Babies

I didn’t run the marathon this year

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The main reason I didn’t run the LA marathon this year is that I didn’t train. I trained for other things instead. I trained for the stamina to wear out my parents so they required naps more than I did. I trained for chasing the cat, and then trained for complaining that he swatted at me. I trained for building enormously tall towers of blocks that fell with a crash at eight in the morning. I trained for eating the crust of pizza only, only a half cup freshly-squeezed orange juice that cost $5, and I have trained hard to ask for vanilla yogurt in a bowl, wait for the parent serving me to sit down and begin reading the paper, and then ask for some strawberries to go in the yogurt, wait once again for my parent to sit down and read another paragraph about Hillary Clinton’s emails, and then ask for some almond butter to go with the yogurt and strawberries in the bowl, wait another moment, until my parent sits down again, and ask for some water. All reasonable requests! And sequenced perfectly, don’t you think?

I have trained to count to ten by myself. I have trained on the ABC song and know all of it.

I trained for lounging in the bathtub. I have trained for crashing into the bed and cutting my temple. (I am okay now.)

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During the marathon I applauded the runners, and then, just to see what would happen, I threw a large pine cone into their path, to see if any of them would trip. This got me a stern lecture from my mama about the irresponsibility of tripping people who have trained hard to run for hours, but I don’t see the sense of running for hours anyway, and I am deeply involved now in testing boundaries. I have become a scientist of boundaries, constantly experimenting to see how late I can stay up, how long I can remain in the bathtub (a long, long time!), what happens if I throw something at my father’s face (result: not good!), and if I butt my hard head up against my mother’s jaw. (Also a bad experiment; will not be repeated.)  I have experimented with singing the Bingo song, and Old MacDonald, to help myself fall asleep.

Despite these experiments, or because of them, my mama says she wants to run a marathon with me, when I am old enough, she says. I don’t know what she is waiting for. I am ready now to run at least two or three minutes at a time. (Will somebody write in and tell me how long a marathon is?)

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Babies

Afraid of the Vacuum

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To My Parents,

This is a new year so I want to give you both a chance to get this right. Here is a caliper and a metric ruler so you can cut my waffle pieces into the precise sizes that I require. Here is a schedule to tell you when you may run the vacuum.  Please note that all the times listed are when I am out of the house. I don’t think it’s being overly picky to say that I forbid you from running the vacuum in my presence.  I am afraid of the noise of the vacuum, but I will never admit that publicly. It is a better choice for us all if you never use the vacuum. Who cares if the place gets a little dusty? The cat likes batting the dust with his paw, so this decision will benefit him as well as me.

Please never put a blue yoga mat where my mommy places her red yoga mat. If you do so, it will be upsetting for me. Please never move my block towers, yogurt cup towers, constructions, doors, fences, and other things that may be blocking your path. I understand that you believe that you should be able to freely walk around our place, but you have that wrong. Building things is important to my mental development, honing my sense of spacial relations, hand-eye coordination, and self worth. When you consider that huge value to me, what does it matter if you trip over a toy once in a while? Get a sense of perspective, please, and we will all live in harmony.

Here is a timer that will go off when I say it is okay to change my diaper. Here is a weekly schedule that describes when you will be taking me to school, how long I will be permitted to dawdle on the walkway before getting into the car, and how many minutes I will be allowed to fumble around in the car before I get into the car seat.  Here is a list of approved radio stations, when it is preferable to play them, and for how long. Here is a list of what I will eat. Here is a much longer list of what I will not eat. The short list just says ‘toast,’ ‘yogurt,’ and ‘figs.’ That is not a mistake.  The long list is too long to reproduce here, but I suggest you memorize it. This will make it easier for all of us. When I request food, such as an organic fig, please deliver it at once, no matter what else you are doing.

Here is a list of parks I play in, and a map showing the streets you will take to get to them. Please don’t repeat the same park two days in a row.

Here is a list of sounds I make inside, and another list of sounds I make outside, and at what volume and intensity for each sound. Note that these lists are identical. So get used to me screaming, shouting, singing, and whatnot in the location I choose. Do not attempt to modify this; it may affect my ability to self-express.

If I am tired of walking when you are holding my hand to cross the street I will signal this intention by lifting my feet from the ground or by dragging my knees on the ground, making a spectacle of myself in the middle of a busy street. This may cause you some embarrassment, but you need to understand that when I am tired of walking, I am tired in that instant and something must be done.

Wait – I need to update this blog. My father has said that I can’t be giving orders all the time, can’t yell at my parents, can’t repeat the same thing over and over even if I want it very badly, and that I have to live together with my family and be a ‘citizen’ whatever that is. I think he is wrong, but he seems as set on me being a citizen as I am in demanding an organic fig, no matter what else you are doing.

