[Ed.Note: Apparently, in the beginning, I tried extra hard to pretend we weren’t actually calling him Chooch 24:7. This post was originally written June 2006.]
Last week, I had Riley on the front porch and I noticed that he was staring at a bird perched above us on a telephone wire. Clearly, this meant that he is obsessed with birds so Henry and I took him to the National Aviary on Saturday. Because that’s how all infants want to spend a hot and humid Saturday afternoon, right?
We get him inside and I extract him from his stroller, in spite of Hoover’s pleas to let him wake up first, and began thrusting him at all the birds. Now, he’s not even two months old yet, and the rational portion of my brain realized that he wasn’t going to give a shit about an enclosure full of birds. But the child-like section of my brain is a large expanse of Legos and spit bubbles and it always wins when pitted against rationality and reason. So there I was, holding him up and saying, “LOOK AT THE GODDAMN FLAMINGOS! WHY DON’T YOU CARE ABOUT THE GODDAMN FLAMINGOS?” When he was nary a week old, I got all fed up and deflated because he wasn’t paying attention to his toys. “Make him wake up!” I would whine to Henry. Now I’m all, “For the love of God, make him go to sleep.” But I still get frustrated when he won’t take delight in the treasure trove of toys I totally splurged on when I could have been buying CDs for me me me.
I realized that Henry wasn’t capturing these riveting aviary memories so I barked at him to start videotaping for Christ’s sake. We now have a few minutes of Riley slobbering and staring blankly at everything but the goddamn birds, and then a few seconds of Riley bursting into tears at which point Hoover hurriedly turned off the camera because God forbid people know that our baby cries.
We sat outside under the protective cover of shade for a bird show, also not cared about by Riley. I looked around at the toddlers, who were squealing and applauding with expressions of pure fascination, and I wished Riley were older. But then we went into the gift shop and one of said toddlers was running amok and throwing merchandise off shelves and it really made me appreciate my little infant Riley, sacked out in his stroller. Please don’t grow up.
Then he arose and screamed bloody murder. He is not the happiest of babies. Henry said he has my temperament. Mine? But I’m a DOLL.
Oh well, at least we didn’t have to pay for him to not care about birds. But really, not even the parrots, Riley?!
Riley, enjoying life in the quiet sanctuary of his crib before being whisked off into a rowdy and humid pen full of bird shit and bellowing children
Two days earlier, I had wanted to dip Riley into a fountain at the cemetery we were at, but that was when I realized that I might have left the stove turned on. When I relayed my foiled plans to Henry that night, he breathed a sigh of relief and began lecturing me on dirty fountain water. It looked so clean and sparkling to me, though!
While we were there, I noticed a refreshing pond-sized rectangle of water down yonder from the aviary and begged Henry to let me dunk Riley in it. Maybe this particular receptacle of water would meet Hoover’s standards.
“Do you even know how filthy that water is? I don’t think so. And what’s with you wanting to ‘dunk’ our son in water?”
I can’t help it, he just looks so dunkable! I want to be dipping him in swimming pools, ponds, puddles, vats of molasses. I just want to be dunking him!
Yesterday, Henry compromised and let me dunk Riley in his little bath tub.
Thank you for dunking me in clean and sanitary water, Mom
At least it was clean and sanitary until he let loose with an explosive shit. I screamed and made Henry clean it. Anytime he protests, I viciously remind him that I’m breastfeeding. The breastfeeding card is just as good to play as the birthing card. I love this game.
That’s me who he’s smiling at, by the way. I was so excited the day he flashed his first smile, because it was 6-6-06. But then I realized it wasn’t so exciting because that was also Henry’s birthday. However, I noticed that while he does in fact gift Henry and I with his occassional smiles (which he usually follows with a scowl or blood-curling scream as he realizes that, “Hey, I’m being happy. There goes my reputation.”), the recipient of the bulk of his beams is none other than Robert Smith. It’s true. He’ll be staring off over my shoulder and I’ll follow his gaze straight to one of my many Robert Smith portraits. Maybe those nine months of rubbing my belly, playing the Cure and chanting “Robert Smith is your daddy” really paid off.
This kid is going to be so confused.