Before I launch into this week's post I have two quick announcements:
First, a very close and long-time friend of mine is looking for his birth parents and would appreciate any leads or information anyone has. He says:
"I was born on October 30, 1975 at 9:36 am in Caddo Parish in Shreveport Louisiana. I was taken directly to Miami Florida within a few days of my birth. The adoption was finalized on April 12, 1976. I believe my mother lived in Texas but went to Louisiana for my birth. She also has another son born 2 years before I was.
I am just trying to gain any information no matter how small that would help me locate my birth parents or any other relatives i may have."
If you have any information at all, you can help my friend by joining his FaceBook group, "Help Me Find My Parents," or by emailing me directly here, and I will forward your information to my friend. Thank you.
Second, please go and visit my new website at http://www.meredithlopez.com and my personal blog at http://meredithlopezwriting.blogspot.com. The personal blog is meant to be something more than Twitter but not as involved as this HuffPo column. Enjoy!
The older my son, the Juban Princeling, gets, the more he becomes like a real person.
Let go of your pearls and catch your breath - I know babies and toddlers are supposedly "real people." At least, that's what The Man would have us all believe. But parents know better: children don't turn into Real People until they are approximately 18 years old and leave home.
Newborns are pretty much bags of poop, drool, spit-up, and hysterical crying. They can't do anything by themselves, not even sleep or eat or hold on to things, and just forget about having any kind of meaningful interaction with them beyond letting one clutch your pinky finger for a while.
From three months until they crawl babies turn into stereotypes of Jewish mothers. They won't ever tell you what, exactly, they want, but you had better guess what it is anyway because they are, at all times, two seconds away from crying and making you feel guilty and suicidal.
Once babies discover mobility, around nine months or so, the chase is on. You may think your home is babyproofed, only to learn the hard way that a crawling 10-month old has zero qualms about digging under a heating vent to find a Cheerio that rolled under there during the Carter administration - and then eating said Cheerio.
Then they become toddlers, and as I've already mentioned in this space, toddlers aren't people at all: they are a blend of teenagers, cavepeople, and puppies. And teenagers, as we all remember well, aren't people. They are walking hormones with drivers' licenses.
And somewhere in between toddlers and teenagers are children. I haven't gotten there yet with the Princeling, but if his post-toddler, pre-teenage years are anything like mine were he'll be putting a LOT of Kirk Cameron stickers on his unicorn Trapper Keeper.
So yeah, I know that technically speaking, babies and toddlers and children (but not teenagers) are "people," but in reality -- they are not, so much. Mine, for example, has discovered the hair-pullingly-frustrating personality quality I've labeled, "Tricksy Hobbit." His manipulation mostly revolves around finding ways to get out of his room with his pacifier, which we only allow when he's sleeping.
Case in point. A few nights ago the Princeling clearly showed all his usual sleepy signs. He rubbed his eyes, he rested his head on the couch, he whined and cried for no apparent reason, and then he ran to his room and said, "Night-night?" I went through our little bedtime ritual. I gave him his paci and blankie. I turned on the white noise machine. I sat him in my lap and read him a good-night book. I put him down in his crib and turned off the light. He made no noise.
Self-satisfied with a parenting job well-done for the day, I opened a bottle of wine, poured myself a glass, and settled in for a well-deserved night of Dancing With the Stars and Tasti-D-Lite. Ten minutes later I heard the unholy screams of the damned coming from the Princeling's room. This was more than his usual sleep whimpers or cries of distress because he lost his paci. This was the sound of a soul in torment. I was torn: do I go in there and possibly rile him up even more with my presence? What if he needs me? I've already opened the wine -- that means I'm D-O-N-E for the day. What to do?
I peeked in on him and found him hysterical, arms raised, reaching for me. So I picked him up, rubbed his back, and sang soothingly to him of skies of blue and seas of green. We sat down in the rocking chair and he snuggled against my chest. Slowly, his wails of distress became soft hiccups, then deep breaths.
Then he turned to me, smiled, said, "All done!" jumped off my lap, and ran out the door. WITH HIS PACIFIER.
If he had been a teenager and tried to fool me like that (preferably without a pacifier), I would ground the crap out of him. But he's 1 1/2, so all I could do was laugh. Laugh, and recall some words of wisdom bestowed upon me the night before my baby shower, by my Uncle Big Rudy: "Parenthood is one argument you just aren't going to win."
Perhaps. But the fact remains that every morning now our Tricksy Hobbit tries to leave his bedroom with his paci, and every morning we wrangle it away from him. Sure, he has a fit about it. But when the tantrums end the pacifiers remain in his room safely out of reach. The Princeling may be growing and developing and learning how to be cunning, deceptive, tricksy, and manipulative, but we, his parents, are far, far tricksier. For now.