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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Forensic Reformation

Dear Mr. Baby:

Hey there good buddy. There's been a lull in the webchronicling of your foibles, mostly because the janitorial and short-order cookery has piled up considerably since both of you became mobile. Though I've been plodding along at it all in my typical uncomplaining fashion, I am considering the slow introduction of several amendments to our habitual relationships. This is being done in an effort to actually avoid hospitalization for a psychotic break, a phrase I use often in a "jocular" manner and which you may be familiar with.

So starting both literally and figuratively small, let's reform Forensics Duties. Please note that in this section, the following definitions will be used:

Questioner: You or your brother, or anyone else asking absurd questions about objects within 10 feet of the Identifier.

Identifier: The caregiver "in charge" at the time of identification requests. This person is identifiable by level of irritation.


1) Items which have already been identified greater than 25 times will not be identified.

2) Items that it does not matter what the fuck they are will be identified as "It's not important," and the Questioner will accept this identification. If the Questioner believes this identification to be in error, he is advised to hold the item in his palm near the Dog's mouth for further evaluation.

3) Items that the Identifier cannot see without a microscope will not be identified.

4) The Questioner will cease finding the identification of items as "a piece of X" to be unsatisfactory. Statistically speaking, 91% of items brought for identification are "a piece of [plastic]," while 7% are "a piece of [something else]." Also, this is not a fucking forensics lab.

5) Items will not be brought to the Identifier by the Questioner while the Identifier is carrying "dangerous" items*, including but limited to: boiling water, knives, metal objects with a surface temperature of 350 degrees or greater, anything covered in feces, anything covered in vomit, grocery bags, wine glasses, ceramics, glass, or anything on fire.

*The Identifier realizes that this will severely limit the Questioner's timeframes for identifying items, but sincerely, deeply, does not care.

6) The Questioner will leave liquid, semi-liquid, and liquified items where they are found, and request that the Questioner accompany the Identifier to this location.

7) If the Questioner fails to comply with #6, but remembers it in transitu, the Questioner will refrain from projecting, smearing, tossing, throwing, wiping, or generally transferring the liquid, semi-liquid, or liquified item to another item in the house or on any person or on any domesticated animal while shouting "That's disgusting!"  

8) Under no circumstances will any items found in the bathroom be identified.

9) The Questioner will ask about the identification of items at a frequency no greater than one time per minute, using his Inside Voice.

10) The Questioner will not repeat the phrases "Oh Jesus," "For the love of all that is holy," or "Good lord," when they are used in conjunction with the Identifier's response.
Thank you Mr. Baby. Please translate this for the other child.

PS - Sorry about your haircut.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Two things you can't do, not you, two by two

Inspired by Dr. Seuss and David Rakoff

Dear Mr. Baby, the first one, and you
The baby I almost never write to,
You're brothers, I know, and it's cute all this love
And the ways that you fit like a sticky-gross glove,

But I think you should know,
there's some things you can't do,
Well one at a time, yes, but not both of you two
Sometimes it may seem I'm a little bit pissed,
So you understand why, I've compiled a list:

Don't fucking stand on the table together,
Don't cram two of you into the same fucking sweater,
Don't try both wear the same fucking shoe,
It's one baby, one potty, while taking a poo,
Two people cannot eat the same fucking crayon,
Only one person can stand on one fucking pan,

It's not fucking easy to remove two screeching babies
Who claw and bite like they have fucking rabies,
From the deepest recesses of some fucking cabinet,
Where they crammed themselves in to munch on a magnet.

You can't both carry around the same goddam bear,
You can't possibly gorge on the same fucking pear,
There's a reason we have two rakes in the yard,
Because two people raking the same thing's too hard,
You can't both fucking sit in the same fucking place,
Be it my head, or a chair, or on top of Fred's face,
You can't have the same piece of cooked macaroni,
And the two of you can't each eat all the bologne,

It's just things like this that should give you some pause,
We live in this world and this world has some laws, 
Two things cannot be in the same place and same time
That's how it works, and it all works out fine,
So please if you can't figure out how to share
I have to say that I don't really care
But stop fucking screaming and read the above
Don't do these dumb things.
Show me some love.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fire Pants

Dear Mr. Baby:

A number of things have been said, by yours truly, that could be construed as varying degrees of: exaggerations, distortions, or outright lies. Now, I know I claim to place a premium on truth, but I also place a premium on things like quiet. In the name of said rare and illustrious quiet, I have perhaps mislead you on a number of occasions. As such, for a time when you can read, and perhaps better understand the value of tranquility, there are some retractions to be made:

The brown stuff in Fred's ears is yeast, and not related to anyone yelling inside the house.

