Generally a stickler for calm, quiet, bedtime routines, lately I have wound up in Liam or Will’s bed breaking my own rule. One night, after reading books together in bed, Liam looked at me and whispered, “Mom, do big eyes!” So I opened my eyes as wide as I could. And his big chortle set off my giggles. When he caught his breath, “Again, Mom!” And I did. His belly laughs always remind me of my dad when he’s watching Laurel and Hardy or The Three Stooges. He turned to me a third time and I did big eyes without him asking. I can only describe this vision as a white egg with big eyes. Under his blanket we were little more than a gelatinous mound of laugh muscles.

Will’s favorite is my puffer fish. This is big eyes, plus puffed out cheeks. With my bald but spiky head, it’s pretty much a dead-on likeness. I puff up and as I’m about to turn blue, Will deflates me by pushing the air out of my cheeks. Leaving once again a heap of giggles, as he rubs my spiky head.

For bedtime my current hat of choice is light-weight and bright red. It’s extra big so there’s a puff at the back of my head. I often put it on upstairs before getting into bed, just to take the chill off. One night while I was sitting red-capped on the edge of the tub, brushing Will’s teeth on my normal perch, Bill walked in, grinned and said, “Do you know who you look like?” I knew where he was going. “Yes…. Noddy without the bell.” Laughing, he replied with a big, “YES!” He knows Noddy is my least favorite Sprout star. And there I sat, a replica of that icon.

One morning, running around with only a beach towel loosely draped over one shoulder, I caught a glimpse of myself in the bathroom mirror. I went into the kitchen and asked, “Who am I now?” I was going for Tibetan monk but Bill elevated me to a higher status. “Ghandi.”

Last Saturday morning when Liam and I were making blueberry muffins, Bill started filming the event. Lovely, I’m in my pajamas (matching!) and bra-less, previously wondering whether I wanted my bald era documented in moving pictures. I guess, yes. Bill chuckled as we worked, “Look out Barefoot Contessa, we have Bareheaded Contessa!” Then Will chimed in, “But Dad, Mom is barefoot too… She is the Barefoot and Bareheaded Contessa!!”

After bath time yesterday morning, I threw a bright blue beach towel over Will as he was crouched on another towel on the floor. They usually do snail impersonations after baths, but after reading a frog book the night before, I told Will he looked like a poisonous blue dart frog. As I turned and walked back into the kitchen, I heard a little voice, “OK , Spike! … Ya big porcupine!” He cracked me up. As I grappled with the name-calling, thinking it’s not the behavior normally accepted in this place, I resolved it with the thought that it’s not normal to have a bald mom! And we would just go with the humorous flow.

In September during a giggling episode in bed with Bill on the night of my radioactive PET scan day, I said to Bill, “Do you think being bald will be as funny as being radioactive? He closed the show with a one-liner, “Who loves you, baby?”

While I worked so hard pre-chemo to build my camouflage shtick, little did I know how much fresh material we would have mid-chemo when I took off my designer glasses.

Staying strong and laughing daily,