Babies

At 3:30 in the morning in a big boy bed

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I had a deal with my parents.  If I used the potty regularly I would get to sleep in the big boy bed. I have made enough deposits, so yesterday they made good on their part of the bargain.

A big boy bed is very comfortable. It has a railing so you don’t fall out.  My railing has a light on it, which is intended to be a night light so that the big boy is not scared.  It is a decent night light but functions much better as a reading light.

It was 3:30 in the morning. I wanted to get in a little light reading, perhaps Guess How Much I love You. I often don’t have time for reading during the day because I am too busy building things, asking for things without saying please, and running around trees in tight circles.  I got out of the big boy bed and walked into my parents room.  ‘Excuse me,’ I said.  I never say excuse me.  My parents didn’t answer.  They were asleep.  ‘Excuse me,’ I said again, ‘but you said one book in the bed.’

My father opened his eyes and said, ‘What?’ I thought that was a good start. He could have said what everyone says at 3:30 in the morning, which is, ‘Do you know that time it is?  It’s 3:30 in the morning.’

The line is customarily delivered with an acute sense of outrage, on a rising, slightly strangled inflection.  There was no tone of outrage in my dad’s voice, though. As he often tells anyone who will listen, he is a veteran parent, with two other children besides me who are now grown. I don’t think he should make so big a deal out of this, but he won’t stop referencing it.  From my perspective, having been in business for just three years now, experience is overrated. He got out of bed and we walked into my room and got a book.  I turned on my light to start reading.

Guess How Much I Love You is a wonderfully heartwarming book, but it is not the kind of page turner you need at 3:30 in the morning.  I needed a Nazi-chasing Ken Follett saga or Grisham, not a story of a bunny getting hugs from his daddy.  So I walked out of my room, because I can do that now, and started to play with my blocks.

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Construction is a noisy business.  There are city regulations preventing  it from being done at 3:45 in the morning, but I chose to ignore those laws, much like Uber ignores existing laws, or how Donald Trump speaks his mind.  When you are a truth teller, like Donald Trump, or a pre-schooler, or other part-time sociopath, you do not have to be politically correct. When you have a vision that happens to be illegal, and you are wealthy enough like Uber, you can get those laws fixed.

My father returned. He had word from the Ultimate Authority. ‘Mom says if you get out of the big boy bed again before the light comes, you have to go back in the crib.’ I was actually too sleepy to fight with him.  I was just awake enough, though, to bat back and forth his definition of ‘when the light comes’ like the Clintonesque lawyer that I am. ‘When the light comes?’ I asked, as though I had never before encountered the idea of dawn.

I slept through the dawn, and well past my usual breakfast time. But it had been a busy night, and a big boy bed is very comfortable.

Babies

Slept Through the Night

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I have slept through the night three times in a row now, the past three nights. The first morning it happened, just to surprise my parents, I caused rose petals to shower down upon their bed just as they were blinking their eyes open to a golden morning light framed by the window. It was 7:30. They listened in awe to the beautiful sound of me not crying. They looked at each other, stunned, amazed, as though they had come awake in a dream, a moment choreographed by the likes of Borges, two people trying to remember when they last got sufficient sleep and failing to remember when they last rested, truly rested, wondering if they were truly awake. They held each other gratefully, perhaps each wiping away a single tear. (Okay, forget that last part; too schmaltzy.)

Meanwhile, I was having a conversation with myself in my crib and reading the copy of The New Yorker that I stash under the mattress where nobody can find it. I like the cartoons, but the long, rambling Malcolm Gladwell pieces are pretty good, too.

Before proceeding, I must offer a correction to my father’s last blog, in which he claimed that I liked avocado with lemon. Nothing could be further from the truth. At this point, I am against eating anything green. I am also against anything blue, like blueberries. They are horrible. I am, however, in favor of things that are beige, yellow and orange. I ask anyone who runs into my parents to set them straight on this, and stop getting the colors mixed up.  I am getting tired of spitting things out to show my disapproval.

I can play a drum now. I can hold down furniture to keep it from blowing away in a stiff wind. (See image, above.) I am learning how to crawl, backwards. Before you judge, remember that in my world there is no front, back, forward or backward. I enjoy reading books, but the complex plots, like those in “Goodnight Moon,” are beginning to bore me. I prefer “Where is Baby’s Belly Button?” and “Daddy Cuddles,” for the clean, straight arrow of their narrative.

There is something else I must set straight. We have been hearing a folktale lately that babies, when first born, look like their fathers. Later on, they look more like their mothers. One explanation for this was the babies realize they have to establish paternity quickly, so they take on the facial features of the father for a little while, then abandon them when no longer required, to take on the fairer, more pleasing features of their mother. This really sounds like the kind of story a mom would make up, right? Because it assumes that the babies would only take on their father’s looks under duress, abandoning them as soon as possible.

There is also this explanation, offered by a father hailing from Australia. He said that babies shape shift to look like their fathers so that the fathers don’t eat their babies. I don’t know what’s going on in Australia for him to come up with a story like that, but I can only assume it’s because things like that happened in cave man times. On this point, I think cavemen get a really bad rap. When you think about it, they are my peers. They ate rocks, which I would like to do if given the chance, and they had an obsession with dinosaurs, same as all young boys have. Don’t knock the cave man, okay? You are probably living with one, just as my parents are.

Let me tell you again how much I hate blueberries. I can make a face about them which will scare you a lot.

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Babies

Laughter Coaches and the Women in my Life

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.