There are no bears in the grocery store, and even if there were, they would not be sleeping behind the cans. No danger of waking them up, you see.

There's no hedgehog in your ear, and the thermometer is not checking in on him.

Your tricycle doesn't need to take a break or it will fly away. It's an inanimate object. I just hate it.

Fred has never told me anything. He's a dog. I put peanut butter on my fingers to make it look like he is telling me a secret, because it has a pleasant incidental effect of everyone else shutting the hell up to try and hear what he's saying.

There's no such thing as a crackermonster. I just get fucking sick of making meals that you toss on the floor because you ate 152 saltine crackers with honey on them.

Five more minutes is actually much, much longer than that.

Netflix does not break down nearly as often as it seems. In fact, they're a pretty solid site and rarely have problems of any kind. (But let me tell you that I am doing you a huge favor by boycotting My Little Pony, a show, it would appear, designed specifically for grooming girls into materialistic, bitchy little cunts.)

I can hear you when I am using the computer in the kitchen. There is no magic wall.


Sure, you judge me now. Just like I judged my uncle Larry for telling me that a tree would sprout from my stomach if I ate a cherry seed. Just like I judged all the other parents, once, when I heard them saying this and that. Horrific, I would say to myself. Why those tots are just tots. But screw everyone who has an opinion about two-year olds who does not actually have one, right now, in their house, making the most fucking excruciating sound ever known to man from atop a table because he can't find the pants he just took off because of something to do with raisins, and now his feet are cold, and he wants his Emily truck, and he can do it himself, and it isn't the red one, and he wants some juice, and he wants his other red car, and every fucking problem he has is something he did to his own damn self.

And Mr. Baby, someday, you will have a shrunken, belligerent mental patient-gnome screaming in your kitchen, and you will lie, too. You will lie and lie and lie.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Hack Your Life

Dear Mr. Baby:

Departing from our usual format, I'm taking some of your nuggets of wisdom, most of which you mysteriously report having forgotten almost immediately upon being queried about the, and sharing them with the world of the internet. Thus without further ado:

10 Life Hacks to Make Your Life...Different

 1) Get flexible about creams. If you apply enough of any cream, it will mostly work for sun protection, and if you usually eat only minimal amounts of things before throwing them on the floor, you can eat just about anything, whether classified as a food or not. So why not use things like cream cheese and sunscreen interchangeably? This allows you to do things like store both your lunch and your lotion outside, without being entirely certain whether either one will rot. as a bonus, it's a pleasant surprise to have a coconut aroma on your bagel once in a while.

2) Pre-prep it! Pre-salt your and everyone else's food by shaking a small amount of salt on each plate in the dining room. Restack them so no one knows that you've done it. They'll be so pleased when they see how much time it saves them.

3) Plan ahead for the doldrums. Keep a stash of boogers in places where you might be stuck for long periods of time. These can be eaten as a snack, made into cars, or simply peeled off and re-glued with some spit for easy entertainment.

4) Paste It! Make a green-brown paste out any food that is served to you for faster, hand-optional eating and easy portability. Remove the food from the original serving container, use the container to smash it, add some water from your sippy cup, and stir. Wear as a mask, or a food-glove, or tucked away to be disposed of later by the dog.

5) Cut down. Cut down on laundry time by skipping the entire process. Offer to take laundry to the laundry room, and then toss it in the dryer.

6) Combine your tasks. If you have the toothbrush out, don't waste an opportunity. Use it to clean the nooks and crannies of the bathtub as well as brushing your teeth. No need to worry about the order of these activities - you can even alternate to make each task seem less tedious.

7) Smash it. Cut down on chewing and digesting by pre-smashing your food. You can do this when it is served to you, or, for optimal efficiency, smash all your fruit right when you get it home from the store.

