If you search my blog for “loud” you get a handful of returned entries, 90% of which are about Fresco. Also, they are dated one per month, roughly around the 20th of each month. So this is a bit early but here is your monthly installment where I complain about how loud my baby is.
I know, it is so pointless to complain about a loud baby, or a baby of any “kind”. Can I put it this way, does it sound less whiny: imagine you have a baby who is in some fundamental way the opposite of you. You are inherently happy; he never smiles. You are a sports fan; he likes opera. You have a degree in Linguistics; he doesn’t speak until age 3.
Saint Aardvark and I are quiet, conflict-averse people. We have a shouting baby. It is stressing us out. Since I cannot change the shouting baby, I have been thinking about me, how I can change my approach so that I do not go crazy.
We attribute complex motives to the shouting, which says more about us than him. At nearly 8 months old, his motives are pretty clear cut – food, sleep, clean butt, love, entertainment. At X:00 am we are irrational, accusing him of extreme attention seeking behavior, having no self control, no ability to self-amuse, all of which, from us, are some of the worst qualities, other than a tendency to favour Harley Davidson motorcycles, that you could possibly exhibit.
I am struggling to think of him as a person who has a collection of attributes, rather than as a fully formed personality who is defined by his attributes. He likes, dislikes, not he IS, he WILL BE.
And what do I fear about that handful of characteristics anyway? Isn’t it true that we dislike in others what we dislike most in ourselves? Am I an attention hog? Am I unable to self-amuse? Am I (gasp) needy?
I think a lot these days about how we grow up; what we are born with and what we gather from our experience. The person I am now a product both of genetics and of my experience as an only child of (loving), sensible, strict parents. Where would I be now if I were more assertive, less conflict-averse, more willing to make noise, say, Hey, OVER HERE, once in a while instead of demurring, No, I’m fine, everything is fine. If I had been less obedient (to a point), more overtly rebellious instead of taking my rebellion under cover; stealing, lying, hiding food under the bed. I don’t remember why I did those things, I only vaguely remember doing them. Writing it out and analyzing myself I would guess that it was my way of expressing my anger, my frustration, my darker self, without making any noise or attracting any attention while doing so. Be a good girl. Mind your manners. No I won’t but I’ll make you think I am.
(Why do I write? Am I afraid of the sound / fury of my own voice? Do rage-fueled blog entries count as shouting? I don’t think so.)
Better to shout then. Better to express, be bold, be boisterous, take a stand.
In the summertime, Trombone, Fresco and I were at the park. It was around a long weekend and Trombone found an empty popcorn bucket on the ground. He picked it up and put it on his head, said, this is my popcorn hat. I said, OK. We walked uptown to get some groceries and he wore his popcorn hat the whole way. We were on the receiving end of a lot of smirks, shrugs, outright laughter. A toddler with a slightly soggy popcorn bucket on his head is pretty amusing. But he didn’t look at anybody. He was completely serious about his hat. And I thought, I love that my kid wears a popcorn bucket on his head. He doesn’t know it’s funny. He is just doing it because – well, who knows why. But he is not afraid to do it. He feels compelled to do it and he just does it.
I want to be like that, I thought. I want to be brave like that. I want to wear a metaphorical popcorn bucket on my head.
Then I forgot.
But now I am remembering.
Metaphorical popcorn bucket.
Anyway, it was probably just his teeth. He actually gnawed on my wrist knuckle (is that what they’re called? the knob on the wrist?) today and it hurt like a bad ass full of cannon fodder. Only time will tell if I have the only baby in the world who has NO TEETH at all but the lungs of Braveheart.