Friday, November 2, 2012

Hit Me, Baby, One More Time

Last month my friends Alex and Gina got a new roommate.  At first they were excited at the thought of some fresh blood around their place but before long their new roomie showed his true colors.  The changes were subtle; he would openly fart with neither warning nor shame and occasionally Gina would find saliva drying on her sofa cushions.  But things only escalated from there. Before long he was waking them up all hours of the night, racking up a shit ton of charges on Alex's VISA card, and one night he took a dump in the middle of Gina's bedspread with no apology or sense of guilt.  They thought about kicking him out, but as the Safe Haven Laws in Oregon are somewhat nebulous, Alex and Gina decided to tough it out for at least a few more years. Or. . .at least until he learned how to walk.  Their son Milo turned four weeks old today.*

*For the record, his name isn't really Milo, I just think that name is rad as shit.  Actually, other than myself every name in my blog has been changed to protect the "not so innocent".  Alex got his name because he reminds me of Alex P. Keaton and Gina's pseudonym is actually her dead mother-in-laws name as she felt it was "about time that old bitch rolled over in her grave a little".  Mad love, Gina.  ((fist bump))

Honestly, I don't really understand all of the hype surrounding babies and small children.  In my experience,  these "precious miracles" are really just smaller, more annoying versions of their parents and as I have a general loathing for most adults, it is only natural that some of that vitriol trickle down to their offspring.  To be fair, it really isn't the fault of the children, I'm just not good with kids.*

*Which is a disturbing statement coming from someone who has TWO of them.

I should probably clarify, before someone thinks I'm about to go all Casey Anthony and calls DHS on my ass:  I like my kids.  I'm good with my kids.  It's just other people's kids that I have a problem with.  They're always staring at you with their cold, dead eyes and peeing on the floor and begging for food and money and losing their clothing. . .they're like tiny little homeless people and as such I treat them in much the same manner as I do the homeless:  avoid eye contact, walk by with a combination of anxiety and guilt, and occasionally give them food to make them stop smelling my hair.  Knowing my general aversion to short people, my friend Kelly was shocked as hell pleasantly bemused when I asked her to join me in watching Milo for the afternoon so Gina could get out of the house before she completely lost her shit.

"I don't get it."  Kelly pondered as we drove to Alex and Gina's posh townhouse in the Pearl District.  "How can you say you aren't good with kids?  You're great with mine, and kids love you!  I've seen you at the park and at the boys' school; the kids are all over you like a fat kid on cake."

"I know!"  I cried, slapping the steering wheel for emphasis.   "That's the problem!  They're like white cats that are inexplicably drawn to the one person wearing black wool pants.  I can't keep them off of me."

Kelly chuckled wryly. "And the Mother of the Year Award goes to. . ."

"Screw you."  I muttered drolly.  "And don't get me started on the mothers.  If you tell another mom that you aren't a "kid person" they either think they can get all intervention-y and "convert" you with their unique snowflake of a child or that you are some soulless monster who doesn't appreciate the precious miracle of life.  Maybe your kid is just an asshole, did that ever occur to you people?"

Kelly laughed and fiddled with the radio.  "So, now that we've established your seething, white-hot hatred for children, remind me again why we're on our way to hang out with Gina's precious little miraculous asshole?"

"Oh, I don't mind babies."  I said, waving my hand dismissively.  "I actually kind of dig babies and teenagers.  They're selfish and narcissistic and totally lacking in social skills; I can relate to that.  It's the ages in between that make me all stabby."

Kelly gave a judicious nod.  "See, I'm the exact opposite.  I'm cool with kids until they turn into asshole teenagers but I don't get babies.  I never know what to do with them and how to talk to their parents.  I feel like they're always waiting for you to make this grand statement about their infant in honor of their glorious birth.  Am I supposed to say the baby is cute if it looks like Stephen Hawking?"

"All babies look like Stephen Hawking."  I shrugged.   "I think it's because of the lack of muscle tone and the incessant drooling."

"And what if I say 'Oh!  She looks just like you!'"  Kelly raged on, gesturing wildly  "and that mom has body dysmorphic disorder.  Is that going to send her into a tailspin of binge eating and self-mutilation?  And you can't comment on how big the baby is because then you've just implied that they have a fat baby. . .there's just waaaaaaay too many variables when you're dealing with someone who's hormones are more jacked-up than a post-op tranny."

I laughed loudly, trying in vain to keep from spitting my latte on the windshield in the process.  Fail.

