On the Sappy Googlies, Stink Eyes, and Chocolate Goldfish
Last night, I asked Mr. Right-Click what he thought I should write about today. He said he thought I didn’t spend enough time discussing Mini. You know, me being a mommy blogger and all.
Let me explain my reservations about letting you get to know Mini a little better. They do not stem, as you might suspect, from a fear of making a permanent semi-public log of his late-baby-to-early-toddlerhood stage for all the world to see. While I realize whatever I write here might someday piss him off, that is hardly a deterrent. As a matter of fact, I think parents today might benefit from pissing their children off more often. I invite you to consider the case studies of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and the Kardashians as support for the assertion.
But that is blog of another day. Or days.
I am far more fearful of alienating my fledgling audience. You see, in a previous life, this is the kind of entry that would make me either: 1) vomit; 2) snarl; or, on a more balanced day, 3) just go to another web page. If you don’t have children of your own, and if you have a general dislike of humanity en masse, the appeal of a googly mommy entry is low. Plus, if you are like me and really only find your own children cute–or maybe find other people’s children cute when they seem to resemble your own children, then this kind of an entry has–well, zero appeal.
I don’t want to alienate anyone with sappy googlies. And the people who won’t be alienated, who might be charmed, in fact–well, they may have problems with some of my other, more typical entries, like when I say things like “Christians will be Christians,” or “People are stupid and getting stupider.”
Then again, since the arrival of Mini I have found myself doing strange things. Strange things beyond, you know, this odd determination I have to keep him safe, well-fed, and happy. And consistently putting another human’s well-being ahead of my own. Like when I get upset at the idea of a child being harmed in any way, even in fictional form, to the point that I will start weeping with anxiety for the fate of Commissioner Gordon’s son in the hands of Two-Face in an overcrowded theater in Westwood. This chewy center is something I used to reserve only for animals.
Motherhood does strange things to you. And maybe there are others like me, who won’t be put off by my sappy googlies about Mini, I thought. You know, people beyond the ones who use avatar signatures like this:
So I decided to approach my subject about it, since his cooperation would be essential to creating a piece with anything like lasting appeal. Fortunately, he was not tough to find, being as he was kicked back against my legs at the foot of the bed, 40 of milk in one hand, cell phone in the other.
“What do you think, Mini? Do you want to be the subject of my blog today?”
He gave me the stink eye, as is his habit of late.
“You don’t have to do anything. Just, you know, be you. It’s what the people want.”
“No, you won’t be getting an honorarium.”
“OK, maybe some goldfish.”
Stink eye–wait, it’s changing into a smile. That is likely as close to a yes as we are going to get. The stink eye is Mini’s favorite form of communication these days. Unfortunately, I suspect he gets that from me, along with the fascination with prescription pill bottles. He does not seem to understand, yet, that the stink-eye is supposed to be reserved for situations in which you want to express displeasure. He likes to play with expectations as well, this kid, and more often than not the stink eye will transform into a giant smile and after that, a giggle.
Stop looking at me like that! We only let him play with empty pill bottles, people.
This weekend my brother was visiting and we took him to the park on Sunday. There, Mini dove head first down slides without consideration of obstacles like the legs of other children or smaller babies climbing up the opposite way. Similarly, at My Gym, while other kids stand in front of the pit full of plastic balls, weighing their options, Mini dives in head first, without consideration of consequences or fear. He quite simply assumes everything will work out fine. And more often than not, he is correct.
In his social interactions, Mini is similarly fearless. With a self-assurance that is completely foreign to me, Mini approaches new people with the assumption that they are interested in him and waiting for him to come over and be picked up. And why wouldn’t they? He is the cutest baby in the world.
Recently, he has started to get very upset when we take things away from him. Like knives. Or scissors. Or the little piece of plastic that covers the batteries on the back of the remote control. He will stomp his foot, and wave his Lamby-Lamb up and down like a bullfighter, his face reddening with outrage, his boo-boo lip protruding and swollen with sufficient drama. In such instances, like say, when he was furious with me for not letting him fling mac ‘n’ cheese all over the windows last night at dinner, I do my best not to laugh, because I’m sure that is not the right reaction. And I will try to talk him down, or distract him with something. And he will be fine just like that.
Sometimes I look at his giant blue eyes and poreless, perfect babyskin, and think that nothing could be more beautiful than Mini. And I want to keep him like that forever and never let him know anything like conflict or hardship. Or we will wake up to him throwing up all over his crib and my heart will hurt because I cannot take his sickness away from him.
And I think about how parents and children have such complicated relationships. So I swear to myself that if, someday, he comes to resent me for anything, I will encourage him to just ignore me, and go off and be happy. Magnanimously, I tell him this.
“Mini,” I say, “Don’t let me get in the way of your happiness, ever, OK? Just forget about me if my bullshit ever gets in your way,” I say, martyr-like, to my not-yet-verbal-son.
And he pulls a copy of Augusten Burroughs’ Running With Scissors from my office bookshelf, brings it over, and drops it on my lap. And, with that, he waddles away.