23 August 2012

Mystery White Boy

Shh. No one tell the older kid, because I’m going to focus on the little one here for a change. Which the Doozer doesn’t always like. In real life. So I imagine he wouldn’t be too happy about this either. Deep down, I know he loves his little dream brother. (Brush up on your Jeff Buckley, kids. Guy was a genius.)

And said Little Brother, after five months on this planet, remains completely mysterious to the wife and I. It seems to us that a baby is typically an enigma wrapped in a mystery wrapped in a sleep sack. (Look it up.) They are inscrutable. And surprising. And bizarre.

It’s too bad there’s no such thing as baby ESP. Because it would come in handy. What’s going on in there? I’ve tried to ask the Doozer. All I get is blank stares. Sure, he can remember all the words to entire storybooks, every single car he has (and who gave it to him—no, really), entire plots of cartoons, obscure memories, particular times we ate certain foods. And yet, when I ask about his memories of being a baby, something that can help me navigate the situation, he comes up dry. 


They sleep, they don’t sleep. They spit up, they don’t spit up. Constantly fluctuating without rhyme or reason. No one day is like the next. There’s no consistency, no regularity, just wild unpredictability. And you certainly can’t reason with them. Even though you might feel weirdly compelled to try. Whenever Little Brother is freaking out or trying to squirm off the changing table or having a crying fit, I find myself saying, “Just keep it together, man.” I’ve said this so frequently of late, that I’m now convinced I must have been an anxious hippy in a past life.

And what's the deal with this: Often, it’ll be 3 o’clock in the morning and I’m completely bleary-eyed and desperate for sleep and he’s wide awake. Not crying or anything, no. That I’d get. He just looks up and smiles at me in this goofy, curious way. As if to say, “Hey. How’s it going. What’s up? What are you doing?” I’m not sure there is anything quite as infuriating as this. I get it, you’re cute. Go to sleep!

Just the other day my dad was like, You talk to him like a grown-up. You know he doesn’t understand, right?

Hey, it’s worth a shot. (And that attitude explains a lot about my upbringing. Just saying.)

We recently acknowledged the fact that the baby’s only been around for five short months so far. And so we could be forgiven for not having a real handle on the two-kid situation yet. Right?

Don’t answer that.

And though I search for a connection between these two creatures, some sign that they are brothers, I can barely see one. Looking for signs that he will develop along the same lines as the Doozer, turn in to that kind of person. Haven’t seen them. But signals that he might be different? That he might be his own unique individual? Sure. Recently, we’ve found ourselves referring to him with words I’m not sure we used with the Doozer. Such as maniac. And monkey. I don’t remember tossing these types of words around when the Doozer was a baby. He just wasn’t like that.

Now, when we say things like maniac and monkey, we have evidence. For instance, his new active of aggressively scooting across the floor. I didn’t think scooting could actually be aggressive until I saw this. But he’s really trying to get somewhere. He’s determined. Not sure where he’s trying to go. He doesn’t even know where he is. I don’t think. Then the flipping over. He’s trying to climb off the changing table. Seriously, he maneuvers like Spider-man. The flip from back to stomach to being in motion—I don’t know. I need to film it and watch it in slow motion to see how he even accomplishes it. I mean, it’s that quick. Like he’s Nightcrawler. Appearing and disappearing.

“Is this one going to try and climb out of the crib?” I asked the other night. A completely common occurrence that we miraculously didn’t experience the first time around.

“What do you mean, like, tonight?” She was joking. But we both stopped and looked over at the crib. For several long, silent seconds.

We laughed. But I’m sure it’s coming.

17 August 2012


My son is four.

Wait. I need to clarify. My oldest son is now four. Since there’s actually two of them now. (But that’s a whole different story in and of itself.)

If there’s anything I’ve completely failed to learn in life, it’s how to be prepared. Possibly because I was never a boy scout, this is a skill I’ve just never acquired. I am not prepared. For anything. And so my son turning four should have been no different. But at the same time, this was something that I was especially not prepared for.

How did that happen exactly? Four years is a long time. A long time. Where did it go? Looking back at earlier birthday photos, it’s shocking. Really shocking. To see how far we’ve come. It’s impossible to fathom how long he’s been around. Four years is a very long time.

And this is what it’s going to be like now. Marking every year. That he’s around. This one started out a little different, though. The Doozer started to get weird, leading up to his birthday. He started telling us he didn’t want to turn four, didn’t want to be a big boy, wanted to stay a little kid. It was difficult to argue with him. We just tried to convince him that being four is not all that different from being three. That it doesn’t mean he’s a big boy, he’s still a little kid.

For now.

Of course, he is getting older. He is getting bigger. And it’s not going to slow down or stop. It’s just going to accelerate, it’s going to go by in the blink of an eye.

First, there’s fours preschool in a few short weeks and then there’s going to be kindergarten, elementary, high school, college. All gone in the blink of an eye. Hopefully we don’t lose this, don’t let go, of this little boy who rocks our world and doesn’t want to be four.

In the end, he loved his birthday. Had a blast. Forgot all about turning older. But we didn’t. We don’t. We can’t. He’s got a baby brother now, so it’s even clearer to us how grown up the Doozer is, how much he’s growing every day, how he’s no longer the little baby he once was.

The Doozer is four. It’s difficult to comprehend. No matter how true it might be, no matter how many times I might repeat it. Ours is a world of dinosaurs and superheroes and those freakin’ Cars movies. The kid’s all sassy mouth and insurrectionist tendencies. There’s less cuddling, more adversarial nonsense. Independence, defiance, imagination run amok. The occasional sneak preview of the coming storms, adolescence, teenagehood, the complications of the evolving parent and child dynamic.

But then there was a moment, just recently. When he said something very wise. In a rare moment of affection for his newish sibling, the Doozer told us that even when his little brother grows up and is a bigger kid (and a grown-up) that “he’ll still be my baby.” Wise, indeed.

My sentiments exactly.