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The Story About the Baby, Volume 31.

My little baby girl, Cordelia, continues to show more signs of intelligence. Example. Before, when I tried to feed solid food to her and she didn't want to cooperate, I would make funny noises and faces until she started to laugh. Then I'd dump a payload of oatmeal in her open mouth.

Now, when I do something funny while holding a spoonful of food, she gives me a tight-lipped smile. She's grinning, but the jaw stays firmly clenched.

Seven months old, and already our relationship is a corrupted web of lies and mistrust.

Our Child Has Become Emotionally Dependent On Us

Our little girl has become acutely aware of when we are trying to blow her off.

Our fondest dream, as parents, is a child that is occasionally capable of amusing itself on the floor for a little while. No, wait. That's not right. Our fondest dream as parents is a million dollars and a state of the art Japanese baby-raising robot. And, at this point, we seem as likely to get that as a self-amusing baby.

When we plop her on the living room floor, surrounded by interesting and intriguing toys and the warm, enfolding hug of the baby gate, it usually takes a minute of solitude for her little baby alarm to go off. Then she starts to make little "Eeeeeee" noises, which get louder and louder until Mariann and I can stand it no longer and go rescue her. Also, if the windows are open, the noises let our neighbors know that we are Bad Parents.

Special objects and bribes can keep the baby amused for longer. For example, letting her play with her most sacred, fervently desired object, the TV remote, will keep her quiet for several minutes. I imagine, if I let her chew on our wedding photos, that'd buy a half an hour.

When the baby wakes up and cries in the middle of the night, I wait for a while in case she goes back to sleep on her own. Now, when she squeals on the living room floor I have now started to wait then too, in case she finds a way to amuse herself. Maybe that yellow plastic ring that totally bored the shit out of her yesterday and the day before and the day before that will suddenly activate her imagination and explode into a new glorious world of delight for her.

This process is a little depressing, because sometimes I feel like I'm trying to wean her off of me and, therefore, love.

On the other hand, if I get it so I can occasionally take 2 minutes off from parenthood to go take a shit, I feel it will be worth it.

Why I'm Drawing the Line Here

I never want to have to take a crap while my kid is staring at me.

"You're so cuuuuute! Cuuuuuuuuuuute!!!!"

The best thing about having a baby is that you can pinch her cute, soft, chubby cheeks freely and without fear of reprisal. When I pinch Cordelia's cheeks and say "Oooooh! OOOOOHHHH!!! Chubbbbby cheeeeeeeks! CHUBBBBBBY CHEEEEEEEEKS!", she just looks sad. When I try to do the same thing to my wife, she sprains my wrist.

But Cordelia has experienced more mental development. Now, when I pinch her cheek, she reaches up with both hands, grabs my hand, and pushes it away. This makes me proud. Don't worry, though. It's just a weak little push at this point. She is still essentially helpless against me.

I can still have my fun, until my wife gets her little toddler Tae Kwon Do lessons.

Now She Can Wound Me

Before this week, when I held or played with Cordelia and she was kicking me, I didn't worry about it. I thought it was cute. Kick kick kick. Awwww.

Yesterday, she landed a good solid kick on my chin. It hurt.

Also, when I bent down to razz her belly button, she laughed, as always, but she also clawed the shit out of my face with her cute little baby fingernails.

True, it's a promising start, but I still won't be able to rest until she can defend herself from a determined and hungry mouse.

My Official Opinion On Cloned Babies

Lately, there has been some controversy regarding the issue of human cloning. Some people think that it is wrong to make exact copies of yourself because, apparently, people will inevitably create huge armies of identical copies of themselves and roam the Earth, raising havoc. As if this would be a bad thing.

People worry too much.

Look. You probably don't know me. But, if you did, you would have to admit that I am pretty much perfect. Sure, my beard is scraggly and I'm a little thick around the tummy. But, in general, I am as good an example of fine genetic stock as the human race is likely to produce.

So why shouldn't I clone myself? Why shouldn't I scrape some skin off my arm and run off a few me copies? After all, don't I owe it to the human race to improve it as much as I possibly can? Considering my, for all practical purposes, perfection, I feel that not cloning myself when I have the chance makes me a TRAITOR TO HUMANITY.

Fortunately, my wife is essentially perfect as well. Since making someone with all your genes is pure evil but making someone with half your genes is just plain peachy keen, I will have to make due with mingling my wonderful genetic code. It is tragic, but that is the backward state of science at this point. And, when Cordelia is older, I apologize to her for not making her more like me.

My Dream.

I want one of those freaky islands like in Island of Doctor Moreau, but, instead of mutant animals, it would be occupied by clones of myself. All of them would have these pain bracelets, and I could shock them instantly if they ever displeased me.

Some have pointed out that, in this situation, my clones would be constantly plotting against me, looking for ways to remove the pain bracelets, rise up, and utterly destroy me.

Well, to that I say, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Now, if the island could only have female clones of myself too, then we'd really be cookin'.

The Plague Of Ugly Babies

Now that I am paying attention, I continue to see lots of ugly babies. The other day, while walking Cordelia around, I saw this one kid whose head looked like a huge marshmallow with eyes and a mouth painted on.

His mom smiled adoringly at my own (cute) baby as she walked by. Had she looked at me, she would have seen that I was smiling at her child. However, while she was smiling because my child's adorability makes all who witness it feel that there is hope for humanity, I was smiling with relief because I knew we were not going to trade kids.

"Boo!"

The other night, Cordelia said "Boo." Then, when I said "Boo" back to her, she thought it was hilarious. I'd say it, and she's laugh and laugh, and then she'd stare at me until I said it again. This went on forever.

Boo.

This makes no sense. What the fuck is going on in that brain thing of hers?


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