Babies and Mockery

This child questions your maturity.
This child questions your maturity.

We are at Fairytale Town in Sacramento, in Sherwood Forest, and there is this little boy throwing a huge tantrum. He is, I’m guessing, about five and is shrieking, kicking, sobbing, and rolling back-and-forth on the ground. His grandfather has absolutely had it and is threatening to take the kid and his brother home.

So Brontë walks by, points at the screaming kid, and starts laughing hysterically, much to his brother’s and grandfather’s amusement. He stops crying immediately and starts giggling. Apparently, nothing shames a crying kid faster than being mocked by an infant. Maybe we are underestimating mockery as a potential training tool.

Reminds me of a recent episode at Costco… You know how sometimes you go to Costco and the place is absolutely packed? Hordes of people are getting into traffic jams with massive shopping carts filled with enough goods to last a nuclear winter, full-on road rage breaking out in the aisles? Well, we had been dealing with this for a good hour when Brontë decides to throw  killer fit. Giving her a snack wasn’t helping, talking to her wasn’t helping, and we were too far in to just put our items back and leave.

She was doing noodle legs (where they refuse to walk and hang off your arm like they’re boneless) and screaming at the top of her lungs. I let go of her and she rolled around kicking and screaming. Shopping carts were screeching to a halt in front of us, unable to get past the mayhem, when I finally starting whining and wailing right back at her. She screamed louder and rolled harder until I flopped on the ground, rolling back and forth, yelling, ” THIS IS YOU! THIS IS WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE RIGHT NOW!”

Several bystanders chuckled. They probably have kids too. Brontë stops, stares at me kicking and rolling for a moment, and finally starts giggling in embarrassment. And she calmed down. It worked! Ten points for Team Parent, woo hoo!

Adding to all this volatility is the fact that I’m pregnant again. After giving the matter tons of thought, my husband and I decided we want another child. We were both only children and always wanted a sibling, so we decided to try for another baby (of course, since we were only children, we probably pictured the ideal good-times version of having a sister or brother, but we will see how it goes).

Since Brontë was a surprise (a happy surprise, but a surprise nonetheless), we didn’t have any idea how long it would take us to conceive. We didn’t want our kids to be too far apart in age, so we decided to start trying shortly after Brontë’s first birthday. And it took… two weeks.

My mother figured out I was pregnant first. We were out eating dinner with my folks, when I kept grabbing french fries off my husband’s plate. My mother gave him a knowing smile, and all I said was, “It’s not going to happen that fast!”

Next, my cat Zoë started sitting on my lap again. She hadn’t done that since the last time I was pregnant. Maybe she can smell pregnancy pheromones or something. So I took a couple tests and they both came back negative, Silly cat,  I thought…

A week went by and I had a positive test. I called my doctor and could hear his skepticism–he had only just removed the birth control, after all. He told me to come in and he would take a look. He seemed to be humoring me and my hysterical pregnancy. But as he pulled up the ultrasound image, he said (with an obvious note of surprise), “Wow, you are pregnant! Congratulations!”

I am excited and scared at the same time. It’s going to be awesome to have another baby! But… I think of my toddler kicking, screaming, and rolling around Coscto… I’m going to be pregnant and have a rambunctious toddler to take care of. Uh-oh. What happens when I’m too pregnant to bend over? How am I going to lift her if I need to? What happens when we are up half the night with a newborn and then Brontë wakes up at the crack of dawn!? What if she just takes off running across the street and I’m, like, eight months pregnant and can barely move?

I thought newborn care was tough enough, and now we are going to add a toddler to the equation? Are we crazy??

I reassure myself that people do this all the time. People have all kinds of kids. Some people have seven or eight! Some people have twins, triplets… I picture those old black & white 19th century photos of women surrounded by a pack of children, back in the days when people made food from scratch and boiled laundry. If they can do it, so can I. Right? We learned a lot the first time around, and having two means we have man-on-man coverage whenever my husband is home.

