Thursday, September 01, 2005

ETC: Did You Happen to See the Most Crabby Baby in the World?

And if you did, was he cry-yyy-yyying?

Now, before you get up in my grill, all "You should be thankful he's healthy!" and "All babies are a precious gift from God!" you have to understand that I love my boy and really wouldn't change any part of him for the world (except the cradle cap; that can go). But it's been a long day.

Some days, young Master Sam wakes up all gummy grins and spends the rest of his day smiling and chortling and squealing with glee, a visual and auditory delight to all he meets. After a day like this, I go to bed with a song in my heart, feeling like a combination of June Cleaver, Julie Andrews, and Mary Poppins, but with better hair.

Then life goes back to normal the next day. And I'm here to tell you that nothing diminishes your sense of self-worth like an angry baby. It's even worse than being growled at by a dog whose owner keeps exclaiming, "I don't know why he's doing that! He's never done that before! He loves EVERYBODY!"

You haven't been on the receiving end of undeserved wrath until you've tenderly nursed a small creature at your breast, only to look down and see that creature glaring up at you with its one visible eye and muttering angrily under its breath, all while sucking furiously. It's like being maitre d' at a restaurant where the customers hate you but keep coming back because, to their knowledge, yours is the only restaurant in this sector of the known universe.

And I'm sitting there forced to take it and I'm, like, "What? I didn't even do anything! Oh, except give you the gift of LIFE. And by the way, YOU'RE WELCOME."

Let me tell you: babies are impervious to sarcasm.

What I'm trying to say here, in my own ever-circuitous way, is that my boy? He's what you call "mercurial". (I'm really glad the word "mercurial" already exists, because if it didn't we'd have to put a team of linguists to work coming up with a new word for what my boy is.) Dizzying highs? Check. Terrifying lows? Check. Creamy middles? Not so much.

I've come to quite respect his temperament, actually. It's made me realize how much I'd always assumed that new babies are all tabulae rasae, ready for our devious programming. Oho, I am here to tell you that they are not. They come with unique personalities and preferences from the get-go, and woe to the person who assumes that these personalities are on scale with their diminutive stature. Small baby = big ego (or is that id? I get those mixed up).

And let me tell you something else: they are impossible to reason with.

But what's a harried parent to do? You can't argue with them. You can't ground them. So you do what I do: you dress them like a Florida retiree for the day. Sure, I won't hit revenge paydirt for decades -- perhaps with a photo slideshow at his wedding -- but it's all I've got.


Anonymous said...

I thought I was the only parent who used the word "mercurial" to describe my baby! (not such a baby anymore; she turns two in less than a month) But yeah, totally. She's either an absolute delight to be around - engaging, lovey, happy and fun, etc. - or she's an unmitigated terror. And she's been like that since the day she was born.

The saving grace is that, by the time they're about 20 months, although you still can't really reason with them, you CAN bargain with them and bribe them. I am the Gateway To Goldfish - look on my works ye mighty, and despair.

landismom said...

Reason, schmeason (to quote my kids). Why on earth would a kid use logic when random interludes of loving affection and devilish mayhem is so much more fun?

Melissa said...

I was incredibly easy baby and thought I would have one just like me, but noooo. Mine is actually quite jolly when she gets enough sleep, but she never does. I don't know if I would call her mercurial, but she definitely wants what she wants when she wants it. I think it bodes well for her later in life but is somewhat trying right now.

Anonymous said...

I prefer bipolar to describe the the little buggers.

Tammy said...

My sisters! I'm so glad to know I'm not alone in having illogical, bipolar, mercurial, want-what-they-want-when-they-want-it progeny.

I was thinking about this, and remembered this photo, which I think explains a lot.

What's that expression? Something about apples and trees?

Anonymous said...

I'm really sorry that your kid ended up with your husband's rageaholism. Maybe he'll get your looks, and it will all balance out!

... said...

ah, they grow so fast. and very soon, if you're patient, you can punish them. start building your bad box now.

Anonymous said...

"dress them like a Florida retiree for the day"...hee.

Tammy said...

Hee! "Rageaholism." I told him he was a rageaholic immediately after reading this and he laughed. And agreed.

Here's the problem with the bad box: when I was a kid, we had one in kindergarten, and I LOVED it. I was never bad (mostly because I was boring and it just didn't occur to me, not through any inner virtue), but I used to love spending some quality "me time" in the box. So peaceful...

Judes, I've realized that the flaw in dressing them like a Florida retiree as punishment is that the look is only a couple of pieces of bling away from looking like a rapper. At some point, Sam is going to realize this and he's going to thumb his nose at me. (Are kids still thumbing their noses at their elders? Or did they stop doing that in the 1880s?)

Tammy said...

Ha! Korie, I'm up, too! Sam's not cranky. He's just... wide... awake. So very, very, very awake. He's watching anime with his dad right now, but only after I made The Mister promise me it wasn't the seizure-inducing kind.

I can't tell you how flattered I am by your kind words. From one formerly hugely pregnant chick to another, I have to tell you that the experience absolutely floored me. Don't get me wrong: I also thought it was pretty cool, but in a science-fiction-y, let's-see-how-this-lab-experiment-turns-out kind of way. I'm so glad that other people felt similarly about it.

And now I'm off to check out your site! The siren call of the internet beckons...

Tammy said...

Heeeey... Korie, your profile doesn't link to your blog. Sneaky, sneaky...

Tammy said...

I love blog fame. It's like regular fame except with more anonymity.

Thanks for the link! Does the "G" in Baby G stand for gorgeous? Because she is. Good golly, the picture of her with the dahlia is stunning. Did you take it yourself?

I'm trying to do the math in my head... is she about seven weeks old now? If I recall correctly, that's about when I started nagging Sam to smile at me. It just felt like he'd cruised long enough on newborn cuteness; now I wanted him to at least make an effort to be extra charming.

Oh, and this:

"Our quiet evenings with TiVo will give way to baths and storytime. Our weekends of local fairs and farmers markets will now include a stroller and diaper bag. The days of traveling to dangerous third world countries will be long gone. Money will be a thing of the past. We can't wait!"

So spot on. Heheh.