[Baby Watch: Day 307]
10 Reasons My 10-Month-Old is Better Than Me at Life
1. He doesn’t judge me when I smell.
I fart, he smiles. I kiss him with my morning dragon breath, he smiles. I crawl around with him on the floor in two-day-old, un-showered squalor . . . he smiles. He still loves me at my absolute worst. Not an ounce of judgement.
Yet, every single time he needs a diaper change, I treat him like I’m handling radioactive plutonium ore. I curse his stench under my dragon breath. I sneer at him for having the audacity to poop in his own pants. I proclaim him to be the stankiest baby ever if he smells of urine (because of MY lack of having bathed him, by the way). Basically, I judge my baby for things that are COMPLETELY UNAVOIDABLE, all while subjecting him to my own, COMPLETELY AVOIDABLE nastiness and taking his perpetual tolerance for granted.
2. He savors his food.
I like food as much as the next person (although, according the our bathroom scale and the fact that my New Years resolution of no more chocolates has caused me to live in a perennial cold sweat for the past six weeks, I may like food a little more than the average person), but I don’t savor things nearly as much as my son. In fact, since he’s come along, “savor” has essentially left my vocabulary. I’ve started eating so fast that it’d be more productive and enjoyable to take my food intravenously while I sleep, like a coma patient. I want to take a vacation day, just so I can eat at a reasonable pace. (Put the world on notice: the bar has been set for “world’s saddest reason to take a vacation day.”)
But, as much as I love me some food, my Italian son’s love of eating is an act of pure, unbridled joy on a guttural level. He gently picks up his food and admires it like a jeweler examining a pristine diamond. He’ll take small tastes to appreciate the subtle textures of his meal. If he’s being spoon fed, he’ll let the spoon rest on his tongue for several seconds before closing his mouth, just to get the full aromatic sensation of each bite of food. He swishes his food around in his mouth like he’s at a fancy wine tasting. He’s a master sommelier of pureed apples.
The other day he ate a “crunchy banana cream wagon wheel” for upwards of thirty minutes. He essentially licked and gummed a piece of semi-solid food and liquified it before finally swallowing it slowly. I’m an adult person who knows full well that my son was eating bland, puffed corn treats (which were probably invented as animal feed mind you), yet he made crunchy banana cream wagon wheels seem so divine that my own mouth watered while I watched him eat it. I wanted to incredulously tell the waiter, “I’ll have what he’s having!”
But, alas, as he sat raptured with edible elation, I unceremoniously inhaled my lunch like I was in a chicken tenders eating contest, where first prize was indigestion. (Spoiler alert: I won.)
3. He can climb steps faster than me.
Look, I joined a gym. I’m working on it.
4. His favorite things are free.
Years ago, my dog went through a period where his favorite treat was a simple ice cube. It was an awesomely welcome relief to the bank account of a college student. But now my dog is dead (I don’t even know why you’d bring this up, you heartless jerk.), and I instead have a child who is putting a heavy dent in my ability to gamble on important things like fantasy baseball. Every other day I’m buying ridiculous baby “necessities” like “food” and “clothes.” It’s totally obnoxious.
But, thankfully, we have discovered that many of his favorite things in life are free. Silly faces, wind, utensils we have sitting around in the kitchen, the carpet, a tape measure . . . all instant infant classics. If I want to splurge on something to entertain myself, I’m likely going to be emptying my bank account on some electronic gadget that will be in our garage sale pile by next Monday. If my kid needs a new toy, it’s to the junk drawer I go. Next time the wife wants to buy another stuffed, dangly, rattly, light-up teething toy for $27 . . . I think I’ll have a look through our garbage first. Nothing but the best for my son!
5. He gets everything he wants without even having to ask for it.
I wanted a puppy for Christmas (like I said, my dog died . . . I cannot figure out why you keep bringing this up), but instead I got kitchen appliances so I can cook my wife more elaborate meals. My son asked for nothing, he wanted nothing (see his love of tape measures above), yet he received no less than 40 toys which currently occupy 87.3% of our living room floor.
