Our baby girl, Cordelia, is approaching the end of her eighth month of life. Her little brain continues to develop in leaps and bounds. Every day she gets closer to being able to crawl. She can click her tongue. The other day, to get my attention at breakfast, she threw a toy right into the middle of my eggs. I was so proud.
Of course, most of my knowledge about her achievements I received second hand. My parents are in town, and they are enchanted by my daughter to the exclusion of all else, including food and air. Sometimes, I’ll walk in on them caring for Cordelia, and I’ll notice they’re turning blue, and I’ll have to remind them to breathe. It’s so cute.
Of course, I don’t walk in on them much. Their being around enables me to vanish for lengths of time which would horrify actual good parents. Other people get a big kick out of babies. Me, not so much. I’m just hanging on until I can teach her how to kick her friends’ asses at Nintendo.
I Am the Bad Cop
To best analyze Mariann’s (my wife) and my parenting mechanic, one best looks at police procedures. Namely Good Cop/Bad Cop. I’m the second one.
Mariann looks after the baby during the day while I work. She puts in the long hours on the parenting thing. The feeding, the bathing, the picking the sad just-awake baby out of the crib. The things that make baby happy, she does that.
I, on the other hand, look after the baby in the evening, when she is most likely to be in a shitty mood. And, more importantly, I am the person who puts the baby to bed. In other words, I am The Hammer. When someone has to go “That’s it. You’ve been conscious long enough. Be in your box. Have a nice scream.” That person is generally me.
When Cordelia is sleepy and crying in her crib and someone walks into the room, she immediately flips on her belly, lifts herself up with her arms, and flashes her most radiant “You are my God. Now please pick me up.” smile. If Mariann walks in, this smile is usually at least good for quick pick up and hug. If Cordelia looks up and sees me, though, she knows she’s fucked.
Sure, it would be nice to pick her up and comfort her every time she cries. But it would also be nice to not have a baby who cries for Attention On Demand every hour every night until she’s thirty-two. I cry for comfort from my wife every two hours every night, and, believe me, it’s not always appreciated. So I want to spare whoever ends up with my baby the same horrifying fate.
But sometimes, this is sad. Babies are fast learners. They have to be. Otherwise, we’d have a lot of teenagers in diapers. And Cordelia has learned where to turn for comfort and solace. She knows from where the good things come. When she’s crying and I’m holding her, if Mariann isn’t in the room, I can comfort her just fine. If my wife is in the room, however, Cordelia will completely freak out until I hand her over. Cordelia looks for comfort like a fly looks for a fresh corpse, and my wife is generally the most alluring body in the room.
I suppose this should bother me and I should be jealous or something. I’m not. Cordelia is young, and the race is long. I have all the time in the world to buy her affection. After all, my wife is determined to never buy our daughter a Barbie. As far as I’m concerned, all it will take is one carefully timed Dream House to fully restore myself to my daughter’s good graces.
If that doesn’t work, I’ll escalate to a Playstation. A pony. Piercings at age seven. Whatever it takes.
And the Baby Gets A New Food
My wife tried out a new food on Cordelia. Prunes and Oatmeal flavored baby food. Our little girl loves it. This bugs me.
When I found that Cordelia was being fed prunes, all I could think was: What? Why are we feeding her food that encourages her to crap? She doesn’t shit enough? She’s already voiding out her entire body weight through her ass every day. To get anything else to crap, she’ll have to start absorbing nitrogen through her skin.
Soon, Cordelia will crap her entire body out. There’ll be nothing left. I’ll look into the diaper, and the whole baby will be in there.
My wife, on the other hand, is content to have found something the baby will eat, and I can shut up about it any time now, thank you. Meanwhile, I’m spending my time searching for a baby food with a name like “Colon-Spray Fiber Chunkz”.
Why Prunes and Oatmeal In the First Place?
It’s a bad situation when you go shop for baby food and a new shipment hasn’t been in in a while. That’s when the only flavors left are things so bizarre and unappealing you wouldn’t even feed them to a helpless baby. “Chicken and Oats.” “Chicken Liver and Bread Pudding.” “Sand.”
I went shopping for baby food late Sunday night. The only flavors they had left were “Shredded Monkey” and “Ass”. I bought two of each. I figure, give her a few spoonfuls of something she likes, and the trusting little soul will open her mouth for anything.
Trust, Once Lost, Can Never Be Regained
Cordelia has definite food preferences. Apples and pears are great. Pureed corn and squash mix, however, is pure horror. She sounds like a sensible girl to me.
However, a jar of corn and squash mix was already open, and I didn’t want to waste food. So I tried feeding her pear until she was eagerly opening her mouth for more, and then I surprised her with a big spoonful or corn and squash.
After that, it almost took a crowbar to pry her mouth open. I had to put some pear on the spoon and shove it in past her pursed lips to communicate to her “Hey, don’t worry. The pear is back. No need to starve yourself.”
Then, a few mouthfuls of pear later, I gave her another scoop of corn and squash. It took even more work to get her to open her mouth after that.
I suppose I should be glad Cordelia is developing her brain enough to have preferences and react rationally to unpleasant stimuli (unpleasant stimuli, in this case, means “daddy”). However, how could I have possibly known that my child would use her newfound mental powers to defy me?
Actual Baby Foods Advertised On Gerber.com Which Invited Comment
Lamb & Lamb Gravy (The word “Gravy” makes everything more disturbing.)
Veal & Veal Gravy (There is something pleasing to me about feeding milk-fed babies to milk-fed babies.)
Lasagna With Meat Sauce Dinner (Lasagna? It’s been pureed! I do not believe that someone carefully assembled and baked a dish of lasagna, let it cool, and then threw the whole thing into some industrial badass blender. That did not happen. Gerber, I CALL BULLSHIT ON YOU!)
Prunes With Apples (Something else to make your baby shit more, this week guest-starring Apples)
Hearty Chicken & Rice Dinner (Hearty? This was the only food they had with the word “Hearty” in the name. What are they adding to that chicken to make it so exceptional? Actual meat? Protein powder? Lard?)
Banana Plum Granola, Apple Mango Kiwi (From Gerber’s “organic” line. I think the fuckers are just showing off with these. My daughter is currently trying to see how much floor lint she can jam into her mouth. She would not appreciate “Apple Mango Kiwi” any more than dogs appreciate flavored dog food.)
One Other Baby Food Flavor I Found
“Peach Apricot Muesli”
This was from Earth’s Best Baby Food. I don’t see why they don’t just let the other shoe drop and put “Perfect For Raising Your Young Homosexual” right there on the label.