No vocab today. Instead I will share this piece I wrote after a particularly long day with The Babe. It was meant to be purely cathartic, and now it helps to go back and read it when I’m teetering close to the edge of insanity. Maybe some of you out there could use it, too. Enjoy!
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Sometimes, My Baby Is An Asshole (And Other Things A Mother Shouldn’t Say)
I should probably start out by establishing that I love my child. It’s a deep, primeval kind of love, the kind that makes me inconceivably happy to see her giggling face at 5am and instinctively prepared to throw myself in front of a train for her if need be. She and her scrumptious dimpled thighs have brought many joys into my life. She is a gift that I’m thankful for every day.
But sometimes, she’s an asshole.
I mean that in the nicest way possible. And I think it’s actually a testament to her well-developed, spirited personality that I can actually say that she’s being an asshole, as opposed to just being a baby. Because babies are essentially just cute drooling blobs of human matter. Assholes have to use their brains.
Which is why my child waits until we’re packed on the bus with at least 3 stern-looking elderly ladies to start screaming about some phantom need and thrashing in her stroller like she’s on her way to an exorcism. It’s why she then decides to punish me for trying to leave the house in the first place by hiding all the tupperware in various drawers like a tiny little hoarder, refusing to give up one single plastic lid.
It’s also why she often looks me in dead in the eyes, picks up a handful of food, and flings it on the ground. She does this with an air of both disdain and defiance, like I’m forcing her to eat road kill or break a politically-charged hunger strike. Except it’s usually some food that she’s eaten happily a million times before, so there’s no justifiable reason for her to shun it. Other than she’s being an asshole.
Now most of you are probably thinking, “wait, aren’t babies assholes all the time?” And I can’t blame you. They do wake you up at all hours of the night to eat and often spontaneously puke on you and are wont to crap their pants right as you’re trying to get out the door to make an appointment you’re already 20 minutes late for. But that’s just typical baby behavior, and you can’t blame them for not having control over their bodily functions when their bodily functions aren’t even fully developed yet.
Acting like an asshole requires a bit more premeditation. For example, if your baby accidentally knocks over a glass of water as she’s unsteadily making her way around the coffee table, that’s just her being a baby and you being a dumb parent for leaving your drink unattended. But if she snatches the cup, crawls away like the cops are in hot pursuit, looks over her shoulder to make sure you’re watching and then dumps the contents gleefully all over the floor? She’s being an asshole.
Or say your baby leans in to give you a big, open-mouthed slobbery kiss, and proceeds to drool milk solids down your cheek and onto your one nice blouse. It’s annoying, but she doesn’t understand the mechanics of her own swallow reflexes yet. Ruined blouses kind of come with the territory. But if she leans in to give you a kiss, then diverts her mouth to your shoulder and takes a bite out of your arm, all because you picked her up out of the bathtub where she was happily playing with an old razor? She is clearly being an A-HOLE.
It’s a bit of a grey area when your child pulls up on your chair, slaps the jiggly part of your inner thigh, laughs hysterically and then gives you a zerbert. She could be mocking your inability to get back into pre-pregnancy shape, but she could also just be really amused by the tremendous fart noise one can make on jiggly, post-baby skin. Plus it is kind of funny. So we’ll let that one slide.
The point is, my baby can be a total asshole. And so can yours, I’m sure. But much like surly bartenders and most cats, babies bring a unique kind of joy into our lives along with the pain. We love them despite their mean streaks, because their wily displays of defiance show us how smart they are, often in ways we can laugh about later. And really, wouldn’t you rather have a smart (ass) baby than a boring one?
Besides, I’m confident that my child will outgrow this kind of behavior by the time she’s a teenager. By then she’ll be much more compliant and will be truly grateful for all the hard work I’ve put into ensuring her wellbeing. God, if I could only fast-forward to the day she turns 16!