It’s going to be an adventure. Maybe the new baby can mock Brontë when she throws a fit and make her stop it.

Advertisements

Babies Eat Weird Stuff

JonRichfield - Own work Yum!
JonRichfield – Own work
Yum!

This morning I walked in the bathroom to find Brontë finishing off my tub of Nivea creme. Thought I was a decent cook, but apparently she’s just not very picky.

While we’re on the subject of babies eating weird crap, I must relate what happened the other day. Brontë and I were taking a shower in the afternoon and I was washing our hair. She was laying over my lap as I washed shampoo suds out of her hair while repeatedly reassuring her she wouldn’t get any in her eyes if she held still, when I glanced over and saw a HUGE NASTY SPIDER crawling (stomping) right outside the shower door.

Ack! I didn’t want the spider to hide somewhere in the house, but I was right in the middle of something. So, I slid open the shower door and slammed a giant, Costco-sized, bottle of Johnson & Johnson’s baby wash on the massive spider. I’ll finish up what I’m doing and scoop the squishy spider remains into the toilet after we’re out of the shower, I thought.

After finishing up with Brontë, I started washing shampoo out of my own hair. I was standing under the water, eyes closed with suds running down my face, when I heard the shower door slide open. I hurriedly rinsed all the shampoo off my face and opened my eyes to see Brontë outside the shower and the baby wash bottle knocked over…

I jumped out of the shower as fast as humanly possible, just in time to see: A SPIDER LEG DISAPPEARING INTO MY TODDLER’S MOUTH! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

I quickly opened her mouth and reached in, hoping to snatch the nasty spider remains. But it was too late. She had eaten a dead spider.

Quickly flipping through internet pages about common spiders, I tried to recall exactly what it looked like. Could it be poisonous? It wasn’t a wolf spider or a black widow… *shudder*. Thankfully, it didn’t appear to be any of the common venomous spiders. Still, I watched her closely for any sign of a bad reaction.

Everything turned out okay, apart from the nasty fact that my baby girl ate a giant dead spider like it was no big deal. So… face cream and spiders are among the items my child has happily eaten. Also, cat vomit… but we won’t be discussing that incident.

Given these culinary experiments, I find it hard to take my child turning her nose up at spinach and broccoli. I make a mental note to bring the dead spider up in the future when she doesn’t want to eat something.

Tonight my baby girl mashed up her ham, cheese, cherries, bananas and plums into a giant food wad. She ate some of it, then ground the rest into her hair and all over her arms and belly. Made me wonder… Would people do this if they had no boundaries? Would we be eating part of our cheeseburger then smearing the rest on our scalps and bellies? Is this how everyone would behave if our parents didn’t tell us how unacceptable these table manners are?

I chuckle after picturing a table full of business executives mashing their sandwiches into balls and smearing them all over their blazers.

Babies and the Humor of Bodily Functions

IMG_1224My beautiful baby girl laughs hysterically whenever she farts. Probably in part because it makes her parents laugh hysterically. We should probably teach her not to do that before she joins the rest of society.

I think our current amusement with bodily functions is directly tied to the lifestyle changes babies bring. Unless you are a nurse, janitor, proctologist, or something along those lines, you probably don’t have to deal with other people’s poop. The rest of us spend most of our lives not just being grossed out by poop, but pretending it doesn’t even exist.

Think about it… You spend most of your days regularly suppressing gas (what guys do while goofing off may be another matter) and politely saying you need to “use the restroom.” Even if we all know what is happening, we all politely pretend otherwise. No one ever says, “Excuse me while I go take a crap” or “I need to go take a dump and it might be a while.” That would be shocking, even though everyone does it.

Some women I know won’t even go number two in a public restroom. They are too horrified by the thought of being found out. When I leave a bathroom and see someone entering, and the place has a lingering stench from some previous user, I feel compelled to tell a stranger, “Sorry, that wasn’t me!” because, well, I can’t have some total stranger thinking I have bodily functions like everyone else.