"And I have no idea how to talk to babies." Kelly continued  "When Justin and Sophie were babies I just talked to them like they were adults; I have no clue how to do the whole "baby talk" thing."

Which explains why your children are far more articulate than most 40 year old people I know." I replied.  "Trust me, that's a good thing."

Kelly paused for a moment in thought.  "Yeah, but it's one thing to talk like that to MY babies; other people's require some level of verbal filter, don't you think?"

I shrugged indifferently. "Actually, if you think about it, babies are the one demographic to whom you can say pretty much anything.  What are they going to do?  Rat you out?  Talk back?  Shit, have you ever played peek-a-boo with a baby?  They are genuinely stunned when you reappear three seconds after putting your hand over your face.  Babies are stupid, they won't remember a damned thing you tell them.  Go nuts!"

Kelly stared at me with equal parts shock and awe. "How does it feel to know you're going to Hell?"

"Surprisingly liberating."  I smiled as I navigated my SUV into one of the Lilliputian slivers of pavement masquerading as a parking spot outside of Alex and Gina's townhome.*

*You would think that with the amount of property taxes we pay in P-Town we could at least afford decent and reliable parking.  You would think that. . .and you would be so very, very wrong.

The moment we walked in I knew something was amiss.  Alex and Gina's perfectly immaculate townhome was littered with plush toys, soiled burp cloths, and a general miasma of apathy and desperation.

"Ho.  Ly.  Shit."  I whispered in shock.

"I know!"  Kelly hissed in reply.  "It looks like YOUR place!"

I shot her a withering glare as Gina descended the stairs in a dubiously stained T-shirt, a fussy Milo in her arms.   I was stunned into a relatively unheard of silence.  Gina, who generally is so stylishly well-groomed she looks like an Asian Kate Middleton was clad in an ancient pair of frayed jeans, a faded concert T-shirt, and her usually glossy black river of hair was tangled and matted to her head.

"Oh, Sweetie,"  I cooed, walking over to smooth her knotted mane.  "You look like 'Walk of Shame Barbie'."

She laughed brokenly for a moment before it stuttered into a quiet sob.  Wordlessly, I took Milo from her arms and she slumped to the bottom step.

"He never sleeps."  she cried, gazing up at us in desperation. "He just cries and I think he's hungry but then he just throws up so then I think he wants Alex but he hates him too and oh my God, my baby is such a dick."  With that she buried her head in her hands and sobbed unabashedly.  Kelly slid down to wrap an arm around Gina's shoulder.

"All babies are dicks, Geen.  It's hard-wired into their DNA,  It doesn't mean you aren't a great mom, or that you don't love him or. . .is that a Nickelback T-shirt?"

Gina snuffled and unceremoniously wiped her nose on her sleeve, looking down at her stained T-shirt.  "Yeah,"  she admitted sadly. "It's Alex's; I haven't had time to do any laundry."

"OK, that's it."  Kelly stated with finality, rising to her feet.  "This situation has officially gone from TLC's 'A Baby Story' straight into A&E's 'Intervention'." I knew that look of steely resolution in Kelly's eyes.  She was a woman with a  mission, and God help anyone who got between Kelly and her goal because she would Braveheart right over your sorry ass without breaking a sweat.   "Get up."  she commanded, reaching a hand out to Gina.  "We're going to change your shirt, then I am taking you out for a massage, a mani-pedi, and a trip to H&M.  Because if I ever catch you in a goddamned Nickelback tee again I'm going to go all Stacy and Clinton up in your grill and throw that motherfucker in the trash can."

Gina laughed weakly as she rose, then turned to me with desperation in her weary eyes.  "Are you sure that's OK, Jen?  Do you mind watching Milo by yourself?"

Of course, my shoulder angel was piping reedily, "Of course I don't mind!  You deserve the break, my friend."  But my shoulder devil (the one who generally gets the most air time) was stamping her Prada heels and crying "I need a pedicure too, goddamn it!"  But as I felt my karma had already racked up more negative points than Jessica Simpson on 'Celebrity Jeopardy', I gritted my teeth and consented warmly.

Five minutes later, Gina emerged from her bedroom in a clean white (Nickelback-free) T-shirt, her hair neatly combed.  She gave me a hug, Milo a tearful kiss, then she skipped merrily outside where Kelly was grinning widely from the front seat of my car.

"Get in loser!"  she smirked in her best Regina George voice, "We're going shopping!"

I smiled wanly from the doorway, lifting Milo's chubby fist in a 'peace out' gesture, then walked back inside and retreated to the couch.

