What the cat heard us say

We’ve fallen into an evening routine with New Baby. Mommy feeds him and goes to bed while I stay up with him until he’s ready to sleep. This can take a while, so we have plenty of time for pleasant conversation:

New Baby (NB): “WHAAAA! I want Mommy.”

ME: “Mommy’s getting some rest. Play with me for a while.”

NB: “Got milk?”

ME: “No. Mommy’s got the milk.”

NB: “Ergo, I want her.”

ME: “You just ate.”

NB: “Yeah, but I like keeping a supply handy, just in case.”

ME: “Mommy needs her rest to make more milk. Sit with me and watch the hockey game.”

NB: “Your team sucks.”

ME: “You don’t even know which is my team.”

NB: “Which is your team?”

ME: “The Penguins.”

NB: “Ha! Penguins suck!”

ME: “Don’t be that way. What are you, a Rangers fan?”

NB: “I really don’t care who wins this dumb game . . . as long as it’s not the Penguins. Ha! They suck!”

ME: “Really? Well, guess what? I think it might be time for a diaper change.”

looking with my baby eyes

Looking at incredible images, such as beige walls, with his baby eyes.

NB: “Okay. I get it. No more sucking Penguins.”

ME: “Good. Let’s be friends.”

NB: “Hey, what’s that?”

ME: “What?”

NB: “Up in the corner, above the light.”

ME: “I don’t see anything. It’s just the wall.”

NB: “No. I’m serious. It’s incredible. I’m just gonna stare at it a while with my baby eyes.”

ME: “I don’t see anything.”

NB: “Shhhh! I’m trying to focus. These things aren’t turned on all the way yet. Now look what you made me do! It’s a pain in the ass to un-cross them.”

ME: “I still don’t see anything.”

NB: “I don’t know what’s wrong with you. Look, the cat sees it too.”

ME: “The cat’s 100 years old. He’s probably seeing his life pass before his eyes.”

NB: “Okay, never mind. Turns out it was just a wall. Your cat’s messed up. I think I’ll cry for a while.”

ME: “Don’t cry. It’s okay. Daddy’s here.”

NB: “Gurgle, gurgle, sploot! Ha! I bet you didn’t know I could spit milk that far.”

ME: “You kids teach me something every day. Feel better now?”

NB: “In a sec. Wait for it . . . Pfffffrrt. Ah! That’s better. Sometimes, ya gotta release the valve at both ends, ya know?”

ME: “Now it really is time for a new diaper.”

one good kick

There will be kicking and screaming involved.

NB: “No, seriously, I’m fine.”

ME: “You’re not gonna wallow in that.”

NB: “Suit yourself, but you do realize there will be kicking and screaming involved.”

ME: “We’ll do this one real quick.”

Ten minutes later . . .

ME: “Quick kicking my hand. These snaps are hard enough to line up as it is.”

NB: “I believe I warned you about this very thing.”

ME: “Got it! We’re done! Now why don’t you settle down to sleep?”

NB: “Sleep? I did that all day. I’m hungry.”

ME: “You can’t be hungry again. It hasn’t been that long.”

NB: “Dude! Did you not just witness me making more room?”

ME: “Let’s let Mommy sleep a while longer.”

NB: “Hey, I think I see a nipple on your cheek.”

ME: “Suck all you want, you’re not gonna find any milk.”

NB: “I just need to peck at it. I know I saw a nipple.”

ME: “Your baby eyes aren’t turned all the way on yet. It was an illusion.”

NB: “See? I’m so hungry I’m delusional. Maybe I’ll just scream my head off non-stop until the end of time. Like so. WHAAAA . . .”

Thirty seconds later . . .

ME: “I hope Mommy enjoyed her nap.”


In Hell everybody wears a onesie

They sure do make some awfully cute onesies these days. It’s almost a shame that I hate onesies so much. Specifically, I hate the little metal snaps at the bottom of every onesie. I could do diaper changes in my sleep, which is when I am often called upon to do them, if not for those little, metal blood pressure spikes at tail of the onesie.