It’s really bizarre, when you think about it. A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook about his horror at seeing a woman walk into a bathroom with a newspaper. He knows, intellectually, that women have to go to the bathroom too, but the fact she brought a newspaper in with her shattered his illusions that she might be doing anything other than taking a crap.

So after a lifetime of pretending no one ever has to poo, I can’t adequately describe the hilarity of watching your pink-cheeked little baby girl in her high chair suddenly drop her spoon, stare off into the distance with widening eyes, and begin to openly grunt as she squeezes out a turd,  sigh, and then go back to eating as though this were the most normal thing in the world.

Which it is, except she doesn’t know yet that we are all supposed to pretend we never fart or poop. It’s such hysterical relief to watch her toddle along in her fluffy pink dress,  stand at an angle on one foot to rip a gigantic fart, then go back to skipping along, pretending to be a princess. After hearing her father and I howl with laughter enough times, Brontë picked up on the fact that her farts are funny. She will rip one, laugh and say, “My butt said thhhwwwpppp,” which only makes her parents laugh harder.

Eventually, I know we will have to teach her that it isn’t polite to do this in public, but right now I can’t help but chuckle at her dizzying freedom, being able to rip farts and crap wherever she happens to be, without the faintest sense of awkwardness or embarrassment.

Popcorn, Movies, and Trampolines: Kids Live in the Moment

Brontë is bouncing on a trampoline while eating a giant bowl of popcorn and watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Never thought of that particular combination, but it looks pretty fun.

Brontë loves popcorn and since it is a relatively healthy (whole grain) snack, we like to make it often, particularly when settling down to watch a movie together. We have one of those nifty stovetop poppers where you turn a handle to churn it after putting a tablespoon or so of oil in the pan. It pops dramatically and Brontë gets really excited.
We figure that popping it ourselves means we can use a decent oil, like avocado or olive, and we like to buy fancy heirloom grains. They taste more flavorful, so you don’t need to add a bunch of butter. Microwave popcorn is a little more convenient, but I read that it’s horrible for you–they are packed with hydrogenated fats and weird plastic chemicals that give you cancer (I shudder to think of all the microwave popcorn I’ve eaten over my lifetime).
The family likes to get a giant bowl of popcorn then sit down to watch a kid-friendly movie, usually on Sundays. Apart from DVD’s we have bought, Netflix online offers an endless array of kid movies, so we definitely are getting our money’s worth from that subscription. A couple great movies we have seen lately are “A Cat in Paris,” and “A Monster in Paris.”
“A Cat in Paris” is about a cat that hangs out with a cat burglar and befriends a little girl who lost her father and is too sad to talk. The little girl’s mother is a police officer. The animation is very cool, reminiscent of film noir, and I like that the mom is police officer because I want to expose my daughter to the idea that women can be adventurous and brave as well as sweet and pretty (we need some counterbalance to the unavoidable Disney princess monopoly). Brontë, of course, likes that it stars a little girl.
“A Monster in Paris” was a fabulous accidental find. It’s a French kids movie, but dubbed in English (which works well for cartoons). It has shadows of “Phantom of the Opera” and Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis.” The animation is spectacular and the music is beautiful. The characters are drawn with surprising complexity for a children’s film. The message, a la “Beauty and the Beast,” is that it is character that makes one a monster, not appearance. I love Disney films, don’t get me wrong, but given that you can generally tell the good characters from the bad by counting the warts, I’m hoping to temper my kid’s perspective from a pure good=pretty and bad=ugly universe by mixing things up with films like these.
At any rate, as bonding as it is to watch movies and eat out of a communal popcorn bowl, Brontë’s father has started giving her a personal popcorn bowl out of recent concern about the amount of time she spends with her fingers up her nose. This is understandable, but Brontë can’t help but notice the disparity between her little yellow plastic bowl and the giant shiny silver family bowl. She keeps plotting about how to get her hands on the massive silver bowl, which usually involves her running away from the kitchen with the big bowl, laughing, as soon as we set it down on the counter.
So now, she is bouncing on her trampoline, watching “Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang” while holding onto the silver popcorn bowl like a giant diamond beach ball. Her father is telling her he likes popcorn, that she should share the popcorn, and asking for some popcorn.
Meanwhile, Brontë struggles with the ethical dilemma of Sharing Her Popcorn vs. Having all the Popcorn. You can see her face contort as she tries hard to share while not wanting to relinquish her treasure. “No!” she yells, then slowly… slowly… pushes the bowl toward her dad so he can grab a handful. He barely puts his fingers in the bowl before she snatches it back and starts stuffing her face with as much popcorn as she can manage. Then he asks for popcorn, and she reluctantly drops a single kernel in his palm.
She looks so happy bouncing on the trampoline while eating popcorn that I couldn’t bring myself to stop her, although it’s easy to see how this would end. It was just a matter of time before she tripped and flung popcorn all over the room. But somehow, I was compelled to let it all play out.