8) Mouse it up. There is a way to do everything on the computer with a mouse - you may just need motivation to find out how! Remove the keys from the computer to speed up your learning curve.

9) Heat it up. Place anything in the microwave to put the umpf back in your afternoon. Most microwaves automatically cook for 30 seconds just by pressing ''Start.''

10) Think outside the stool. Don't be afraid to use your little brother to reach high-up items. Coax him to right beneath the thing you want to reach, push (the force required will differ from brother to brother) and stand on him. By the time you obtain your high-up item, your ''stool' is already off to a less conspicuous place, and you have ''no way of getting up there,'' so it obviously wasn't you.

Monday, June 17, 2013


Dear Mr. Baby:

Of late you have done a great many things which merit lauding, from your halfhearted acquiescence to my request to stop banging your feet on the dryer, to your three-to-four star potty days, to preceding your knocking over of Second Baby with what seem to be genuine cheers for his precarious first steps about the house. All of this is great, but you deserve the Slow Clap for having mastered, at the tender age of 30 months, many of the irrefutable argumentation styles that have been honed over many years by the major propaganda networks of our time. So here's to your future career as a conservative talk show host or political speechwriter, along with a few of my personal favorites, listed by argumentative technique: 

Obfuscation the issue, followed by a remorselessly feel-good ending

M: A, please stop waving your tortilla around, you're flinging tuna fish everywhere.
A: No, it's the same. It's fixed, and it's broken. And so it's really out there, and you're a winner. 


M: Hey you're being a little bit too loud. The baby is sleeping.
A: No you're being too loud.
M: I'm actually -
A: Shhhhhht.
M: What are you -
A: Shhhhhhhht. Mama, shhht. You're talking too loud.

Rewriting History

M: Look, sorry you have a bad taste in your mouth, but you were eating a crayon, just like I said not to do.
A: I ate a peanut butter and a cookie.
M: Looks like you ate a crayon.Just by all the blue wax on your lips.
A: No that's not right. I was eating spaghetti.

Asking for clarification, where none is needed, followed by misdirection

M: If you run over my foot again, I'll have to put your bicycle in the mud room.
A: What's a bicycle? What's a bicycle? What's a foot means? I don't know. Oh, look, it's another bee!

Simultaneous grammatical pedantry and vagueness

M: You can't put that there, because it's for Tata. It's Father's Day.
A: He's not a father! He's a Tata! And that's not that, it's my ruckskater!
M: Okay fine, but you can't have it.
A: What's a have?

Character assassination

M: Please don't put that there, it will catch on fire.
A: I don't understand what you're saying to me, your mouth is really full.
M: Uh...No it's not.
A: Please chew your food.  It's not nice.
M: I'm not eating.
A: Oh I'm sorry, I can't understand you when your mouth is full.

Citing ''statistics'' to muddle the issue

M: What are you doing there, bud?
A: Oh, it's just...twenty-hundred and five.
M: No but what are you doing?
A: Twenty-seven.  

Fear mongering

M: Uh...I don't think that's the best idea.
A: No, I'm going to rescue. It's really important. Don't be scared.





Saturday, May 11, 2013

Potty Shmotty

Dear Mr. Baby:

Over the course of, say, a year now (which I realize is almost one full half of your life and therefore entirely too much time to talk about) people have been dropping subtle and not-so-subtle hints about this Potty Thing. There is your affable Indian doctor, who has no idea how much you should be eating but knows that all children in India are potty trained at six months, and while she fails at least fifty percent of the time to tell us that the appointment is over, or tell me what you weigh or what vaccination she's giving you, she does manage to speak for a full two minutes on the subject of diapers and why you shouldn't be in them. Why? Because kids in India are not. Were you expecting a scientific explanation, or some kind of argument that it matters, in exchange for listening patiently to that malarky? Well think again. Then there was the ER doctor from Jordan, who you liked because he gave you a popsicle, and who seemed to think that a sane woman, even one with a potty-trained two-year-old, would sit around with a concussed child in a Canadian ER (where your minimum wait time, if you've done something really awful, like cut off your own head, is two hours) with no diaper on, because what are the chances, anyway, of being called in to see the doctor while you're standing around in a toilet with two bags of shit and a whiny child with a giant headache who can't sit properly on the fucking toilet without falling in? What are the chances of him needing to crap at just that particular moment? Yes what was I thinking putting a diaper on you?
No offense to the people of India or Jordan, or of the menagerie of other countries from whence this shitpot advice has flowed like the unleashed bowels of a two-year old, but those countries don't really seem to be at the forefront of...well, anything. So Mr. Baby, you feel free to ignore these assholes, and I'll feel free to tell them to shut the hell up.

