Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Self Hating Baby

You know that Dave Chappelle skit where he is a KKK member that doesn't realize that he is black? You know, that one that every guy you went to college with made you watch about 10 times because they thought it was so "groundbreaking" and "genius?" (And yes, I'll admit that Dave Chappelle is pretty damn funny.) Anyway, that black KKK guy is totally Alice.

Alice is going through a phase right now where she talks seemingly endlessly about babies. Certain things (the backpack carrier, certain toys, graham crackers) are for babies. And she, as best I can tell, is not a baby. She has a few dolls or stuffed toys that are babies. Infants we see in their baby carriers in Target are babies. Not Alice. She is a grown up with a love for freeform jazz and tax exemptions.

Last night, Alice was still inexplicably up after the other two kids were in bed. She has a runny nose right now, which has forced her schedule a little off track as far as naps/sleep goes, but she was still in a good mood and happy. I was indulging her (and watching the A's). She went over and picked up a Dora Beanie Baby type thing that my mom bought her when she was in last. She held it up to her shoulder and patted it. "Good baby," she said. I told her that yes, Dora was a good baby. She picked up the matching Boots. "Sweet baby," she said. I nodded. She walked over to me and sat down in my lap. "Mommy no baby," she said. No, I'm not a baby, I told her. "Allie no baby," she said. I hugged her, and without thinking, said, "Oh, Alice, you are my baby! You'll always be my baby!"


At this point, she is facing me and looks pretty damn perturbed. So I did what any good mother should. I told her that she wasn't a baby. She was a big person, and it was time for her to go out and earn her keep, perhaps in the coal mines. Alice, now satisfied, turned around and watched the baseball game like a good grown-up should.

The funny thing is, I feel like I am clinging on to baby-ness more so with Alice than I did the other two kids. I dress her in little dresses, in things that aren't frou-frou by any means, but that bely her youngness and sweetness. I persist with things like backpack carriers and sippy cups, when I had Sam drinking out of a regular cup by 18 months (and Alice can do it to, I just choose not to force the matter). And, of course, she is still breastfeeding. Most importantly, when I look at her, I see BABY. Despite her protests to the contrary.

Perhaps it is in response to nothing that she has done, but rather because Gabby seems to be growing up so damn fast lately. There has been talk of her attending a 7th grade prom (she is in sixth grade), and Matt caught her chatting away on her iPod the other night at 1:30 a.m (she was on Spring Break, so we didn't take the iPod like we normally do on school nights). So while I really want to slow Gabby down a bit, I take it out on Big Al. Who is not a baby. Must remember that. Not a baby.

I am an only child, so it remains very interesting to me the kind of dynamics between my three kids. I never saw this kind of thing growing up, so now, seeing it as a parent, and seeing how I relate to each child as a sibling, is very nearly mindblowing. I was a happy only child growing up, but seeing how the kids play now, with their inside jokes and petty skirmishes makes me wonder what I missed out on. Or not. Yesterday, Sam and Gabby gave each other matching facial lacerations (interestingly enough, right after I posted on Facebook how happy I was that they were playing with each other), so I'm kinda glad I didn't experience that. Interestingly, though, 15 minutes later, they had made up and were playing with Alice and some Hot Wheels cars and laughing so hard I had to turn up The Barefoot Contessa to drown out their jubilation. Yup, I'm that mom. The one who turns up the TV to drown out her children's joy.

Alice, however, remains my baby, despite her protestations. I have a friend who has a newborn (or, really, about 15 friends scattered throughout the country--I maintain that the best way to get knocked up is to friend me on Facebook), so I am really wanting to take Alice to see the baby just to see what she would do when confronted with a real-life specimen. Love it much as she loves the stuffed Dora? Or burn a cross in its yard? The mind boggles. For now, though, the most important thing is to remember that Alice is no man's baby.


  1. Better not put her in the corner!

    You are such a good writer, I would love to see you have a column somewhere. LOVED this post.

    Emerson? She likes being a baby. She crawls in my lap and hugs me and says, "Ahhh Mommy and Baby!" When she sees real-life babies she totally freaks out. Puppies, fine. Dolls, fine. Newborns? THE DEVIL!

  2. Seriously, I laughed out loud at that. "Newborns? THE DEVIL!" Yes, that's good.

    Thank you so much for your comment. I would love that as well, so perhaps someday!