Now we are having an impromptu lesson about Picking Up All the Popcorn.

Popcorn is FREAKIN' AWESOME!
Popcorn is FREAKIN’ AWESOME!

Babies and Hair

Babies love hair. They will grab it, cling to it, pull on it… for this reason, as well as that of the generally exhausting lifestyle of having a small child, many women choose to drastically cut their hair after giving birth. I can certainly understand this rationale, but I have chosen to keep mine long. Partly this is because a topknot functions to keep it out of the way when necessary, but largely because I’m convinced babies like to cling to mommy’s hair like our little chimp ancestors hold onto mommy’s fur when traipsing around the jungle. Removing it might be akin to yanking away an infant’s security blanket.

Bronte, for one, seems very fond on my hair. She likes to grab a fistful and hold it against her cheek. Recently, she has started climbing up the back of the couch behind me and rearranging my hair like a fairy hairdresser. There are moments I get frustrated by the upkeep and am tempted to chop it all off, but then she will whip out one of her fairy stylist sessions and I just can’ bring myself to do it.

Bronte hangs onto momma, chimp style.
Bronte hangs onto momma, chimp style.
This piece needs to go... here.
This piece needs to go… here.

Babies, or Drunken Midget Frat Boys?

WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Do I really have a baby, or is there a midget high on PCP running around the house? One minute she’s cuddly and sentimental, the next, raging…. I can almost hear her slurring, “Lemme tell you about the cats,” as she drools before falling flat on her face.

Brontë is starting to walk, but she isn’t very good at it yet. She is, however, excellent at navigating the stairs. She will deftly skate down them on her butt in record time. I found this impressive until today, when she staggered up to me, buck naked, with poo smeared all over her back side. “Where’s your diaper?” I asked her, as she stared at me blankly.

I cleaned her up and re-diapered her before setting off in search of the missing nappy. It was shortly thereafter that I reached the stairs and realized what had just happened: Brontë had crapped her pants, pulled her diaper off and hid it, then SCOOTED HER BUTT DOWN THE STAIRS AS IF THE STAIRS WERE ONE LONG GIANT ROLL OF TOILET PAPER! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

Fortunately, we had already invested in a steam cleaner due to the combination of these kinds of shenanigans and the ill-fated white carpet that came with this house (let me just take a moment to warn prospective homeowners: if you have kids, avoid white carpets like the plague). Still, I hadn’t planned on spending the afternoon cleaning warm feces out of the crevices of our staircase, and after that was over, I still had to embark on Operation Find The Missing Crap-filled Diaper.

It took a while, but I eventually found the unholy mess tucked into one of the pockets of the cat tree. She started taking her diapers off a few weeks ago, but we were able to confound her by putting diapers on her backwards. With this new development, the bad news is, apparently, that she has learned to master the updated technology of Backwards Diaper 2.0.