But then what's this? Here comes my mother, my own mother, who blithely insists that she has no idea what she did, and everything will be fine, but so very sneakily mails underwear to you. She just ''thought it was so cute.'' It's a subtle attack, Mr. Baby, but don't get sucked in by it, even if they are covered in Thomas the Tank Engine decals. Because all this means for me is more and shittier laundry. (Thanks mom!)

And of course we've heard from the charming but eerily Borgish nation of Poland, who all have exactly the same thoughts about this and almost everything related to housekeeping or childrearing (I mean, like, exactly the same thoughts). Which they don't make very clear, because making things clear is not very Polish, but suffice it to say that 38,216,000 people in Poland and large sections of Chicago and Toronto believe you should have stopped wearing diapers precisely 2.108e7 seconds ago.

And then there are the Americans. Yes, the supportive and flexible Americans, who don't want to tell you what to do, and certainly don't think it means anything, but do not hesitate to get out a Power Point presentation which places their child's green line on a better trajectory into The Future than your child's purple one, based on Potty Training and How Johnny Felt About It.

Here's what I think about Potty Training, Mr. Baby, and since I and your father are the only ones who change all these fucking diapers, I think we should be the final say:

1) I think it's useful to define what Potty Trained means to me. It means I do not have to stare at your ass all day and ask you every twenty seconds if you feel like you need to pee or poop.
I do not have piss or shit all over my floors or penises on my couch.
I do not have to play the game: locate a safe place with no small items or sharp objects for this baby while running and throwing clothes off of the toddler before...too late.

2)Do whatever the fuck you want. On the scale of inconvenience, wiping some shit off of your butt with this variety of stuff made specifically for wiping is somewhere at the very bottom of an extensive list of Things That Are Annoying About Two Year Olds. This is a pretty simple thing. I have to summon very little patience for it, in comparison to the patience I require for all the other bizarre, illogical, unreasonable, agitating discussions I have to have with you about the temperature of your hand-washing water, the way your socks have been placed on your feet, which shoes you are going to wear, whether or not you will eat this or that blueberry but not any which are touching strawberries but all strawberries and no kiwis today, even if you asked for all of them. Or for all of the times you kick me in the face ''accidentally'' or stand on my feet or leave blocks, also ''accidentally'' right under my feet, or make the most irritating sound ever heard because it is ''fun'' or negate every single sentence I say or cry uncontrollably because I handed you a paper towel instead of a kleenex when you asked for a paper towel. Compared to having someone touch me all. day. long. and spit on me and bang maracas and ask 300,000 questions a minute and refuse to do every. single. thing. I ask. 24 hours a day....wiping some shit off of a bum is just not something I give a flying shit about. And I'd love to hear someone's explanation of how cleaning shit off the floor or out of a potty is somehow better than wiping it off of an ass. At some point kid, it's all just become shit to me. So keep it contained, I say.      

In other words, Mr. Baby, feel free to keep on shitting in diapers until you actually possess the mental control required to A) realize you are going to shit, B) notify me you are going to shit and C) get to to a potty in time to shit. Because otherwise, I just don't feel like running around watching your ass for you all day, nor can I say that this sitting around in the cold bathroom forcing everyone to be bored out of their fucking mind for no reason at all every day is very much fun. No matter how much everyone else (who have never once been ASKED to change a goddam diaper) might think it's going to propel you to the apex of some kind of extraordinary success as a human being to do it now instead of two months from now. If you're going to get on top pf something, buddy, why don't you try sleeping until 6:00 every morning?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

More clearer communicatizing

Dear Mr. Baby:

I spend a lot of my day asking questions, some of them rhetorical, some of them not. Generally this is a huge waste of my time, because whatever you say back has little relation to anything on the planet:

A: Can you please set the salt shaker down?
B: Marlow likes Bus Tayo has some bunny and a grusza! He doesn't like it and it's really broken.

