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.

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