The good news, however, is that her removal and hiding of her soiled diaper may mean that she has finally developed an aversion to her own poop. This would be a welcome change. Before having kids, I kind of assumed all animals naturally had an aversion to their own feces. It is filthy and can causes diseases, and it seems like evolution would favor animals that avoid it. Cats crap in a box, dogs crap outside their living space, and even monkeys will throw poo as an intentional insult. You would think humans, being exceptionally smart animals, would also avoid poop.

You would be wrong. Brontë appears to view her poop as an acceptable artistic medium. She will scoop it right out of the back of her diaper in order to finger-paint the walls. We have this poor stone raccoon statue in the backyard that has had baby poop massaged into its crevices (and subsequently been power washed with the hose) more times than I can count. I’m really looking forward to the day I won’t have to scrub feces off the walls anymore.

So, I’m hoping this new diaper-hiding phenomenon means that Brontë, at long last, is beginning to see poop as something she wants outside her immediate environment.

In the meantime, I am going to list some of my toddler’s behaviors, and you tell me if you don’t think it sounds like something a drunken frat guy might do:

1.  Pulls off her clothes, wherever she may happen to be, and runs around naked, screaming, “WHEEEEEEEEEEE! YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!”

2.  Walks around unsteadily, occasionally falling flat on her face.

3.  Changes moods erratically, flipping from a screaming tirade into loving, hugging sentimentality: “Momma, I wuv you!”

4.  Pees in inappropriate places.

5.  Belligerently demands cookies or other snack foods.

6.  Occasionally becomes irrationally territorial and possessive, picking fights over minor perceived slights.

7.  Abruptly passes out on the floor.

At least I understand now why some people are driven to seek intoxication. It brings out your “inner child,” so to speak. She is currently crawling over my lap, chest and face right now as she races back and forth on the couch, giggling maniacally as she goes baby-HOGWILD. She probably won’t have this much fun again until she goes to college.

Babies, Glasses, and Other Head Accessories

“I want a Red Rider BB gun for Christmas!”

Brontë thinks glasses are fun. I think they make her look exactly like Ralphie from “A Christmas Story.”

Glasses seem to be a pretty common obsession among babies. They like to grab them right off your face and smash them against their own, smearing lenses with tiny fingerprints. It is all part of the larger obsession with Putting-Stuff-On-Your-Head: hats, blankets, lunch-as-infant-warpaint…

In short, babies love Head Accessories. Brontë chews my necklaces with deep focus, as though she could glean its secrets with her teeth. She seems to believe wearing jewelry is always a good idea. She will stare openmouthed at necklaces, earnings, and brooches before lunging forward to grab them.  I tell her, “NO!” when she reaches toward a stranger’s earring, for example, and she will do her best to control her urges for a few seconds before darting her chubby fists out and squeezing the shiny object like Lenny grabbing rabbits in “Of Mice and Men.”

Brontë’s eyes light up whenever she sees her grandpa. Now only is he her grandpa, but she also knows he always has reading glasses and a fancy pen in his front pocket. From the moment she sees him, she’s quietly scheming about how she’s going to get her hands on them. She beams, he picks her up, and she humors him with a couple cute faces before quickly snatching his pen and reading glasses with two white-knuckled fists.

In the above picture, we indulged Brontë by putting his glasses on her and letting her pose. She looks as happy as a kid who just found out he’s getting his Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas.

Dead ringer? You be the judge.
Dead ringer? You be the judge.

I guess glasses ARE pretty cool. They make you look like you read a lot. You can pull them off and clean the lenses while pacing, like a good-natured lawyer spelling out the facts of the case. You can chew on the temple stem and look like you’re in deep thought (I had to look up the term “temple stem.” It’s the part that goes behind your ears). You can use them to create a lovable alter ego, a Clark Kent for your Superman. You can peer over the top of them to project disapproval.

