So, you’re having trouble falling asleep and you can’t take a Xanax because no one’s around to open the bottle for you, and you can’t steal your infant daughter’s sound machine because you traded your auditory faculties for magic beans, and you can’t watch hypnosis videos because you lost the ability to perceive motion in that same shoddy, back-alley bean-deal. So what? Give me a break. Read the soothing words of my meditation guide if you can’t sleep.
First off, I want you to yell across the hall at your infant daughter to stop crying. Try something direct like, “I don’t know where your mother is, Carla.” Don’t make jokes about her mother not coming home because she’s dead because you murdered her; your baby will instantly recognize this as hack, and the resultant silence will be unbearable for the both of you. Next, worry about how your daughter never laughs. It’s just better to get it out of the way now, so her grim, steely expression doesn’t pop into your head as you’re falling asleep and then you jolt awake and we have to start all over.
Second, search for your cat. When you can’t find him drinking from the toilet like you showed him, give up and knock on your infant daughter’s door. Say, “Honey, have you seen the cat?” Calling her “honey” will establish the feeling like everything’s cool between you two; like she understands that the toilet thing was just a demonstration, and not your primary source of water. When she starts crying again, hold your hand above your head and say, “I’ve had it up to here with you.” Then open the door and turn on her light so she can see just how high up your frustration goes.
Third, spot the cat under her crib. Try to get him out from under there by yanking his tail. As soon as you’ve been yanking his tail nonstop for ten minutes, he’ll hiss at you like he doesn’t like his favorite game anymore: Yanky Tail. Whatever. You’re too tired to be playing games anyhow, so just grab him and put him in the crib. Ask your infant daughter if she wouldn’t mind cat-sitting for a while, and ask your cat if he wouldn’t mind watching the kid. This way, no egos are bruised. Sneaky boy!
Four: Why does your daughter have gum stuck in her hair? Sure, you can remember chewing the Hubba-Bubba—you made your girl-neighbor watch as you blew small, effortful bubbles and you both got in trouble for it, and there’s still a red mark on your wrist from the ruler her grandmother used—but you can’t remember kissing your daughter on the head at any point during the day. Perhaps when you were nuzzling the cat to comfort yourself after the scolding the gum got stuck in his fur and then your baby, greedy little monster that she is, stole it from the cat. You sent her that article on women, hysteria and kleptomania like a month ago; did she even read it? You can’t deal with this right now.
Five: It’s time to relax. Go back into your bedroom, open your laptop and look through old photos of your loved ones. Now take the photos of you parents and upload them to Fantamorph, and Animorph their young faces into their old ones, and their old ones into skeleton heads. No, that’s too obvious. Try ending on moldy Jack-o-Lanterns. Experiment. This is Daddy’s Downtime, so enjoy it.
Next, upload your art to Facebook. While you’re there you may notice that your aunt has posted a picture of herself from your cousin’s graduation day. Write something snarky like, “What a “nice” dress you’re wearing,” so she knows you wish you’d been invited. Make similar comments on your other aunts’ walls. Why would Janet make a Bundt cake for her children and not include you? You have a child. Your child likes watching you eat Bundt cake. There’s no one right way to hassle a woman online, but what if they’re an uncle with longer hair? Give him a break; he might be between stylists, so just write him a private message telling him he has one week to get that taken care of.
Six: Finally, it’s time for the breathing exercises. Close your laptop, toss it on the floor, breathe in, hold it for three minutes, then cough uncontrollably and heave over the toilet. Repeat until you pass out on the bathroom rug. In the morning, don’t forget to do your affirmations like, “I’m sure the magic beans will take hold soon,” and, “Your enemies will start dropping dead any minute now,” and, “Your cat is withholding but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t care.”