Monday, February 20, 2012

"Don't Talk About Me Like I'm Not Here!"

I don't really read "parenting material", but I picked up a nugget of advice somewhere; it was something along the lines of not openly humiliating your baby or toddler by pointing out embarrassing or unflattering truths. For instance, don't crinkle up your nose and announce "You're stinky, eww!" when your kid takes a shadoobie in his diaper and is, well, stinky. Eww. Ok, makes sense. I mean, he's just a baby. It's not his fault if he's stinky. Actually, it's my fault if he's stinky. Duly noted.

In that spirit, Steve and I try not to name-call or refer to Robinson in a negative way. Especially in his presence.  I once declared that a teething Robinson was acting like a little monster, and Steve was horrified that I said it in front of infant Robinson. In my defense, he was acting like a little monster. And I mistakenly thought that Lady Gaga nicknaming her fans "Little Monsters" as a term of endearment made it ok for me to use the term to describe my baby. Big mistake. Huge.

Steve and I gradually developed a number of code names to identify Robinson's numerous and ever-changing personas. It's an easy way to de-brief with one another during the day, and if we're describing not-so-nice behavior, we can do it without tipping him off that we're talking about him.

Meet Robinson's Alter Egos:

Velcro Baby: He's attached to me at the hip. He accepts no substitutions. Closely related to Linus. I've learned that if you try really hard, there's just about nothing you can't do with a baby on your hip. Apply mascara. Tie your own shoelaces. Scoop and dispose of dog poop. I know, I know. I don't like gloating about the glamorous life I lead, but it's essential to telling the story.
 Linus: He's a mild-mannered chap. He always clutches a blanket and has his thumb in his mouth. He's very sweet and snuggly. I'm especially fond of Linus.
Squirmy McFidgets: He never sits still. Trying to keep hold of Squirmy is like trying to catch a greased pig. It's exhausting.
Pig Pen: This guy! No matter what I do, he looks like he's auditioning for the role of "Street Urchin" in a revival of Oliver! And he really, really doesn't like when I try to wipe his face and hands.

El Diablo: He's inconsolable and incorrigible. He screams. He throws things. He's red faced. He is what happens when two stubborn, feisty people procreate.

Pterodactyl Baby: We meet this creature whenever El Diablo's behavior goes unchecked, escalates, or cannot be contained. It produces an ear-piercing animalistic sound not heard outside a movie based on a Michael Crichton book. Anyone who has been on the phone with me when Pterodactyl Baby unleashes  himself can attest to this.

Mr. Magoo: He teeters. He totters. He weebles. He wobbles. He lacks coordination and focus, and seems precariously perched on the verge of an epic accident or stumble, but he manages to avoid disaster, to the astonishment of onlookers.

Back Washington: What can I say about this fellow? Well, for starters, he's thirsty. He wants to drink after you. But you don't want to drink after him.