It’s funny that glasses often are considered so nerdy whereas sunglasses represent the height of coolness, considering the only real difference between them is lens opacity. Maybe babies think glasses are so cool because they haven’t yet grasped the social implications of people-being-able-to-see-your-eyes. Maybe we are all looking at this wrong.  This represents the typical adult view on glasses:

Nerdy
Nerdy
Cool
Cool

Hmm…

Found Art on the Way to Dinner

There is a surprising amount of art surrounding you, if you are open to it. My husband and I were going out for sushi when I saw this bear in a tree in the parking lot. I have no idea whether he was casually tossed up there in a fit of anger (imagine a tantrum-throwing child hurling his teddy bear into a tree and the frustrated parent saying, “Well, fine… You want to throw Teddyface in a tree? I guess he LIVES IN THE TREE NOW!”), or as a joke, or in a sadistic act of revenge by an older sibling. Or maybe he was carefully posed in a moment of mid-suburban  creative expression. What is the look on his face? Curiosity? Sadness? Loneliness?

Teddy bears don’t usually have big smiles on their faces, unlike so many other children’s toys. Maybe a smiling bear seems vaguely threatening.

In any case, this bear is currently gazing down into the asphalt jungle, as though hungry diners and eager shoppers are invading his forest homeland.

155906_10151358628984821_1969249047_n

Babies and Mealtime

Bronte has a bad attitude about lunch.
Bronte has a very bad attitude about either lunch or her father’s leg hair.

I’ve been making one-eyed Jacks for Brontë lately because she loves them, though after breakfast they don’t look so much eaten as scattered by a Special Forces team of Barbies armed with miniature weed whackers.

After mentioning this to a few friends, I was surprised to hear “What are one-eyed Jacks?” I explain that it’s the dish where you cut a hole in a piece of bread, fry it in a little butter, break an egg in the hole, and flip it over–so you have a piece of toast with a fried egg.

Then they say, “Oh, an ‘egg in a basket,'” or, “Oh, a ‘toad in the hole.” Turns out this dish is very popular but there are a million names for it. I looked it up and there are even some bizarre, old-timey names like “Betty Grable eggs” and “Gashouse eggs.”

MY eggs. MINE!
MY eggs. MINE!

I’m still trying to find something to make the perfect size circle in the bread. A normal glass is too big–it leaves the bread vulnerable to breaking at the weak points–but the hole needs to be big enough to contain the yolk. I’m making do with a juice glass for now, but have a nagging feeling there is something better out there.

But I digress… Feeding my baby is something I’ve taken quite seriously. I’m convinced that if I introduce foods properly, I can shape her palate in a way that will be better for her health later, and my unusual approach has been somewhat controversial among my friends.

First off, I haven’t used any rice cereal whatsoever. I know it’s considered an absolutely integral part of baby-feeding by many, but I have a bizarre theory that the reason we think of bland, creamy foods as “kid foods” is because that’s all we feed them for years. They get used to it, then suddenly we spring “adult” food on them, and they revolt.

It just doesn’t make sense to me that all kids have to eat Lunchables and chicken nuggets, because kids in Japan eat sushi, and kids in Scandinavia eat herring, and what did medieval kids do when there were no Spaghetti-O’s available? I decided to back away from any preconceived notions about what kids would eat, and let her try everything we were eating.

Partly, this comes from the wisdom of my great grandmother, who said, “You don’t need any special baby food or crap like that… just mash up what you’re eating with a fork and they will learn to like that.”

So, in the spirit of my great grandmother (who was a farmer and also right about the merits of breastfeeding) I never bothered buying any baby food or rice cereal. Not that there’s anything harmful about rice cereal, I just don’t believe it’s essential for baby health (or countries that didn’t grow rice would’ve been in deep trouble for centuries).

I did a little research on rice cereal, just to make sure I wasn’t doing anything dangerous, and it turns out that there is a good reason people think we need to feed it to babies, but one that no longer applies. Back when formula feeding first swept the nation, formulas were apparently short on iron. Rice cereal is supplemented with iron, so babies that were fed rice cereal thrived better than those who were not. Formulas now contain enough iron, but the belief that rice cereal is critical persisted.