Cute, in a soul-crushing sort of way.

Usually, I reserve my disdain for objects that are ineffective. I hate onesie snaps exactly because of their maddening effectiveness. Or maybe I’m tugging at them all wrong, because I often struggle to get those little bastards to come apart. We have numerous onesies with tears in the cloth around the snaps caused by my incompetent tugging.

This alone would inspire only a moderate hatred, but the snaps aren’t done taunting me. Having finally unsnapped them and handled the diaper business, I have one hell of a time snapping them together again. My toils are exasperated because we’re blessed with yet another baby who hates diaper changes. As a service to him, and to me, I try to complete the procedure as quickly as possible. They say haste makes waste, but in reality it was the baby who made the waste, and he did it in a very deliberate fashion. Haste makes me fumble with those damned snaps until the baby is whipped into a frenzy of bicycle kicks. Dodging a windmill of feet doesn’t simplify the task.

The other night, my wife’s lovely voice called me out of my sleep. She was nursing New Baby in the rocking chair. “Sorry. I forgot to change him before I started to feed him,” she said. “Can you change him while he’s eating so he can go right to sleep when he’s done?”

You shouldn’t have to apologize for forgetting anything at 3 a.m. But you shouldn’t have to deal with the snaps from hell either.

We have a video monitor in our room that we once used to keep an eye on the other boys at night. We’ve lost interest in what they do in the dark, so we use it only as a soft light source when we get up with New Baby.

In the weak light, with one eye closed, I did battle with baby snaps on my wife’s lap. At the end, I couldn’t get them lined up right, but two one out of three would hold until morning. I went into the bathroom for two seconds to wash my hands.

good enough

That oughta hold ‘im.

On my way back to bed, I was startled by the most egregious report that ever issued from a baby’s bottom. (I would spell the sound phonetically, but there aren’t enough letter sounds in the English language to do it justice.) I jumped as if someone had fired a pistol beside my head.

Oh God! This one was bound to be nasty!

On the bright side, it was another chance to get all three snaps lined up.

What’s another syndrome among family?

New Baby is settling in at home. We’ve begun calling him New Baby because after two years we still are in the habit of referring to Buster as the baby. Until we come to terms with Buster’s boyhood, he is Old Baby and his little brother is New Baby.

It still seems surreal that Buster could have a little brother.

My wife worries that Buster will develop Middle Child Syndrome. For that reason, she always wanted to have four children. Now that she has to deal with the reality of three boys, she has switched gears. She’s leaning less toward birthing another child and more toward viewing a little psychotherapy for her middle child as a solid investment.

I’m not worried about the man in the middle. Buster already has Buster Syndrome. Maybe that other syndrome is just the antidote he needs. He could use a little soul-searching to slow him down and temper some of those ragged edges.

Buster's glasses

The ravages of Buster Syndrome.

So far, Buster has adapted admirably to his new position. He shows only tenderness to New Baby, channeling all of his aggressive tendencies toward his big brother. Needless to say, his big brother is fine with this. It leads to no fighting, whining, or tattle telling at all.

Whether Buster’s treatment of New Baby stems from pure kindness or the fact that he sees the writing on the wall is uncertain. New Baby is a beefcake. Buster is a little squirt. Unless he conjures up a growth spurt, Buster will be a big brother in name only within a few years. He is wise to plan for that day.

Until then, New Baby has sharp claws for self-defense. I don’t know what part of evolution demands that babies be born with long fingernails. He can’t hold his head up or make his limbs bend to his will, yet New Baby has razor talons. This somehow makes sense to Nature. In theory, his claws could be used to protect himself, if a predator caught his spastic hand and scraped his fingernails against itself. Otherwise, they only protect him from having a smooth face. Nature likes self-inflicted scratches I guess.

Not a bumbo fan

“Feel the wrath of my pinky claw!”

