“Arthur night night?” I asked my two-year-old.
“Nooooooooo…” he warbled and cracked a little smile. But before he launched a formidable protest, I whisked him upstairs and into his crib. He hugged his stuffed dinosaur and glared at me.
“Who’s ready for a bedtime story?” I asked him. The question was rhetorical, but our son had prepared a litany of poorly enunciated toddler English in his defense. As he babbled, I began, “Sandwiches. I consider myself a connoisseur of sandwiches.”
Indeed, we covered the basic texts in Arthur’s early days: “Where the Wild Things Are,” “The Giving Tree,” “Go the F*ck to Sleep,” etc. When Steve and I tired of the short narratives and tongue twisters, we explored other forms of literature.
I read Arthur the manual from a ground penetrating radar (GPR) device. I read him a journal article about early Egyptian ceramics. Steve thoughtfully livened up the literature by grabbing “Mox” off the bookshelf and suggesting we read it next.
I bought “Mox” for Steve for Christmas the year it was published because his wife, Renee, had just given birth a few months before I did, and I felt a general camaraderie with other quarantine moms. Plus, at the 2021 All Out, my first wrestling PPV, where I had the honor of being the most pregnant person in a crowd of 10,000 people. (and since I didn’t accidentally piledrive our little angel out of utereo trying to buy some popcorn, the rest of the y’all had no idea), while I waited on swollen ankles in the long lines to enter the NOW Arena in Chicago, I saw Jon Moxley in the distance, in a parking lot just behind the arena. I thought he was part of the road crew. Later that night, when he surfaced in the crowd, weaving through throngs of fans to his opponent, I wondered why the cameras were following some guy carrying a beer. But that’s kind of the magic of Jon Moxley. As his biography would explain, he really was just some guy from Ohio. And we loved him for it.
The unfolding of the tale of Jon Moxley went like this: Steve and I would trade off reading until we reach the end of a chapter, a natural pause, or our wit’s end.
The story structure was a fever dream. It wasn’t until its very end that I could tell you the tale of Jon Moxley. But like the character himself, the narrative felt approachable, and its tone was conversational: I was a friend driving to a match, a fellow wrestler unwinding at a bar, an old neighbor from the block. I only regret not being able to continue it into an actual discourse and answer some of the questions his readers might naturally have.
For many weeks, we enjoyed hearing about his life. My voice would fall flat for the interspersed Claudio dad-style jokes. During a concurrent Bluey TV show phase, we tortured Arthur with our approximation of Australian accents. We made it fun.
Then autumn fell, and the daycare disease factory went into full swing. For would-be parents, let me terrify you with a list of the things that amoxicillin treats: ear infections, strep throat, pneumonia, and Lyme disease. To add to the fun, this life-saving liquid is flavored like cherry chalk, and is really only drinkable when drowned in chocolate milk, which involves some prep. When communicating medication schedules to each other, Steve and I began casually referring to those bottles full of amoxicillin as “Jon Moxleying the baby.”
And the name has stuck. I hope you enjoyed this bedtime story.
Elise MacArthur, Ph.D. is back to make some jokes about wrestling, parenting, and how John Moxley became synonymous with a powerful antibiotic at their house. She dedicates this article to her friends and former coworkers throughout the Middle East, who have been holding their little ones especially close. You can follow baby Arthur on his adventures in wrestling, money management, and coding here: https://amzn.to/3QLcb39