I have made this letter longer than usual only because I did not have time to make it shorter.
-Blaise Pascal

The reason I dread writing letters is because I am so apt to get to slinging wisdom & forget to let up. Thus much precious time is lost.
-Mark Twain

Ah, yes…the writer’s dilemma. Cutting the fat. Getting rid of the excess. Writing one tight page instead of three rambling ones. I suppose, like Twain, most of us suffer too much from wanting to hear ourselves talk…or, in this case, write. Hence, an exercise from school days: Declan’s triumphs and tribulations in 400 words or less:

Wake up at 6 a.m. Squeal like a happy, baby whale. Stick tongue out. Smile. Stick tongue out again. Thwart Mom and Dad’s attempts to resume sleep. Stick fist in mouth. Get diaper changed. Kick on play mat. Squeal. Suck on cloth. Bat at owl. Kick. Yawn, rub eyes. Dog in crotch again. Obnoxious. Kick on changing pad. Stick tongue out. Sit in vibrating chair. Look at birds. Milk time with mom. Pull off, play with food. Spit up. Stick tongue out. Get diaper changed. Funny face, Dad! Giggle. Get swaddled. Fight off nap. Cry. Try to break swaddle. Cry. Get picked up. Get put down. Spit up. Repeat. Nap for 45 minutes. Wake up. Stick tongue out. Put fist in mouth. Eat. Cry. Regret not sleeping longer. Fist in mouth. Wriggle. Thump thump thump on back. Get snapped into car seat. Suffer indignity. Cry. Get pacifier stuffed in gob. Knock pacifier out with hand. Cry. Doze off. Wake up. Look around coffee shop. Here again? Serenity now. Back in car. Fuss. Back at home. Eat. On floor. Suddenly on tummy. Who did this? Cry, struggle, maybe roll over. Triumph! Wait, I’m mad! Test lung capacity. Back in vibrating chair. Concentrate on bowels. Fuss. Slowly bring hands together. Why are the birds mocking me?! Hold me! Doze off. Back in crib. Cry. Back in Mom’s arms. Sleep. Make funny noises from butt. Changing pad. Pants off, cold sensation, new diaper. Hi, Mom! Stick tongue out. Babble. Food now? Stuffed in new contraption. Blinding sun. Cry. Doze off. Back on floor. Propped up. Look out window. Whoa… did I just learn something new? Fart. Smile. Spit up. Mom sounds like Mary Poppins! Laugh. Naked time! Read book. Get massage from Mom. Stuffed in sleep sack. Resist. Cry. Nipple in mouth. All is good. Fall asleep. Falling sensation. Arms straight out. No crib! Back in Mom’s arms. Sound of ocean waves. Can’t. Keep. Eyes. Open. Sleep. Wait 4-5 hours. Suck out food. Dad’s arms. Pat, pat, pat. Sleep.