It occurs to me that maybe it would be helpful to you to know why I am asking, to better facilitate you providing a helpful response. After all, you're a smart kid. So here are some addenda to things you hear, frequently - oh so frequently - around the house:

Is there any way, any way at all, you can put your thumb into the thumb hole?
Because if it's just not possible, if it's like time travel, we can just give up on it. It's forty-five minutes of my life, every day, that I'll never get back.

Is everyone in this house actually trying to push me over the edge?
I like to see things like mandatory institutionalization coming, plus why make another fucking lunch if this is the case?

How many times have I told you blah blah blah?
Just being sarcastic. I'm actually more interested in a rough estimate of the number of times you think I might have to say blah blah blah again before you're like, oh! I'm literally eating away at someone's soul by blah blah blahing. Maybe I should fucking stop, like someone asked me to 465,214 times before.

Out of curiosity, why do you think I put that there?
Seriously. Out of curiosity, why do you think I put that there? Wouldn't I just go ahead and stuff a cereal box into the toilet if that was where I wanted it?

Why are you kicking the baby?
He's the second child. No one is paying any attention to him (he's inside the diaper pail...ehhh, it's almost bathtime anyway). The baby is cute. It seems sort of psychotic to walk across the room and just start kicking a baby. Why are you kicking a baby?

What did I say about eating your crayons? 
I'm just curious if you can field this one.

Can you take it down a notch?
It seems like it's physically possible. It seems like it might actually be easier than yelling everything at that particular frequency.

Do you think you need seven spoons for that? Really? 
Because it sort of seems like you don't need any spoons for eating crackers at all.

Don't you want to use at least one spoon for that?
I mean, most people use spoons for soup. But that's just because it's a liquid.

Is your sippy cup, in fact, possessed by the soul of a lemming?
Because I'd hate to be blaming you for what is single-handedly the most unnecessary and annoying aspect of my day.

Do you remember why you went in time out?
This, I just like to ask this for the humourous responses that I get. I know you have no fucking clue.

Monday, April 8, 2013

A heartfelt apology (list)

Dear Mr. Baby:

I'm sorry this post is so long in coming. I was just a little bit busy twice a day piecing the pile of rubble that used to be our house and preparing delicious, colorful plates of food for you and your brother to smash into the one place that cannot be cleaned up by the curiously long tongue of the dog: his own head. (It's fine. We eat chicken nuggets now and we aren't looking back, and if you end up with some kind of vitamin deficiency in the future, I've taken a few pictures of your reaction to any food that is not fried-bread brown and dipped in ketchup so that there won't be any confusion about why I was a Bad Mother). Lately you seem to have a lot of complaints. I can't actually understand what they are, because despite your small-talking prowess when, say, I just want to read to completion (because the year is important) the expiry date on something I found in the fridge, you seem to retain only the ability to produce high-decibel vowelage when you are upset. Still, I gather that I owe you some kind of apology for things that happened today. So let me just say, Mr. Baby, that I am really, truly, deeply, from the bottom of my heart, so incredibly fucking sorry for the following things:

I'm sorry I offered you a banana for breakfast.
I'm sorry I interpreted NOT A BANANA, NO, NOT A BANANA! to mean you did not want a banana.
I'm sorry that when I asked you what you wanted instead of a banana and you said, pear, I assumed you wanted a pear.
I'm sorry I didn't let you finish the pear after you threw it on the floor.
I'm sorry I was singing.
I'm sorry that I said the word ''cow.''
I'm sorry the water in the tap didn't heat up fast enough and so was too cold.
I'm sorry that thirty seconds later, the water in the tap heated up one degree and so was too hot.
I'm sorry your feet cannot be crammed into your old rain boots, identical in every way to your current rain boots except for size.
I'm sorry I detained you when you tried to fight an actual bull.
I'm sorry I held your hand so that the donkey didn't bite it off while you fed him a carrot.
I'm sorry I held your hand when you were yelling, ''Hold the hand! Hold the hand!''
I'm sorry I let go of your hand after you yelled at me for holding your hand.
I'm sorry I held your hand incorrectly.
I'm sorry that cattails break up and fly away into the wind when you hit them on stuff.
I'm sorry that Fred was running.
I'm sorry that Fred chases geese.
I'm sorry that Fred stopped chasing geese.
I'm sorry I put you in the stroller when you said ''STROLLER! STROLLER!''
I'm sorry I ran you over ten seconds later when you jumped out.
I'm sorry I don't have three hands.
I'm sorry that your feet were wet after you poured water into your boots using an empty plastic bottle.
I'm sorry that I didn't let you drink water that had cow shit in it.
I'm sorry I moved you before you sat in dog shit.
I'm sorry that when you asked me what this symbol: Q is, I responded, ''Q.''
I'm sorry that it is physically impossible for me to hold you, the baby, and a pot of boiling water at the same time.
I'm sorry that I asked you not to stick your head in the oven.
I'm sorry that I asked you not to stick your head in the toilet.
I'm sorry that I changed that enormous shit in your diaper that you didn't tell me about until you it had burned through all the skin on your ass.
I'm sorry ketchup is not food.
I'm sorry that a Tonka bulldozer the size of a toaster will not balance on top of the Leggo firetruck on top of a book on the edge of the table.
I'm sorry for asking you not to throw all of the paper covers of hardback books, which you spent so much time removing, in the trash.
I'm sorry I asked for some Leggo bread to go with my Leggo cream cheese at your Leggo tea party.
I'm sorry that you don't like socks.
I'm sorry that your feet got cold when I took your socks off.
I'm sorry you don't like socks (again).
I'm sorry - and this comes up a lot - that you forget the number five while you are counting.
I'm sorry your thumb got stuck for the fiftieth time in a Leggo hole.
I'm sorry I asked you if you wanted to watch My Little Pony again.
I'm sorry I put on Paddington Bear instead of My Little Pony.
I'm sorry I had to turn My Little Pony off to put on Dora the Explorer.
I'm sorry Dora the Explorer asked you a question you didn't like.
I'm sorry that ''How the Grinch Stole Christmas'' ends at the end, and I'm also really sorry that, in spite of reading it 178 times, I still need to look at the words to remember what to say.

Please let me know if there's anything you feel that I left out. We aim to please, and when we can't do that, we apologize.

Friday, November 23, 2012


The casual reader and the smug neurotic mother whose children are now seven and twelve (and therefore possesses a section of her brain that smoldered away long ago in a self-destruct mechanism meant to keep us from eating our young after the age of four, when they are apparently no longer irresistibly cute and we might take out our revenge if the memories of their toddlerhoods were left intact) will read this and immediately refer me in their minds to some parenting website that recommends that you deal with a two-year-old and all of his boundless, joyful energy through the magical magic of redirection.  ''That's a nice picture you're making.  Can we do it in the bathroom so the whole house isn't covered in shit?''  To that person, I say, preemptively: shut the hell up.  Normal people do not possess the creativity required to redirect the endless possibilities that gush forth from the mind of a two-year old (which I note, cannot be discriminated from the mind of a psychopath by a neurologist): I'm smashing this banana into the grate behind the refrigerator!  I'm putting crayons in the dog's nose - why?  There's a hole! I am capable of sustaining a high C at 900 decibels for one full minute and show no signs of oxygen depletion even though all the air has been sucked out of the room!  I'm decorating in between the keys of the piano with cheese that I found under the couch where I stuffed it last week along with milk I poured in a truck! I just found the toilet plunger, and it seems it was recently used! I'm putting all of the clean laundry in the trash! I can redirect between 30-40 of these inbound flights of fancy, but they. just. keep.coming.  And while they come, someone is yelling and pulling my pants down the whole time.  Yes my pants.  So there are just some times, Mr. Baby, when you can't be redirected like an affable pilot on his way into Heathrow.  You need to just. fucking. STOP what you are doing.