At any rate, I never used baby food or rice cereal. My husband and I blended up stuff like applesauce, almond butter, spinach, bananas, berries, and cinnamon, and Brontë was perfectly happy with it. I realize the almond butter is controversial, considering I was advised not to even eat nuts during pregnancy for fear of allergies, and admit that the first time I gave it to her, I was nervous and watched her closely for any sign of a bad reaction. We have no history of nut allergies in my family, though, and nut oils are a wonderful type of fat.

I expected the almond butter to be met with raised eyebrows, but was surprised how alarmed people were by the addition of cinnamon. “Is that okay for her?” people would gasp, “Is that dangerous?” No, it isn’t. My thoughts were that if children are only fed bland, mildly sweet foods for years, they would grow to only like bland, sweet foods as adults–so why not throw in a little spice to get her used to more flavor? At any rate, it never caused any problems.

Now that she is getting some teeth, we have moved onto mashing up our dinner and offering it to her, with mixed results. Sometimes she loves an unexpected food, like edamame and lobster bisque. Sometimes, as you can see in the photo above (our failed chili experiment), she spits it everywhere and flies into a violated rage. I have discovered, though, that sometimes she rejects a food a couple times before liking it. The first time we gave her avocado, she spit it everywhere and screamed at the top of her lungs. We persisted, and I think the third time we offer it, she decided she was cool with avocado. Now she’s a huge fan of guacamole and I’m glad I didn’t give up on avocados after the first bad incident.

Time will tell whether any of these experiments bear fruit, and I’m sure every child is different. They are probably all extremely messy, however. Feeding kids solids makes you long for the days of bottles. They will yank food out of their mouths to stare at it, drool it out between bites, and occasionally throw it. Don’t even get me started on food made up of tiny particles… it gets into every crevice from your child to a one foot radius around the highchair. You try to pick them up into a little ball to shake them directly over the trashcan or sink, unless you need the sink for an immediate post-dinner bath. You’re better off keeping the bowl out of reach and spoon-feeding them stuff like rice or grains, or it’s going to look like someone set off a food bomb in your house.

Bronte Finds Herself Waist-Deep in Trash

I was running around the house doing errands when I head my baby scream! I instantly dropped whatever I was doing and rushed in to find her stuck in the position:

Brontë's treasure hunt runs into a snag.
Brontë’s treasure hunt runs into a snag.

Now in retrospect, I probably should have immediately rescued her instead of grabbing my smart phone to take a photo, but I really wanted to capture this moment for posterity. It’s just so… so very hilarious. It’s not often that curiosity combined with shaky physical coordination leads us to end up stuck face-down in a trash can.

Babies, however, haven’t yet learned proper risk-assessment in these situations. All Brontë saw was a mysterious new container that in her world might have chocolate bars or unicorns in it.

I can’t imagine her disappointment upon figuring out that not only was there absolutely nothing in this new container, but also that she was now bent in half and unable to move. Note the fact that she is on her tippy-toes in this position. This is one of the myriad of reasons that children need parents. At least the trade-off for the parents is quite a bit of entertainment.

Sometimes when I watch my baby exploring, I wonder how we managed to last this long as a species. I don’t know if all kids do this, but Brontë will immediately beeline for every electrical outlet, sharp object, and unsafe height in the room. Not only do we have to childproof everything, I need to approach every room with the question, “How could any two objects around here be combined in an unsafe way or in a way that will break something expensive?”

Just when you think you have it covered, the baby will develop new abilities, like crawling then walking, then using objects as step-stools to reach ever higher counters. One day, Brontë managed to push a chair from the kitchen table over to the counter, crawl up on the counter, open a cabinet, and start dropping dishes on the floor until she had created a giant circle of broken glass around the chair. I’m just glad I managed to grab her before she tried to climb down!

Babies will get into mischief you can’t even dream up.