Her Squiggleness and Pavlov’s Puppy

5 07 2008

Looking at baby Squiggles as she sleeps, it is very difficult to get past her innocent little half-smile, and the angelic flutter of her eyelashes as she drifts off to her little dreamland. In these moments, it is almost impossible to see her for what she really is: a teeny tiny tyrant. Yes, my sweet baby is in fact a diaper-clad dictator, albeit a mostly benevolent one. As long as everyone does her bidding, peace and goodwill shall reign in the Blisterdome and She will bestow upon her kingdom much smiling and giggling and cooing and clapping of hands. But if the rabble dares to rise above its position of servitude, or fails to please Her Squiggleness, there is hell to pay. And hell comes in the form of long, angry, red-faced tirades of “GA GA GA GA GA!”, the hair-pull ear-yank eye-gouge assault combo, and poop. Lots and lots of poop designed to defy the confines of even the toughest, most securely fastened diaper. And speaking of diapers, did I mention that Squiggles has just learned how to get her diaper off. Her loyal subjects are quaking in their sensible shoes at the thought of how that could be used against them.

Baby Squiggles has a strategy for getting exactly what she wants. It’s called the “You Can’t Say No to a Cute Little Baby Who Does Cute Little Baby Things” strategy. It’s a variation of the ” You Can’t Say No If I Ask You in a Funny Voice” strategy that Neener and Roo employ, but it also incorporates many elements of my own tried and true ” You Can’t Say No If I Don’t Give You a Choice” strategy. In the game of ‘Throw Toys from the Highchair and Make Someone Get Them’, Squiggles has Neener all figured out. The second a toy hits the floor, Squiggles knows to look sad and let out a few little whimpers to make big sister come running. But Squiggles also knows that the key to sealing the deal – that is, the deal in which Neener will forever be her Chief Toy Picker Upper- is how she reacts after she gets the toys back. Neener is a sucker for an adoring crowd. All Squiggles has to do is turn on her sycophantic charm and appeal to her big sister’s love of the limelight: She laughs, claps and squeals in delight at the sight of Neener rushing to her aid. Neener puts on the toy picking-up performance of her life. Squiggles applauds and coos, momentarily paying more attention to Neener than to the freshly retrieved toy. Neener, basking in heroic glory, takes a bow. Squiggles waggles her fingers menacingly and grins as she sends another toy to the floor.

Squiggles even has me under her fat little slobber covered thumb. Yes, me, the too-smart-to-fall-for-that-eyelash-batting-bullshit mother that I am. I bear the brunt of Squiggle’s demands. It really began in utero, when she forced me to throw up every day in the first trimester and gain fifty pounds in the last, and would only permit me to sleep on my left side if I wanted to sleep at all. But now, here on the outside, I am still this baby’s bitch. And never is that more apparent than when Squiggles wakes in the middle of the night and decides she wants me. Or, to be more precise, wants my boobs. Squiggles does not cry. Nor does she whine, whimper, or even babble at me anymore when she wants to wake me. Instead, she pulls the cord of her musical crib toy. A little plush puppy that barks, giggles and plays songs. That is how the tiny tyrant beckons me. And without fail, I respond because if I’m not giving her what she wants by the puppy’s third serenade…well, let’s just say my safety can no longer be guaranteed. So, when the puppy sounds, I jump to do Her Squiggleness’s bidding. And I just consider myself lucky that the sound of a barking dog does not automatically start me lactating.

I’m not proud to admit that my life, and therefore the life of the whole Blister family, is being run by a bald headed, big-eared seven month old and her musical puppy crib toy. But I am pretty proud that the bald headed big-eared seven month old has trained her mother to respond reflexively to the sound of the musical puppy crib toy. Having Pavlov’s classical conditioning figured out before one’s first birthday is pretty impressive. The phrase evil genius comes to mind. But neither  evil nor genius is apparent when she’s sleeping here in my arms. No matter how many times she manipulates Neener into picking up her toys, or grabs a fistful of unsuspecting Roo’s hair, or surprises her daddy with a giant stealth poop, or uses her little Pavlovian puppy to make Mommy and her milk come running, when Squiggles is nestled next to me, wrapped in the comfort of her baby dreams, she is the picture of innocence. Nevermind that in her bald little seven month old head, she is probably dreaming up a grand scheme for global domination under the glorious tyranny of Her Royal Squiggleness and the musical plush puppy crib toy.

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2 responses

6 07 2008
Nana

I cannot wait to hold her.for 50 plus hours while you all are here, hopefully I can see all the sides of baby squiggles.and yes I will pick up every toy she can throw..but the poop?

6 07 2008
nanny

Squiggles is proof that if it’s in the cat , it’s in the kittens! I remember another baby that pulled various tricks to manipulate the servants. And when she was asleep looked like a cherub.(That is when she slept.) But it doesn’t matter one little smile and you’re a puddle of mush.

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