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21 Jan

Snakes And Snails And Puppy Dog’s Tails

Wonderbaby is fiercely independent and extremely strong-willed. This will, no doubt, come as no surprise to anyone who has followed my stories about her exploits, but, oddly enough, it comes as a fresh daily surprise to me, the person who spends most time with her, that she has the will and demeanour of a hyperintelligent adolescent jacked up on Twinkies. Or a rabid anthropomorphic badger, the kind that a crack-addled Disney might imagination, the kind that has the determination and the ability to lift your keys and steal your car, if there happens to be something down the road that it wants. Take your pick. I’m never quite sure, myself, what life-form she most resembles. Toddler, I suppose.

Whatever it is, and for whatever reason, it’s a constant source of surprise to me. Why I keep waking up each morning expecting to find a child that can be defined in terms of sugar and spice and everything nice, I don’t know. But I do. And so I’m always taken just a little bit off guard when I get smacked by a puppy dog’s tail. Or by a diaper full of fresh toddler shit, removed by said toddler and not-so-neatly carted around until she can find something that looks like a trash-bucket in which to discard it (perhaps the laundry basket, or the oven-cupboard of her toy cook-stove/kitchen), so that she might go on the toilet – the real toilet, mind, and not the potty, which is FOR BABIES – and finish the job, ALONE. (MY DO IT! NO HELP, MOMMY! NO HELP!)

She is all movement and noise, starting the day at a brisk trot-and-bounce and finishing it at full-tilt run-and-leap, with no deceleration in-between. She will brook no quiet time, unless it is spent in some sort of moving vehicle, in which case she will holler, repeatedly, FASTER GO FASTER! LET’S GO HILL! UP! DOWN! FASTER! And if we do attempt to force some quiet time, either by buckling her into some sort of toddler containment facility or such whatnot, she will break free and – woe betide you if you are not hot on her trail – seize the opportunity for a fast game of public hide’n’seek or scaling walls or breaking into cupboards and stealing chocolate or busting into bathroom cabinets and finding potions to pour into the sink or, maybe, just going to the bathroom unsupervised where one can experiment with defecation and disposal techniques uninterrupted.

So although she is the darlingest thing, and is certainly as sweet as pie in most respects – she will always say please and thank you and excuse me, as she rushes past you to grab your handbag in her search for candy or car keys, and will always insist upon cleaning up the poo she has inexpertly deposited in exactly the wrong location (CLEAN UP! CLEAN UP!) – there is nothing sugar and spice about her.

What, then, am I supposed to do if I produce a male version of this child? What if her little brother is everything that she is, but with a urine-spraying penis-thingie, too? Won’t that be, like, Wonderbaby armed?

I’m so thrilled to be having a boy, I really, really am, but that thrilledness carries with it the distinct vibrations of fear. Real fear. Palpable fear. The fear, I think, that only a mother who has had the experience of feeling totally under siege by her children can know.

There are going to be two of them, soon, and one of them is going to have a built-in spray hose. I should just go ahead and wave the white flag right now, shouldn’t I?

For Julie, who will be under spray months before I am, and so who will, I hope, pass on some good sources of peenie umbrellas to me. (Part of the not-so-golden shower hosted by Kristen and Cathy)