Herr Meow is peacefully snoring away. The poor kid’s had a rough go of things lately and I am mulling it over.
Of course, it’s easy for me to mull it over right now: all this silence –only broken by the happy strains of a country song on Radio Déliro (one of my favorite iTunes radio stations EVAR, and whose direct competition in my heart is usually The 1920s Radio Network [here is the scrubbed-up official link, and here is the more um…. "red state" one.])
— is actually allowing me to mull.
It must be hard to be a toddler –and still, just a little baby inside, whose smiles and cute tricks gladden heart and mind and win strangers over.
Imagine feeling pretty limber and coordinated and suddenly realizing that there is AN ENTIRE WORLD to play with –a big, rambling world, with exciting appliances and gadgets and all manner of fascinating things that sizzle, pop, snap, screw, meow, purr, swish turn and jingle.
Imagine not having a context in which these sizzling, popping, snapping, meowing things operate. Suddenly the possibilities aren’t just out there: they are endless. Anything can be a thudding thingy; anything can be a banging thingy; anything can be a sucking thingy; anything can be licked, sniffed, bent, and inserted into any other number of possible orifices thus sparking a maddening number of iterations and NONE OF WHICH should sound in any way X-rated so stop going there already.
Now imagine having all those wonderful possibilities and all those wonderful possible toys restricted over and over and over and over and over and over again by the help with possibly the most tyrannical and final word you’ve ever encountered (especially since your vocabulary is in the range of 15 words, although you try to pad it up to no avail):
You try to explore; you attempt to throw and kick and taste everything and all you get in response is pairs of angry eyes and that friggin’ word over and over. Do you know what it means? NO, incidentally. But it sure sounds annoying and menacing.
"NO, NO, NO!"
They try to lure you with old thrills and toys that have lost their lustre eons ago. They try to restrain you and you protest, thunderously and furiously. Little legs flail and pump the air. Little angry pouting face goes red. You open your mouth and try to tell people just HOW FRUSTRATED, HOW ANGRY YOU ARE.
But you don’t know yet how to transmit the nuances of sailor-inspired language. Or, really, much language at all. So you scream and point and gesticulate wildly, only to be regarded with anger and/or thinly-veiled pity.
Certainly not the look of abject terror you hoped to inspire.
And then to top it all off, they try to insist that you wrap your mouth around nefarious potages of their choosing –usually when your mouth is already feeling funny from so much other extraneous chewing or simply because these weird hard things are sprouting out of the mouth itself.
So what to do? Reject and shake your head and say "neh-neh-neh-neh-neh" and hope that it sounds anything like what they say to you all day and part of the night.
Time to rest and sleep… if only those weird mouth things would let you! They seem to be most active at night, making your mouth throb. Thank Heavens for that sticky little fluid they rub on your gums, right? If only you wouldn’t have to cry out a lung in order to get the help to finally put two and two together and do it for you. Though you have tried to do it yourself, for some reason they frown upon this. It’s all a plot to decline the recognition that you deserve as a TODDLER and no longer a baby. IRE! AGGRAVATION! ANGER!
But the biggest night aggravator? Those stupid pieces of fabric they insist on placing anywhere NEAR your person. These are such offending items that you try to kick them on sight. Sometimes you accidentally kick yourself because they make you SO ANGRY. The gall of them! Trying to cover YOU up and restrain movement!
Every day a new reason to squeal for joy and laugh without restraint, and every day a new reason to slump on the floor in an angry little frustrated heap of humanity. But thank goodness, every day is a day closer to making yourself understood, too.
And one less day of babyhood for exhausted parents who know that their baby is growing up entirely too fast –and hooray for that– but just not fast enough.
And… hooray for that too!