Sometimes, this is a matter of safety.  Like when you said you wanted to play in your room, and I took advantage of that time to get on the Internets, and your voice was right behind me saying hi mom, hi mom, hi mom, and it turns out you were on the ledge on the outside of the banister alternating (I must say, with amazing skill for a 24-month-old) your grip while leaning back over the eight-foot drop to the stairs, and from the look on your face your were doing it just to piss me off.  That's a time, good buddy, when you need to FUCKING STOP.  Or when you were ''watching'' me in the kitchen and surreptitiously grabbed all the knives off of the counter and then decided to play ''JUMP.''.  Or when you had two delicate Polish teacups in your hands and were banging them together as they shattered into millions of pieces, and you just kept banging.  Time to STOP.

It's often a matter of your little brother's safety.  Like when you are ''feeding'' him by packing large pieces of banana into his windpipe.  Or when you are ''taking'' him, and the vehicle you are using is overturned his face is being dragged on the floor.  Or when you decide to ''baby-share,'' by tossing Hot Wheels cars at him from across the room.   

Often, more than not, it's about cleanliness. I could go one forever here, about the compost and the flour and the soap and the toilet plunger and the beans and the rice and the books and the magnets and the blocks and the pillows and the blankets and how none of this needs to be vaporized and sprayed all over the place like an aerosol.  Sometimes, there is still hope that fifteen minutes of my day can be salvaged from the endless garbage heap of the rest of my minutes, and not dedicated to the sweeping up or the mopping up or the vacuuming up of whatever you're about to get to work on with that supersonic sweeping hand motion.  And then maybe I can use that time to go to the bathroom.  So... you need to fucking STOP.

It is, sometimes, about noise.  Sometimes someone is about to finish a sentence like, ''whatever you do, don't - '' on the radio. Sesame Street has to come to its inevitable end, and the wailing sound you make is not only useless but actually raises your mother's blood pressure to stroke levels.  Certain words become annoying if they are repeated fifty thousand times in a monotonous voice and for no apparent reason whatsoever.  Check it: truck, truck, truck, do you want it? truck truck truck truck truck truck truck truck do you see it?  truck truck truck truck truck truck truck truck truck truck truck do you like it? truck truck truck truck truck truck truck truck truck truck truck truck truck truck ...annoying.  And I'm just writing here.

And occasionally it's just about being annoying.  Like, I haven't talked to your father in a week.  Not because he wasn't here, but just because somebody kept yelling truck, truck, truck, truck truck truck truck truck truck truck truck truck truck truck truck.  Or like, I just don't want somebody kicking me in the face for whatever reason.

But no matter what it's about, Mr. Baby, one thing is for sure.  And that is this: STOP does not mean, keep doing whatever you're doing, but do it faster and more frantically!  STOP!  Please draw even more furiously on the table with that marker!  STOP! Please hit compost container even harder with that mallet so that's it's a thousand times louder when it explodes all over the floor!  STOP! Keep splashing your hands in the baby's poopy diaper and see if you can fling it all over the room, yelling ''Baby poop! Baby poop!''  But faster.  And more furiously.  STOP!  I've been listening to this radio show for half an hour and they're about to tell me the secret to the universe, but please keep yelling, in fact, yell LOUDER so that I never find out what it is.     

Yeah it's just...that's not what stop means.  It means STOP! Stop the madness in the name of all that is holy and sane, for just two fucking minutes.  And give me a second to think about how we can channel your desire to eat crayons while jumping off of the window ledge into something useful and safe, in a positive manner befitting my extraordinary abilities as a mother. 



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

On Choices

Dear Mr. Baby: 

It is, admittedly, hard to accept the perpetual dissatisfaction of life that comes with realizing that the innumerable adages about it apply not only to the rest of those poor schmucks, but to you as well.  However, I think you can embrace these disappointments on your own scale, and come to understand that sometimes the paradoxes - of what we think we want and what we really want, and what we can really have, and what is actually, physically possible in this world - leave us only with the choice to accept that, in point of fact, one cannot have his cake, and cram it into his diapers, and throw it at the dog, and mash it into a fine paste to be smeared on the wall, and stick it up his nose, and drop it in tiny pieces into his sippy cup that someone has been foolishly convinced to ''[take the] top off [of],'' and eat it too.  

Sometimes you do not feel like having your pants changed, because it (apparently) makes your head hurt, and you simultaneously have an extremely uncomfortable, or very large, pile of shit in your pants and would like someone to do something about it.

