David O. Russell

Day Six

I’m in a lousy, tired, crabby mood. The last thing I feel like doing is being clever for ‘Slate.’ This is how the Loud family must have felt during the making of ‘An American Family’ for PBS in the 1970s. Turn the goddamn cameras off, for God’s sake, it’s Monday morning. I’m sure that half the youngsters on the Internet weren’t even born in time to see the Louds expose themselves on TV, so they don’t know what the hell I’m talking about. Lance Loud. The Loud Family. Go look it up.
I feel lousy for lots of reasons, some of which are none of Slate’s damn business. One of them is that we are weaning our two-year-old from sleeping with a bottle–we were warned, but it seemed so easy to put him to sleep with it, and then it became an excuse for him to wake up in the middle of the night a couple of times asking for ‘more bottle.’ Then he goes back to sleep. But I don’t, because it’s usually hard for me to fall asleep. So we started weaning him last night, after a rough weekend visiting friends upstate, where we got very little sleep thanks to this bottle business–and the strange surroundings, of course. I’m not the best father when I don’t sleep for many nights in a row, see? And his mother gets crabby, too, and then we start fighting over things, especially how to handle him with this bottle business. So it’s in his best interests to lose the bottle at night. And he seems fine today, happy as a clam after a fitful, bottleless night of vociferous complaining. We’re exhausted, but he’s fine. And in a few days, we hope, this nightmare will be over.
The only good thing that came out of last night, apart from starting to wean M., was discovering that there is an owl of some sort residing near our living room window. I’ve read about the hawks at mid-town, diving for pigeons and squirrels from their skyscraper perches, but never an owl, which I heard very clearly from about 4 to 5 am, just like we were still in the country upstate: Whooo-who–whooo-who. A very comforting, rural rhythm. Punctuated by the occasional car alarm.