Saturday, May 31, 2008

I Live in a Cheap Diner and My Kid Is a Frat Boy

Just found out.

Demon Baby loves gum. He doesn't get to have it often. But it's a treat once in a while.

No more.

Demon Baby apparently sticks his gum under the kitchen table. Like a cheap diner or your 7th-grade school desk.

Oh, there's more.

He now likes to pee outside. In fact, if he's in the yard, chances are he is now marking his territory. Like some beer-addled frat boy.

I live in a diner. My kid is in Phi Kappa Grossness.

More Names

I was putting Demon Baby to bed last night, and on my way up the staircase with him in my arms, he shouted out "Good night, Moe!"

I should know better than to ask, but I asked anyway.

"Who's Moe?"

"My friend."


"See ya, Moe!"

We were halfway up when he said, "My car is named Moe."

"Your car? The one you ride on."

"Yeah. It's my favorite. He's Moe."

"All righty, then. Good night, Moe!"

"And don't forget . . . I'm Kirby Tun-Link." (see post below)

"I would never forget that, Kirby, pal."

I wonder if I am going to get a new name soon.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Demon Baby has a name. A perfectly lovely little name that I was certain was his the moment he first kicked inside me. But he has decided he instead would like to be called Kirby.

We have asked him why.

"Because I am Kirby."

So last night at dinner with my parents (staying with us for a month), we all started addressing him as Kirby, and he beamed all through dinner and was absolutely lovely, other than melting his dessert (an ice pop) into a little dish so he could lick it up like Cosmo, his most beloved dog. So Kirby he is.

We had, in fact, adapted nicely to Kirby. And then he suddenly announced, "No! My name is Tun Link." Because I do have a number of friends from Laos and Hong Kong, he pronounced this with a faint Hong Kong accent. So perhaps this is his Hong Kong name.

Either way . . . Kirby and Tun Link are now the only way he answers.

If he's this eccentric at three, what do I have to look forward to?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thanking God

My mantra with Demon Baby is "Remember what's important."

Crayon on the walls. It's just a wall. He's little once. Remember what's important.

Deciding he's Greek and throwing plates to the bottom of the steps while screaming "Oopah!" (for the record, the kid is not Greek, he's Mexican-American). Remember what's important.

Five minutes after the housekeeper leaves on Tuesdays (while saying Amen she hasn't quit yet), ripping a newspaper into confetti and showering it all over the living room. Remember what's important.

Yesterday. Spits. Spits on his older sister's appointment book. For no reason but to be fresh. He gets put into time-out. (I drag his fresh little butt upstairs and he gets put in his crib, shades drawn in the room, door shut, and has to stay there and "think about" his naughtiness.)

He climbs out and opens the door. I put him back.

I come downstairs. I am sitting here. Working. He is crying. I can hear him getting MAD. He is screaming.

Then, me, my oldest son, and my mom look out the window of my office, and we see . . . OBJECTS . . . FALLING . . . FROM SECOND-STORY WINDOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I race upstairs, because at that moment, I literally didn't know if HE had decided to fling himself out the second-story window. I never leave the windows open precisely for that reason. But I had CRACKED the windows in the nice weather. Luckily, we have window locks, so even if I open the windows, I set them for a four-inch height only. He had then used his fingertips to open the screen, and was sliding everything and anything that could fit through a four-inch height out the windows. Stuffed animals. Boxes of art supplies. Games.

But not himself.

Remember what's important.

I literally thought I was going up to find my baby had thrown himself out a window, that I had somehow forgotten the window locks. I live in a state of hyper-vigilence with him anyway, but a tired mom can make a mistake, and I know that. But no. Window locks on. I had a mess to clean up in the yard. But he was there. Upstairs. Delighting in throwing things down "so the dogs could play with them" (our dogs are outside on nice days--we have a fenced yard).

I hugged him. Then all the windows got totally shut. Then he got another time-out.

But he was safe.

Remember what's important.

And for the record, yes, I think I had a minor heart attack yesterday.

And I have a sneaking suspicion with Demon Baby it won't be my last.

Remember what's important.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

You Know It's Bad When Even GRANDMA . . .

. . . thinks your kid is a Demon Baby.

Sometimes I wonder if I am crazy. Maybe Demon Baby isn't so Demonish after all. Maybe I am just so stressed that I am not appreciating the fact that yesterday he cut a hole (with his fingers) in the back porch screen and threw all my glass candleholders out onto the concrete patio so they would smash while I was on the phone with my agent.

Maybe it's all about perspective. But . . . .

Yesterday, my iPod was on, and Rage Against the Machine came on. And he started doing it. That crazy, head-banging, karate-chopping punk dance of his. And my mom, who is visiting, watched him in amazement.

"It's not me, is it, Mom? He really IS a little . . . wild, right?"

"Well, he's not as laid-back as the other three. But he is a charmer."

"Yeah but . . . " And so we watched him punching the air.

"You know," she pondered. "He's going to be 14 and have an eyebrow piercing and a nose ring and blue hair, and a tattoo sleeve on each arm."

I nodded. "I know."

To which Oldest Daughter got incensed. "Oh, so you'll let HIM get a tattoo at 14, but you won't let ME?"

To which I just sighed.

And then I looked at him . . . and said to my mom, "He just is this way. And I'll still love him with tattoos and blue hair. Just so long as he stays sweet inside."

But . . . even GRANDMA sees it. I am not insane.

Exhausted, yes. Insane, no.

Friday, May 16, 2008


I give Demon Baby EXTRA points for cleverness today. Sometimes, I am convinced he is a diabolical genius.