"So."  I said, regarding Milo's sage brown eyes.  "You and I need to have a little chat, my friend."   He gurgled in reply, jamming a fist into his mouth.

"Huh. . .impressive."  I ceded.  "Trust me, there's a lot of women out there who'd like to master that skill. . .and a lot of men out there who'd like to help them master it, but let's try to stay on topic here."  I shifted Milo to my other arm and stared down at him gravely.

"We need to talk about your attitude."  I stated firmly, meeting his steady gaze.  "For the last four weeks your mom and dad have been busting their asses and you have done nothing but cry like a little bitch, puke on the carpet, and destroy your parents' credit rating.  There is a time and a place for that kind of behavior, little man; it's called college.  So, the way I look at it, you've got about eighteen years before your behavior is excusable."

Milo squirmed in my arms, meeting my gaze with a gummy smile.

"Nice try, dude."  I told him squarely.  "But you're only four weeks old so I know that's just gas.  Don't be trying to play on my mushy, girly side because I don't have one.  What I do have is mad love for my friends and zero tolerance for this kind of emotional manipulation."  

I sighed and lifted Milo to my chest, rubbing his little back as he began to fuss.  "I know,"  I reassured him "you were happy and warm and everything was chill and then BAM!  The next thing you know some douchebag in a white coat is grabbing your melon and yanking you into a world filled with light and noise and reality TV.  You're pissed, I get it.  Trust me, I'm not one to judge anyone based on their anger management issues but you've seriously gotta dial it down a notch because your mom is starting to look like Ke$ha and quite frankly, she just can't rock that look.  So, are we cool?"

I looked down at Milo's face to find him fast asleep in my arms.  I walked with him to the nursery and began to settle him in his crib but couldn't seem to put him down.  In that moment, quietly dozing in my arms, I felt a kinship with Milo. . .an imprinting, if you will.*

*Without all of the 'Twilight' Jacob/Renesmee comparisons, because. . .well, fuck 'Twilight'.

Milo and I had both been through some pretty traumatic shit, and an integral part of me understood his need to lash out like Sid Vicious at the Chelsea.  Retiring to  the rocking chair in the corner, I kissed Milo's downy, sweet-smelling head and began to quietly sing.

"My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, and they're like, 'it's better than yours'.  Damn right, it's better than yours; I could teach you, but I'd have to charge..."

Sweet dreams, Little Man.




NATurally Inappropriate said...

Bwaaaaaaaaaaahahaha. I'm so glad there's another mom out there who really doesn't care for kids much. I taught preschool for 5 years before I realized that I really didn't like kids...I could only barely sort of tolerate my own. Haha.

Also, that baby sounds adorable.

Jen said...

NAT - He's pretty freaking cute, not gonna lie. I think I actually love him MORE because he has a bad attitude. I relate to that. :)

Leauxra said...

Oh. My. God. You are the best babysitter EVER.

I also have the thing that makes children and dogs love me unconditionally at first sight. I don't mind the dogs much.

And I LOVE that y'all talk to babies like grown ups. I do that, too, and everyone told me I was doing it wrong. How else will they learn how to be sarcastic?

Jen said...

LEAUXRA - Alex and Gina actually asked me to be Milo's godmother because (and I quote) "You will call him on his shit." True dat, my friends.

Frances Gronlier said...

Great story and a fitting one. I'm finally pregnant! So I welcome the bad with the good. Trying to prep for the war

Mandy said...

People seriously think I'm going to hell because I only had one kid. WTF ever. I made it perfectly clear that I was having but one pregnancy and God could shove as many of those lil fuckers up there as he wanted. I'd birth em like a gotdang guppy fish, but ONNNNNEEE pregnancy.

Not my fault he only chose a singleton. Sometimes it be's like dat *shrug*

Jen said...

FRANCES - SQUEEEE!!!! Congratulations!!! :)

Erica Burns said...

my husband is a teacher and also claims to not stand kids.. He loves our kids, doesn't mind teeangers, but he doesn't know what to do with younger kids, or so he says..

you are not alone!

and I wish one of my friends came over to me in first child new mom stupor to take me out on the town. that would've been nice...

Winopants said...

Walk of Shame Barbie?! Dammit, why do I always hear perfect Halloween costume ideas after the fact?
I'm awkward with kids unless they are between the ages of 3 and 12. Babies are cute for about an hour and then I'm like a Monty Python knight "run away! run away!"

Anonymous said...

