his skin benefited from their lack of squalor. That a weekend in the suburbs meant a blessed reprieve from the dust mites and chiggers that usually gnaw on his infant flesh as he slumbers. In other words, we live in filth. Which I guess means I should vacuum or clean or whatever, but I’m so tired! And self-absorbed! Oh—and drunk.