Sometimes you want to engage yourself in the task of filling a jar of water from the bathtub water into which the jar is overflowing, and you also want to watch Sesame Street, and you are disappointed even furtherly by the fact that you live in the house of people who followed their literary and musical hearts to the inevitable conclusion of poverty and there is no TV in the bathroom, which is explained to you in only the gentlest of cynical tones, and then, after arguing about it incomprehensibly for ten minutes, you decide you actually want to take a walk.

Sometimes you want to eat bread and stuff it in your sippy cup, and you don't want wet bread or, and I quote again, ''trash milk.''

Sometimes you want tomatoes, and then while they are being sliced, you seem to think you want pears, and then when they are on your plate, you want to scream ''May-nose! May-nose!'' and throw your pears all over the walls, because now you want tomatoes, but you might want the pears scraped off the wall and placed back on your plate so you can start screaming about tomatoes again.

Sometimes you want to sit on your potty, and then when taken there by the hand you get very upset, because you don't.  And then when someone tells you, that's okay, you begin crying and yelling, ''potty potty potty!'' because you do want to sit on it. But you will also scream, no no no! and kick someone in the face because you don't.

And so this is when you have to make choices, and I know they are hard, but one does not get out of the crisis by alternating constantly and for seemingly unlimited periods of time between the two choices. And I see you are building yourself a cross over there, but let me just remind you that your father is Polish, and your mother is mostly Irish, and you have spent a grand total of 23 minutes in a Catholic church before being removed due to a lack of solemnity. We will double this amount because it was Easter, but still. You got nothing on us.

Anyway, you're in for a real ride if this is how you're going to be about it. As time marches indefatigably on, sometimes you might want to use your intellect, but will also want to spend your entire day engaged in the Sisyphean task of wiping up juice that didn't need to be poured all over the floor for the ninetieth time in 36 hours.  You will want to purchase a package of gum of your own (and try to eat a piece of it, before bedtime, because, by contorting your neck and painstakingly, over a period twenty minutes and with one hand, unwrapping it and shoving it into your mouth after yelling, "Look, horsies!'' while passing an empty field, you are convinced that you can defeat the x-ray vision of a toddler in a car, which will pierce the seat and set off a stentorian alarm from the back that cannot be dismantled), but you will also want to purchase books whose spines are snapped ten minutes after they are opened and whose ''toddler-proof'' pages are promptly eaten to the intellectual betterment of no one, so you will be too poor to buy that gum.  You will accept so many lies about whether or not pieces of food will be crammed into this or that crevice or orifice of this or that baby or dog, that you will remain in a confused fetal position at the end of the day, defeated, and you will want to read Moby Dick or do yoga like you had planned.  With windswept hair, and a drink in your hand.  But you will make choices.  Choices that might seem misguided without the context: a small person wanders around your house, occasionally ceasing his systematic destruction of Calm, Quiet, and Items With Moveable Parts, to stare at dust floating in the sunlight, mesmerized, before dispensing, in an unearthly voice: "'Ooohhhh, moons."

Now Mr. Baby, your choices are harder in some ways, because your brain is singularly dedicated (at the cost of higher reasoning and sentimentality) to determining, with alarming accuracy and celerity, the contexts in which an expression like ''oh shit,'' would be both (in)appropriate and funny, but easier in others, because you live unencumbered by the constant, nagging fear that another human might be out there, right now, improperly clothed for cold weather or not eating enough vegetables. Nor does the maudlin resignation with which one bids a lifelong farewell to such shimmering things as dancing until three in the morning in a room full of bare-chested gay men while belting out New Order lyrics, haunt you.

What I'm saying is: we don't have to get all Sophie's Choice about whether we are sitting or not sitting on the floor. All I ask is that you limit yourself to the laws of physics as we understand them today, and accept that you cannot be in two places at one time, and you cannot have two superfun things at the same time, especially when one requires you to be naked, and the other requires that you wear clothes.  And that, once they have been soaked in milk and thrown across the room and ingested by a dog, all the insistence in the world, however it may sound like the bleating of a very psychotic sheep, will not enable modern science to reconstitute the three pieces of cake that you also would like to eat peaceably, as you swore - you swore - you would do, nay, but five seconds ago.