For Christmas I was given $100 towards a new bike. Did I buy a new bike? Nope. Instead I bought a new storage ottoman to house all of my son’s new toys. So, at least I’m living in a world that is totally fair and even, and I’m in no way bitter about it, and I don’t sit up at night thinking about it like the opposite of the full-grown man that I am.
6. He has all the women in his life wrapped around his little finger.
In case I wasn’t sure why #5 is happening, I only have to look to #6. My son is my mother’s only grandchild and my mother-in-law’s only grandson. He is our only child. He has crafty aunts and great aunts who live to make him things. The women at church huddle around him at the end of the service to squeeze cheeks like a pack of rabid cantaloupe shoppers. The boy hasn’t spent more than a few waking hours without being ogled over by some woman or another. He’s my Burberry baby: loved by women worldwide, costs a small fortune to own, and is traded on the London Stock Exchange.
7. He isn’t burdened with pesky inhibitions.
He poops where and when he wants. The Queen of Denmark could be holding him, and if he has to poop, IT IS GOING TO HAPPEN. You have to respect that.
The other day he was meeting one of the most elder and respected members of our church, and he sneezed actual boogers directly onto her face. He then promptly went about his business like nothing had happened while she searched for a tissue to clean her chin. It was amazing. The last time I sneezed on an old woman’s face I quickly ran out of the nursing home in shame. Someone tell grandma I miss her.
8. He has perfected the ability to hold a perfect pitch while pooping.
Speaking of lacking inhibitions . . . the boy holds concerts while he defecates.
It starts with a low hum. As he pushes harder it becomes a sustained grunt. By the time he explodes, he is holding a high C, well on his way to being The Fourth Tenor. (Topical pop culture references!) I guess that makes my son the fecal Pavarotti.
Incidentally, this is much more difficult than it sounds. I dare you to try next time you poop. You won’t last five seconds. My son can maintain it for his entire Bowel Movement in E Minor.
9. He has created his own language.
Well, maybe not an entire language, but he has repurposed a certain word, and decided that it will mean “thing that makes me happy.” See, if I want to describe items that make me happy, I literally have to call them “things that make me happy.” I have no specific word for it. But my son has determined, in his infinite 10-month-old wisdom, that he will use the word “kitty” as an uber word to encompass all things that bring him joy.
Of course, this gets a little confusing when he points to our kitty and says, “Kitty!”, then points to his favorite book and says, “Kitty!”, then takes a bite of his favorite food and yells, “Kitty!” Adorable? Yes. Ambiguous and contradictory? Very. Still, I can’t fault him for already attempting to perfect the English language in an effort to improve his speech efficientness (not a word, but it should be. I’m taking a cue from my son).
10. He loves unconditionally.
He smiles the moment he sees his mommy in the morning. He gets excited every time I pick him up. As mentioned above, he completely loses his cool every time he sees our cats. To be honest, it’s in a sort-of unnatural, scary and psychotic way – he charges at the cats as fast as his hands and knees will carry him, screaming banshee cries in his misguided attempt to show them affection. I’ve tried this with women, and it typically does not work, so my son is going to have to hone his skills. Still, the effort to love unconditionally is there.
Of all the reasons to be jealous of my son’s zest for life (and perfection of it), this has to be the one I most wish I could emulate. He is fully filled with glee on a daily basis. He holds no reservations in his love and appreciation. Sure this has led to a bout of separation anxiety that has negatively impacted his sleep and his exposure to the occasional day care situation, but I can’t be mad when his middle-of-the-night tears are because he just misses us so much (or because I forgot to turn on the heater in his ice box of a room, but we won’t mention that).
It’s a love that I can aspire to have, though I know I never will. I’m a judgmental, unappreciative, greedy . . . and totally normal adult. Sometimes I wish the world was more like my son. But maybe without all the poop.
(A bonus #11: He’s better at using the piano in our hide & seek games.)