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Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger

Ever since we switched Natalia from a crib to a toddler bed, she’s been having a party at nap time. She is drunk with power. After months trapped in her crib, she can now climb in and out of bed whenever the hell she wants. In. Out. In. Out. Every afternoon from 1:30 on, she runs around like a kid on speed. I can kick myself for not hiring a new nanny yet to place the old one. I can hear her running laps while I’m down in my home office. The noise is so hypnotic, I’m surprised I haven’t fallen asleep head first on my computer keyboard.

Sometimes Natalia’s up in her room for two or three hours or more before she falls asleep. By the time she wakes up, it’s almost night time. And this day was no different. I walked in her room and her bed was piled high with books, sheets, towels, and a one-hundred-pack of baby wipes. Each individual wipe had been carefully plucked out of the bag and stacked one on top of another. The mattress sheet was soaked and so were five of the books. Dr. Seuss’s ABC book will never be the same again.

Natalia was so proud of herself. “I made a mess.”

I nodded, determined not to let this mess get to me.

“Mommy, take a picture?”

I instantly shook my head no. But when she smiled and looked at me with those big baby blue eyes and said, “Cheesebooger,” I ran downstairs for the camera like any good mom and television producer.

As soon as I walked back in the room, Natalia did it again. She struck a pose, looked right at the camera, and grinned like only a two-year-old can. “Cheesebooger.” Huh? Where did she learn that? Not from her vegetarian mom. I’ve been teaching her to smile and say, “Cheese.” And not from her “three months into Nutrisystem” dad. Probably from preschool. I snapped a few pictures, but then switched to video when she pronounced her love for cheeseburgers over and over and over again.

Kids say the darnedest things. The next thing you know, she’ll be dragging me to Outback Steakhouse—they sell cheeseburgers there don’t they? I hope so, because I refuse to go to McDonalds.

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