I know I am just two and a half, but I might have to budge on some of this because when my demands escalate, even my mommy, who is a goddess, has to walk out of the room sometimes. She talks about this thing called ‘cooperation,’ which has to be bad because she says it with a serious voice. Still, there is merit to having her in the room with me, so I might have to listen.

Guess what? I have decided that I am not afraid of the vacuum. When I go to a restaurant I will eat french fries with ketchup and will remain seated for almost the whole meal. Is that what is called being a citizen?

Photo credit: Calipers by Mauro Cateb. Toddler photo by docuguy.

Babies

I Do All My Own Stunts

Last weekend, my dad and I had a bachelor’s day because my mom was at a conference taking down the patriarchy.

Well, that’s what my dad told me she was doing. He told me I better start getting in touch with both my masculine and feminine side, because women were going to be running things pretty soon and I will want to be able to communicate with somebody. ‘If there was a Rapture or something and all the Earthly women ascended to a state of cosmic perfection, all the guys would be walking around on the planet asking each other, Well, what do you want to do? I don’t know. What do you want to do? You want to get a beer? It would be pathetic,’ my dad said.

When he talks like that it makes me want to defend men. ‘The Rapture won’t be that bad,’ I said.

‘Yes, it will be worse. Think of the most interesting people you know and most of them will be women.’

This sent me off into a reverie about my mommy. Of course, she’s the most interesting person I know, because she always appears to me in the middle of the night, backlit by a saintly glow (actually, she’s just turned on the light so she doesn’t fall over something). Anybody who provides comfort like that has my vote.

‘Today,’ my dad continued, snapping me out of the mommy fantasy, ‘while your mom is out, we are going to do some masculine stuff because it may be our last chance.’

I suggested a game of catch, but since I can’t stand, this would be awkward. After some discussion we decided to recreate all the great stunts from the Bond movies. Do you recognize this one from The Man with the Golden Gun? There was a similar stunt in GoldenEye, but it involves knives and I’m not allow to play with those.

Do not be concerned about the concerned look on my face. That’s acting. You have to sell the stunt. For example, I am mastering a stunt called the 360. I start on my back, roll over on my belly, and then – this is the hard part – return to my back. When I do it I’m usually grunting and screaming because you have to make these things look hard. I’ve seen adults do the 360 in bed like it was nothing, totally silently. That does not sell the stunt. It’s a total mistake. If you are rolling around, you have to be screaming while you are doing it. That’s my acting advice for the day.

I’m headed out to New York next week for this holiday they call Thanksgiving. I’ll let you know how it goes, including my impressions of what my parents are calling my first plane ride. Whatever that is.

Babies

Confessions of a Baby Blogger

I’m only a baby, eight weeks old on Saturday, but already I am incredibly busy. Here’s just part of my daily rundown:

get up
go to sleep
get up
go to sleep
get up
go to sleep
feed
feed
feed
feed
get up
go to sleep
get up
go to sleep
read NY Times in crib while parents are fitfully dozing. Note to self: Dowd is off her game and Friedman has been writing the same column over and over for years.
get up
go to sleep
get up

You get the idea. I have no time to write this, really. That’s why I need to confess something. I don’t write this blog all by myself. I have a writing staff.

Here’s how it works. At about five o’clock every morning we gather in the writers’ room. I call for a breast milk latte, extra foamy, and we go over the day’s blog prospects. The writers pitch their ideas to me. I approve or turn them down with a series of crisply-issued directives such as: ‘Let’s punch it up, people’ or ‘That might fly if it was funny,’ or ‘We can make that Tuesday’s lead,’ or ‘Change my diaper,’ or ‘Somebody bring me a breast.’

I’m hard on them, but that’s what talent buys you, and you have to push them a little to get results. Maybe they don’t always like it when I scream at them, but hey, I’m not the only famous blogger in the world who shows up at the office without wearing a shirt. Yes, I have an attitude. This is hard, sweaty work. Every paragraph has to end with a punchline. Or else it just lays there. Like this one.

But that’s my head writer’s problem. He’s a recovering television producer, a compulsive bicycle rider with anger management issues. Since he’s the best, I put up with him, long as he delivers. I have a secret crush on my other head writer. I look for approval from her. She is really the one who makes me light up and smile. When something in this blog lands just right and she laughs out loud – it’s all worth it for me. I’m doing this for her. I’m sorry, I don’t remember any of the other staffers’ names. They come in, pitch a few jokes, and leave. We also have a project manager, but he’s just a cat.

I hope this doesn’t blow away any illusions of yours or anything. After all, so many iconic personalities who creatively used monosyllables have had writers: Morris the Cat, the Pillsbury Doughboy, and Ronald Reagan to name a few.

Will you post your comments?  Otherwise, I might cry.