PATERNAL BRIEFING
Newer, Faster, Weirder

Apr. 11 - Molli's getting more active, more agile, and more aggressively curious every day. Weird new behaviors pop up all the time. Our lifestyle is changing by the hour: no sooner do we babyproof the stuff she can reach from a crawl than we have to babyproof the stuff she can reach from a kneel—which we don't even get around to before we have to start worrying about stuff she can reach from a (supported) standing position.

One moment it's the height of cleverness to keep everything we don't want her to get at in hard-to-open storage boxes—next thing you know she's learned how to pull herself up on top of things, and the boxes themselves pose more of a threat than anything in them.

One minute a sternly issued "no" accompanied by a shake of the head is sufficient to scare her off some wayward adventure. Next thing you know it merely eggs her on.

Everything about her is in flux right now—how much she eats and sleeps, when she eats and sleeps, how she likes to sit, where she likes to crawl, which wires she likes to chew... There's no point in trying to adapt to her new behaviors, because by the time we get our bearings she's off to the next one.

Weirdest example: whistling. Whistling, of all goddam things. It's Saturday morning and I'm sitting in the living room reading something or other and I hear Trine whistling a monotonous little tune. . . like maybe she's trying to whistle "Jingle Bells" but has gone completely tone deaf and slightly out of her mind.

"What are you doing?" I ask.

"What?" she hollers back—from the kitchen. I'd thought she was closer by.

"Were you just whistling?" I shout. Molli is sitting in the middle of the floor, and at the sound of my shout she smiles up at me with her weird, boxy robo-smile. I smile back.

"Wasn't me," Trine shouts back. "It's Molli. I meant to tell you. She whistles now."

I stare down at Molli incredulously. She's still grinning at me with that peculiar smile that tends to mean either her diaper suddenly needs changing or the universe has just tickled her funny bone.

"You can't whistle, can you?" I ask.

Molli laughs, plops onto her belly, and begins crawling toward the kitchen.

"She can't whistle," I yell toward the kitchen. "She's a baby, for God's sake. It was you, right?"

But before Trine can answer, it starts again—and this time I can actually see Molli's pursed lips. She's whistling.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking it was probably just a big dry booger making her nose whistle, or that maybe she was just pursing her lips and breathing hard. Absolutely not. This was genuine, bona-fide whistling. For real. Seriously. She did it all morning. At some point in the afternoon she stopped. And that was the end of that.

* * *

The strangest thing of all is how Trine and I have lost our status as the two most interesting things in the world. This seems to be the result of her having developed the capacity for internal, three-dimensional mapping—which is a convoluted, scientifically meaningless way of saying that she now knows, for example that the cats' food bowl is still on the kitchen floor even when she herself is in the living room. Meaning that if the mood strikes her (read: if mommy and daddy have a momentary lapse of attention) she can scoot on over to the kitchen for some tasty cat food. Or she can crawl into the hallway, where the shoe-rack offers half a dozen pairs of shoes for her dining pleasure. And so on. She knows there's excitement out there, and mommy and daddy aren't enough to hold her interest in a single room.

She's begun pulling herself up on things, and Sunday afternoon I watched with amazement and horror (and ever-ready paternal arms) as she actually tried to swing a leg on top of her toy chest. What the plan was from there I have no idea—hoist the other leg up, then fall head-first over the other side?

As exciting and hilarious as all this is, not everyone in the house is thrilled with Molli's new skill set. The cats are indignant. Molli adores the them and spends a good part of every day crawling after them around the apartment, desperate for a chance to poke, yank, or chew them. They've learned to seek refuge in high places, but there aren't really that many spots they're allowed to sit on where Molli can't at least reach a tail. (And our cats are so stupid they don't even seem to realize they have tails.)

* * *

I'm nauseating myself—my inner editor self—with all this talk of babies and cats. So I might as well go whole hog and flash some paternal pride... ladies and gentlemen, I give you:

Indignant Cat

Yes, we know how ugly the cat is.

Impediment to Housework

If it's on the floor, it's hers by eminent domain.

Having thus abused your patience with this flood of fatherly affection, I will now go read some news or watch some television and get myself into a fine moronic rage or misunderstanding over something or other to ensure the Almanac resumes its usual peculiar tone tomorrow—or whenever.

* * *

Oh, wait. I did want to mention that of course Jared Heller is innocent until proven guilty. (See Moron Abroad for details.) I hope no one's interpreted anything I've written as indicating that I've assumed his guilt. All I assumed was that it seemed over-charitable to describe him as a "nice guy," given what's been reported about him. I even called myself naive for having said that much. So Jared-partisans need to take a deep breath and take a closer look at what I've written before they start accusing me of peddling falsehoods. I'm not anti-Jared or pro-Jared.

Unless we're talking about the Jared who lost all that weight eating Subway sandwiches.

Then I'm anti-Jared.

(They're not the same guy, are they?)

* * *

I might as well also mention that it's my intention to begin translating more and more Danish news into English over on Moron Abroad, because it's excellent exercise for my Danish and I've got a very important exam in just six or seven weeks. If I pass, I'm done with Studieskolen. If I fail. . .

I don't even want to think about it.

I'll welcome corrections or input from Danish readers, who I hope will forgive me for any crimes I commit against their language. (As if the Danish language itself weren't a crime against the human ear.)

* * *

Happy Monday!

(And happy birthday to my sister, who is still younger than me.)

2005, The Moron's Almanac™

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