New Baby doesn’t have to wield his bird of prey claws against Buster, even if he could control them. Buster is committed to being a good big brother. As to being the middle child, I think Buster will have no problem carving out a comfortable space for himself. He will defend his things from the grabby hands of his little brother with vigor equal to that he used snatching them from the hands of this big brother. His zeal will be an example to all.

I don’t worry about any of the boys adjusting to their new roles. The one I worry about is the cat. He flirted with neurosis dodging only two boys. Now he faces a trio of hazards even as his reflexes decline. If anyone qualifies to blame their troubles on a situational syndrome it’s him.

in the cat's bed

There is no place in this house for you to find solitude, Mr. Cat. It’s kind of like being a parent.

Nobody knows where little brothers come from

This is a guest post. Our special guest poster is Buster: Age 2.

From the beginning, it’s always been me and my big brother – and Mommy and Daddy, of course, but that goes without saying.

I don’t know where I came from, but I know where I’m going. I’m going to wherever my brother is playing, and whatever he’s building I’m knocking down – Buster style. That’s his idea of fun, which is why I don’t understand how it makes him pout so much. For my part, I do what I’m supposed to do.

One day, I noticed that Mommy was getting a little extra round in the middle. At first, I thought she was just hitting McDonald’s extra hard. But she kept getting bigger. It looked like she swallowed a soccer ball, and I’ve never seen them serve soccer balls at McDonald’s. Eventually, it got to look like she had a basketball in her belly. That was okay with me; I like balls. They’re fun to throw at people. But who am I kidding? Anything you lift in your hand is fun to throw at people.

One day, Mommy pointed to her basketball and told me it was a baby. I was a little disappointed about losing the ball, but I like babies too. They’re small and cute, just like little, mini toddlers. It’s a shame they have to grow up. Also, baby is an easy word for me to pronounce.

After Mommy swallowed a basketball

Apparently, they start out as basketballs. Odd but true.

Anyhow, I worried for a minute that Mommy had eaten a baby, cause that doesn’t seem right. Upon mature reflection, I considered this physically improbable. For one thing, the baby stayed in her belly. Everything I eat ends up in my diaper.

Everybody liked the baby in Mommy’s belly. Sometimes Daddy would look at it and wink at Mommy, all smug and proud of himself. Really, Dude? Like you had something to do with it?

The one thing that confused me was how a baby got in there and how it was going to get out. I guess that’s two things, but somebody should probably send me to school if they want accurate math from me. That baby was only getting bigger and I didn’t want it to pop Mommy. She’s my favorite parent. I know, we’re not supposed to have favorites, but it is what it is.

There’s a lady who looks a lot like Mommy that we often talk to on Mommy’s iPad. I kind of know her name, but I can’t pronounce it yet. One day, she showed up at our house. We were hanging out, having some laughs, when it dawned on me that I hadn’t seen Mommy or Daddy in a while. I was a little worried, but that lady is nice, so I held it together. Later, she took me to get my brother from school. Then we went to this big hotel place.

I’ll be damned if Mommy and Daddy hadn’t checked themselves into their own room!

And BAMM! Mommy’s holding a little baby. And Mommy’s belly isn’t like a basketball anymore. So I’m looking at the baby, and I’m looking at her belly. Look at the baby; look at her belly. My eyes are bouncing back and forth. Baby; belly. Baby; belly. And I’ll be a son of gun if that’s not the baby from inside her belly!

By and by, everybody comes home, and this includes the little baby. I like him. He’s pretty cute – reminds me of somebody I know. Mommy lets me hold him on my lap and kiss him on the cheek. And one time when I was kissing him, it dawned on me. This kid might be my little brother. Ha! What a crazy world!

Baby pictures

Showing the little bro some of my baby pictures.

I hope he is my little brother. Then I’ll have somebody to knock down my toys for me when I’m playing. That will be awesome! Way better than just another basketball. I can’t wait.

But I still can’t figure out where he came from.