I have made my peace with babies. After long, contentious negotiations, we’ve finally come to terms.
Of course, I still hate your baby (sorry, but it’s true. My baby is the best, your baby is the worst; that’s just the way it is.) But babies in general? They’re okay. There’s been a lot of chatter lately, as usual, about whether kids should be allowed in restaurants. This place banned them. You already know how I feel.
Babies aren’t the issue, believe me. After 10 months of living with one, I understand them now; at least, I understand them as much as I ever will. I’m used to having a baby around, I know the drill; I can deal with babies. They are what they are and they are controllable.
Toddlers, on the other hand…
This past weekend I spent a fair amount of time in the company of children between the ages of 2 and 6. And I did NOT enjoy it. I saw my future and it terrifies me.
Toddlers are like babies on meth. Babies are stationary; toddlers are motion machines. Babies can only make a few sounds; toddlers make them all – crying, screaming, whining, talking, yelling – and they make them all loudly. Babies have no choice but to depend on you for things – to eat, to be picked up, to play with a toy; Toddlers take what they want when they want it. Nobody gets in their way! They are like little Hitlers. On meth. I’m mixing my similes – can you mix similes? – but you get the picture.
The picture? Toddlers are hell unleashed, and they haunt my dreams.
There was a time when baby anxiety seized me; whenever I imagined having and subsequently taking care of an infant, my heart would race with panic. That time has passed; oh, if I could only have it back. After witnessing the chaos toddlers bring, the fear I feel for my son’s imminent toddler-hood makes those days of baby-related anxiety positively glisten with romantic nostalgia.
This weekend, a toddler will be staying in my apartment. As such, we have to baby-proof everything – something we’ve been putting off while our son remains on all fours. But the time has come to block access to drawers and cabinets and electric outlets. Unfortunately, we can’t baby-proof toddlers themselves; half their day is spent banging into things – the walls, the ground, each other. Once he can walk, I am seriously considering dressing my kid in football pads and a helmet, all year round.
You think I’m joking? Just this morning my wife found my son inside our fireplace. Inside our fireplace! She turned her back to get his yogurt or his fruit or his bottle or his goulash or whatever and when she went to give it to him he was chilling in the fireplace, pulling a reverse Santa Claus, except the only bag of gifts he had was the one strapped around his ass. And those weren’t gifts.
Luckily there was no fire cooking, as lately it’s been 100 or so degrees in my apartment, give or take. The lack of flames was but a small blessing; the fact is, the kid can’t even walk yet and already he’s almost wandered his way into a wall of flames. Once he grows into one of those relentless Frankenstein mini-people, we won’t be able to protect him or the villagers he tramples and dismembers while exploring his new mobility.
Again, this is no joke. I was just at a playground that was overrun with toddlers and at least five of them tried to eat my son. Thank god I had my pitchfork to stave the little monsters off.
If only I could stave off my son’s development before he turns into a monster himself.