Here I am getting a laughing lesson from my laughter coach.
Of course, that’s what things look like on a pleasant Sunday afternoon. When I wake my father up in the middle of the night and ask to be fed there’s no telling how crabby he will be. My mother, on the other hand, is always cordial, no matter what the hour. And when I have a meltdown during the workday and my dad has to take me out for some air, he spits out strange words when stuffing me into the Baby Bjorn. I will have to look them up if I can find a dictionary with short, grownup words in it. My mother always speaks to me in a high singsong voice that is very appealing and also she rhymes a lot, like a gentle rapper.
I can only come to one conclusion. Men are unreliable. And women are nicer than men. Actually, that’s two conclusions, but I am only four months old and can’t count yet.
Of course, my statistical sample size sucks. My dad is really the only man I have around on a regular basis. Male neighbors peer into my stroller and ask about me as we roll past, and guys in the grocery store ask quickly, ‘How old?’ and move on. But the women on line at Target really engage me, asking ‘is he sleeping though the night yet? How old is he?’ Their hollow eyes bug out imploringly as they ask, they seem quite desperate for information, as though my parents actually have any of that.
Women over the age of fifty, in particular, seem magnetized by me, pulled over by unseen forces to tell me about their experiences with children my age. It can be scary, because they are feeding off my life force, sucking it in like blood or vitamins. But at least they’re enjoying themselves.
My mother’s helpers are both female and all they do is play with me and talk in soft voices. I am attending a women’s mastermind group with my mother, and everyone there just wants to hold me and talk in soft voices. There are more gentle rap songs at these mastermind meetings. Once a week my mother also takes me to network with a group of babies born around the same time I was. I eavesdrop on the moms’ conversations. It seems they are all sharing the bedroom with us babies and their husbands are all sleeping on couches somewhere.
When my parents’ friends come by the guys ask ‘How old?’ And ‘Is he sleeping through the night yet?’ Again, the useless requests for that stuff my parents don’t have any of – information. The women don’t ask any questions. They hold me, and talk to me in soft voices that rhyme. I wonder if there is a time when women do not talk in rhyme? They jiggle rattles at me and seem delighted at everything I do. Even passing gas and spitting up is cause for celebration. When I spit up for my dad he says those short, funny words as he wipes me off. He is just not an appreciator of a good puke. It will try to do it more for him to show him its merit.
From time to time my grandmother appears on a small screen making funny faces at me. She wants to know if I am laughing yet, or playing tennis yet. My parents say ‘he’s really good on clay. Hard courts are not his forte.’ And, ‘for someone who can’t crawl yet, he moves as well on court as anyone we’ve ever seen.’ I wonder aloud how they get grandma into that screen and if she will ever be able to get out, but nobody can understand me because I can’t talk yet.
I have a cat, who is male, and I have to say he is the most consistently compassionate male around me. He cries out for me when I am rolled away in my stroller and he stands over my crib and speaks in a strange language. Of course, he’s asking me what’s wrong, or he’s asking me why I am crying, but since I don’t understand his language I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about. That is another dictionary to buy, along with the one with short grownup words.
Well, gotta run. I need to take a nap before my next laughter coaching session.