He hates that I work. Granted, I am a writer and work from home so we're together 24/7. Still, he feels he competes with my computer. It's not a contest. He wins. I love him . . . and WISH I could concentratre on only him during the day, but the fact remains, the computer sometimes takes up more time than I wish. I have to earn a living. I support a family of six.

So the conversation went like this:

"I would like to watch a movie."

"Okay. I will put one on."

"But I want YOU to watch it with me. It's just too scary to watch alone."

"Scary? You're not allowed to watch anything scary. Did you find one of Older Brother's movies? Or Older Sister's? You can't watch scary movies."

"Well, this is really scary, and I need you to come and watch it and hide under the blankets with me."

"Absolutely not. What about watching Sesame Street?"

"No." (Now tugging my hand.) "Come with me."

By now I was very curious as to what he had somehow been allowed to watch. I climbed the stairs with him and went into his room. He shut the door--slammed it really. Then he locked the door.

"I am locking you in here so you can't leave."


"Sit down with the blankley." I pulled the comforter to the floor as he went to get the scary video.

"It's REALLY scary. So make sure you stay here."

"What's the scary video called?"

"Blues Clues ABCs."

After I stopped laughing, after I realized this was all an elaborate ruse to cuddle in a blanket with me, we did snuggle for the scary video.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


One of the things about adults is they can be pretty good at hiding their true motives, their thoughts. Some people are an open book. In general, what you see is what you get with me. Others are devious, or they aren't in touch with their feelings, or they just don't ever show their true selves.

Demon Baby, as I've shared, has an unmistakable propensity for fighting. He sees the world as his battleground. I have tried to teach him a meditation, I have tried to get him to take deep breaths and say "om." I really have. I pull him on my lap, and I can feel his heart POUNDING out of his chest, he gets so worked up with these battles he must fight. His weapons can be anything from a fork, to his finger ("my gun!") to projectiles made from household objects.
What disturbed me most was that I could "see" him think. If he didn't get a reaction from Object A hurled . . . he looked for a heavier one. One that could hurt someone. And though he got time-outs and my own occasional utter melt-down of yelling, nothing deterred him.

But I tried to be consistent. I'm not perfect as a mother by any means. But I tried to always show him there was another way to be, a more peaceful one. "Deep breaths, Demon Baby. Deep breaths."

So the last few times he's worked himself into a frenzy, I have watched him look for projectiles . . . and then I see something else. A flicker of a conscience crossing his face. I can see him actually pondering if he wants to do mayhem or put it down. With the exception of last night, when he had a total meltdown, he has opted to put down his "weapon."

I think I'm making progress. Baby steps. But on top of that, there is something so beautiful about watching his face and actually seeing it move in a matter of seconds from anger to calm, as if I can SEE him thinking. In a world where people hide behind masks, where adults learn to not let their faces show what they're REALLY thinking . . . I love his openness.

I am hoping to make him a man of peace.
P.S. Picture from our march on Washington.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


They tell you to play Mozart to your baby in the womb. I didn't do that, but I was obsessed with Beethoven's Ninth Symphony while pregnant. I would play it over and over and over and over and . . . over again.

I did all of the things they tell you to do. I didn't take anything more than Tylenol. Didn't smoke (I never have). I tried to avoid stress. I had a teeny quarter-glass of white wine with club soda to celebrate my anniversary, but that was it. I ate sushi . . . my friends from Laos told me they ate sushi when pregnant and it makes babies smart. My friends were all Buddhists and very practical . . . and I loved sushi and it was protein, so I ate it, hoping it would make Demon Baby smart.

I can tell you a couple of things.

He's scary smart. I mean scary smart. Smart in ways my other kids--who are all in gifted programs--wouldn't even have imagined. Maybe it was the sushi.

And he is not peaceful. When excited, he likes to smack his head, he likes to fight and "shoot" imaginary things. He likes head-banging music.

I shared before his favorite music is Rage Against the Machine. How do we go from Beethoven's 9th to Rage Against the Machine? He is three.

His other favorites (to the point of hitting replay again and again and again on my iPod) are the Clash, Ozzy Osborne, and lately, Nirvana.

He emerged this way. I teach him his nightly prayers but he rises full of venom at the world. He climbs in my bed and tells me to squeeze him hard and hold him, but then five minutes later is off for his first battle of the day (often threatening violence to squirrels, a species he hates because they eat the bird seed we put out for the birds he adores!).

I said recently to a friend that God gives you the children meant to teach you a lesson. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with Demon Baby. Oh, I have no doubt as he gets older the school system will hand him a label or two, that he and I and the principal will be well-acquainted. But he really is a charming, funny, wonderful, smart person. He just doesn't see the world the way I do. He sees it in a wild and sometimes violent and head-banging Nirvana/Ozzy way. He came out of the womb this way. The lesson that needs to be learned . . . the reason I started this blog . . . is my OWN.

I walk as a woman of peace. I walk as a woman concerned with social justice, who has spent her life in prayer and volunteerism and hopefully being a kind woman--if a bit eccentric and difficult in my own way. And this child is meant to show me what unconditional love is. He is meant to show me that the most exasperating, wild, angry, crazy, smart, funny little boy on the planet is meant to be mine and to be loved precisely because of who he is, without changing him.

I don't know who he will be. What he will become. I hope to direct his energy toward things he is passionate about. But when I WATCH him listen to Nirvana . . . he bangs his head against the stereo speakers, he plays air guitar, his face a contortion of anger and rage and joy and happiness. He IS the music. And I realize I don't understand him. But that's not my job. My job is to be his Mommy and love him.

He emerged this way. And he is mine. And I just love him. The way he is.