taking the passive out of passive-aggressive

Thursday, February 24, 2005

My first child was an extraordinarily calm and placid baby. She spent most of her time observing us, as though we were some kind of fascinating science project or an amusing movie. We never had to childproof the house for her, because she was more verbal than she was active, and seemed content, mostly, to sit in her high chair or saucer and look around.

I used to shake my head at my friends with these babies who seemed to be into everything. "Just tell her no!" I'd say sagely, or "Now why should you have to buy cabinet locks? WE don't need cabinet locks." I thought all children were equally active, and that other parents must be missing some key part of parenting information or technique that somehow my husband and I had effortlessly mastered.

Paybacks are a bitch, aren't they?

When I was pregnant with my second, the Queen Bee, I knew something was up. She jumped around in there like a boxer getting ready for a title fight. When I'd settle down to bed, she'd get moving, and I'd lie there watching her little fists poke against my belly while she kicked me in the sternum.

She was born in a rush, as though she couldn't wait to get out. Her hospital picture shows her face scrunched up and little fists in a ball, as if she's saying "I don't WANNA be a baby." Her early infancy was a study in frustration--she wanted to get moving and didn't know how, and it just made her angrier and angrier.

And now she's happy because she can walk. Oh boy, does she walk.

She walks from the dining room to the kitchen, looking for pennies or catfood to eat. She walks to the stairs and climbs up halfway, turning around in the middle just to give me a heart attack. She walks towards the coffeetable and sways against it. She walks towards her father but tries to run, and falls on her belly. She walks towards the cat and tries to eat his tail.

Her walk is more of an unbalanced waddle, really, like someone on a three-day drunk. She's got big, strong legs and you can hear her coming... thump thump thump thump. She likes to open doors, particularly if there's something dangerous behind them. She thinks to toilet is most fascinating. And given the choice between a $50 baby toy and something completely inappropriate, like a lighter or a sharp knife, she'll go for danger every time.

And when she's thwarted--"no, no, Bee, not for babies"--she sets up a wail as though you've taken away everything important in the world.

This, then, is what other people were talking about. This is what it's like to have an "active" baby. I was so, so wrong! How could I have ever thought that my first was typical!

And who knows what else this one has in store for us? We thought we were veteran parents, wise to the ways of the children. But no. We knew nothing.


At 11:51 AM, Blogger chang said...

yeah, this is why i got the home vasectomy kit.

i got one kid. love her to the ends of the earth.

what if the second one is an asshole?

i let other people have my second annd thrid children. that way i can dote on them from afar and spoil them and then hand htme back when they or i pisss each other off.

i'm sure she'll grow up to be an economist or something. just you wait.

At 2:31 PM, Blogger XLT said...

Anyone care to calculate the odds on my crew?

At 2:42 PM, Blogger Claire said...

I don't make bets on babies anymore. I know better.

I guarantee you though, all three of yours will be way different from each other. Even the twins.

I know you're scared, Todd, but I can't wait! You HAVE to call us for babysitting. And then when you return home, slightly refreshed from time away, you can pour us giant shots of teuila. OK? OK.

At 7:09 PM, Blogger debbie said...

hey claire, i'm sweetney's friend with the 2 boys (we met at mina's partay), and new to the blog thing. just wanted to say hi, and commiserate on the joys of having a 2nd child who is a crazy bitch! okay, maybe *we* just call our 2nd a crazy bitch, but you know what i mean. heh. we're in the same boat with natey aka spazzy mcgee aka the wrecking machine! it's exhausting but, i have to admit, kinda fun. i think it's going to be quite hilarious when he's older and grates on his older brother's last nerve with the shrieking and yanking and slapping and not sharing and getting in the way etc etc -- ALL things that jack decided to start doing when he was freakin' 3! and continues to do now that he's 4! so yeah, kinda looking forward to that little bit of payback. heh.


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