My mom says that when my oldest brother was a baby, she threw out every pacifier that fell out of his mouth onto the ground. With the next kid, my other older brother, she washed the pacifier and put it back in his mouth when that happened. Me, the youngest, she just picked the pacifier up and put it back in my mouth.

My oldest brother and his wife are brand new parents with a teeny tiny baby named Natalie Rose. They’re kinda crazy first parents, but who isn’t, I guess. Babies are kind of boring. My mom says it’s at about six months they start to act like real humans with personalities and responses. My brother has a dog and it barks like a maniac, but Natalie doesn’t even flinch. She just burps and scrunches up her face and sleeps. All the time.

I forgot one other time in high school. I was on the newspaper and had written my first article, and nervously presented it to my editor. “Dumb it down,” he said. “This isn’t creative writing.” And even though he said it disdainfully, like I was doing it all wrong, it felt good.


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