Our baby daughter Cordelia is 11 months old now. And Christmas happened. I was really wondering if presents and holiday festivities would be enough to crack through my daughter’s Infant Shell of Utter Obliviousness. The answer is: no. The tree and the presents were just slightly different background for some strange, continuing inner baby drama I can’t even begin to comprehend.
Some advancements happened. Cordelia can “cruise” now (i.e. walk while holding onto the couch). She can lift herself up high enough to pitch face-first into her toybox. Also, experimenting very, very carefully, I found that Cordelia has realized that it is possible to “fall”, and thus crawling off the edge of the bed is a bad idea.
(You could test if your own child is afraid of falling by putting it on a bed, getting a VERY firm grip on its shirt, and waiting. You could test it this way. You really, really shouldn’t. But you could.)
Cordelia’s First Christmas. Aww.
Some guy in a store a few days ago saw me pushing Cordelia around and said “It’s her first Christmas! How nice!”
Thanks, fucknut. More pressure on me.
Since we have a child, and children actually give a shit, my wife Mariann and I are going to need to start really putting some flash and spin on this whole Christmas thing. This is easy for Mariann… she loves Christmas. She puts up lights and a tree and everything. Me, I just buy people some dry goods, suck up my own gifts, and spend the birthday of our Lord and Savior sitting around in shorts, scratching my balls, and watching videos.
With a child around, though, I’ll only be able to do two of those things.
One great thing about kids is that they make you freshly appreciate holidays that had long since become dull and stupid. Consider Easter. What could be more horrible than Easter? All the stores are closed, and the best celebration you can hope for is a double-length church grind in the morning.
But with kids around, you get to fill the house with chocolate and hard-boiled eggs! I love hard-boiled eggs! Now that we have Cordelia, I may actually start paying attention to Easter again! Now refresh my memory. That’s the day the holy rabbit got nailed to a cross, right? Those wacky Romans.
But I digress. Christmas. We tried to celebrate it. We got a small tree and put it up on a table, in a futile effort to keep Cordelia from swallowing parts of it. My daughter got 800 presents, all nicely wrapped. Considering how much she likes tearing paper, we thought we could get her to unwrap them.Of course, instead, she tore off a tiny corner of wrapping paper and tried to eat it, completely ignoring everything else. And that was the sum total of Cordelia’s Christmas experience.
Don’t worry, though. I got to sit, scratch, eat beef, and play Nintendo. So the day worked out pretty well.
What Cordelia “Wants” For Christmas
Here is a pre-Christmas conversation I had with my long-suffering mother.
Mom: What do you think Cordelia wants for Christmas?
(Now, this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask. It should be interpreted to mean “We have bought Cordelia 15 things. What do you think the sixteenth should be?” But I am not a good son.)
Me: What does Cordelia WANT? Hmmm. What she wants is Metroid Prime for the Nintendo GameCube.
(Since Cordelia is an oblivious little thing with a surplus of toys, I think she has enough of a kind spirit to not mind daddy getting a little something too.)
Mom: (Sounding dubious.) Really?
Me: Oh, yes. Nintendo has started to make computer games for one year olds. It’s like TeleTubbies, but video games.
Mom: I don’t know about that.
Me: Sure! Cordelia loves the GameCube. She loves wiggling around the controller and watching the funny shapes move around the screen. And Metroid Prime has… uhhh… exceptionally pretty shapes.
Mom: I don’t think so.
Me: OK, fine. What Cordelia really wants is a sheet of newspaper. So she can eat it.
I don’t know what Cordelia wants. All I know is what she should be getting. Socks. This is just about the last Christmas that I can give her socks without sowing seeds of bitter resentment in fertile mental soil.
The Gift Of TERROR
My aunt and uncle sent us a Barney doll. Holding a banjo. If you press a button, Barney plays the banjo. This is a truly diabolical combination of the two most annoying forces on Earth.
When we played it for Cordelia, it completely freaked her out. She crawled to mommy, started screaming, and didn’t stop until the evil doll was far away.
Good girl. Good, good girl.
A Side Note About Santa
Some parents don’t teach their children about Santa because they don’t want to lie to them. They are afraid that this teaches kids that authority figures can lie to them.
Interestingly, I feel this is exactly why you SHOULD teach kids about Santa.
If she hasn’t been inoculated by figuring out that there’s no “Santa”, “Easter Bunny”, “Tooth Fairy”, or “Yoda”, how will my poor darling do when she has to figure out if there is a “God”.
Another Bit Of Intelligence Progress
When Cordelia wakes up from a nap, she sits up in her crib and stares sadly at the door, hoping each moment might be the moment a parent comes through it.
Thus, having passed through the intelligence stages of limpet and turtle, she has reached puppy.
“Awww. A Little Brown Bath Toy.”
Cordelia has just reached one of the more important infant milestones described in “What To Expect the First Year.” She shit in the bathtub.
Fortunately, I was not present when my wife noticed that there were a few tiny bath toys too many floating in the water. It really broke her brain, though. I realized something had happened when I poked my head into the bathroom and saw the thick layer of borax coating the bathtub. My wife kept those noxious, searing chemicals there all day to make sure all the fecal cooties were utterly destroyed. Through some exercise of self-restraint, she kept from going over the tub one more time with a sheet of cleansing fire.
Plus, she soaked the bath toys all day in the sink with water and more chemicals. I think she should have put bleach and ammonia in there. That’d give those fucking toys a lesson they wouldn’t soon forget.
On one hand, Mariann and I want to be fair. We don’t want to punish Cordelia for innocent actions completely out of her control. On the other hand, I think she has completely shit herself out of getting a pony.