"Kids can really be assholes sometimes." This sums up my entire outlook on life and I've had multiple conversations with friends about how our kids were pretty much just being dicks. I am not a kid person, either. I mean, my own, sure sure, they are fine and dandy . . . with that asshole exeption above, of course. But other people's? Oh hellz to the no. I just don't . . . relate?

And yeah, my 7 year old used the phrase "that's inappropriate, mom" to me the other day, so he'll be speaking college level by 10, no doubt.

Laura said...

Oh Jen. We truly are related along the kid lines. I like mine - most of the time - cannot stand other peoples children. Told my daughter so the last time she asked me to be a mom for a field trip. "No". "Why" "Because other peoples kids annoy the ever loving shit outta me."

I am the mom who once told a child at the Ape Caves in Washington... - field trip 6th grade, first kid rookie mom mistake -

Son you jump off that rock and break your shit you are on your own. I will leave you here broken and bleeding and your yuppie helicopter parents can drive their SUV up here and get you. I won't bat an eye as you cry like a little bitch. Uh he stayed on the path after that. And I somehow became mother of the freakn' year in the tweens eyes.

The one thing you and I will never agree on. Your white hot hatred of all things Nickelback. Sweetie they are awesome and I had the BEST time at the recent concert. And I have a NEW concert T that doesn't have baby vomit on it... because my "baby" was with me at the concert 14 y/o what's that smell mom? Uh Pot darling. Glad you didn't know that off the top of your head. LOL. I know you're saying oh why Laura why. LOL

Happy weekend. Say hi to Dylan. Just saw the local firemen at the grocery store... OMG... the clerk and I agreed they were nice scenery. mmmhmmmm

Anonymous said...

Nickelback sucks!

And, oh yeah, kids are total dicks.

QOE said...

I'm glad I'm not the only person who sings questionable lullabies to their children. Both boys get "Bohemian Rhapsody" sung to them regularly at bedtime. When Thing 1 got his first tricycle he would regularly yell "Get on your bikes and ride!" My mom thought he was just being cute so I didn't have the heart to tell her that it's actually from the "Fat Bottomed Girls".

Jen said...

MANDY - What? You didn't want to go through the wonder and glory of labor more than ONCE!?!? The hell, you say! :)

ERICA - I wish I'd known Kelly and Gina 10 years ago when my shorties were born too. It's lonely out there on your own.

WINO - Laughing my ass off at the Monty Python reference. We are a huge Python family; my son's favorite catchphrase is "Wink, wink! Nudge, nudge! Say no more!"

LAURA - You will never convert me to the darl side of Chad Kroger. . .never. Especially now that he's marrying that whiny little French-Canadian twat.

ANONYMOUS - Right on, crouton. ((fist bump))

QOE - My kids love Queen, Flo Rida, Nicki Minaj, and Chris Brown. I be raising them right, yo.

Janene said...

Um, I hate to say it, Jen, but Avril is not a French-Canadian twat. Unfortunately, the English-Canadians have to claim her as she's not from Quebec (she's born and raised in the very Anglo area of Ontario (I've been there - trust me, you won't be finding French-Canadians there)). Seriously.

Mistyslaws said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Von said...

You are spot on with your comparison of kids and cats, they both gravitate to the one person who doesn't like them and latch on. I think with kids, it's because we talk to them as though they are adults; it must be really annoying to always hear goo goo ga ga goopy dumb baby talk. I like babies and I like kids up until about age 4. After that, go away, come back when you're grown up.

heather hopkins said...

This post is hysterical. I sent it to a friend because we spend much of our time in public watching people carry around dead babies (the worthless, slumped over ones that look dead, of course) and talking about how all kids are assholes. Funny stuff.

Vesta Vayne said...

Awwww! Look at you, ending on a mushy note!

Also, babies scare me a little.

Jen said...

JANENE - Meh, either way...she's still a twat.

VON - I stop liking kids around age 2 and want nothing to do with them until they are sullen teenagers.

HEATHER - Oh God...dead babies...that is fucking beautiful. :)

VESTA - babies are creepy! But I like that they're easy to manipulate; it makes them slightly less intimidating.

Brett Minor said...

Me too. I enjoy teenagers, but don't want to ever be in a room with anyone who hasn't made it to at least the 7th grade. I love my kids, but no one else's.

Kelly Fox said...

I laughed my ass off at you singing milkshake to him! You're a good friend to watch him for her, and she certainly needs it, what with a nutty roommate and all. What a weirdo! He really dropped a deuce on their bed? like a dog?