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.


conley730 said...

This post just makes my heart melt. I should take a page out of your book while on the continuing journey of learning to parent.

spyscribbler said...

Easy leap, LOL, from one tortured composer to another. Beethoven makes me want to bang my head, too.

It's a gift to us, you know, this blog you write about him.

Erica Orloff said...

This was my most honest post--I almost deleted it because it felt TOO honest. He is a puzzle and a love . . . wrapped into one.


Erica Orloff said...

Hi Spy:
LOL! Funny one about Betthoven. :-)


P.S. And thanks.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

I hope to direct his energy toward things he is passionate about.

I have one of these kiddos. Moody. Argumentative. Head banging. Noisy. Exhuberant. Friendly to a fault. Emotional--the kid can literally squirt tears.

I don't understand him; not a whit. I pray every day to parent him the way he needs, but so far God and I aren't making much ground. He tests my patience, my confidence, and my sanity. Few people can make me more angry.

But he and I also laugh over things that no one else understands. When he leans his skinny body against mine (at nine he's nearly my height) and blinks those big grey eyes at me, I fall in love all over again.

His dad and I always say: "We just hope to direct his energy toward GOOD instead of evil."

I like Rage Against the Machine and Bethoven, too.

Suzanne Perazzini said...

I'm back from my holiday in Egypt and Italy and keen to catch up on what Demon Baby is up to. He will be interesting to follow as he grows up. We have the pleasure of hearing about it all and seeing him through your eyes while you have the hard real contact to contend with. I know easy children exist and have often wished for one but life wouldn't be nearly as interesting. Parenting and loving a strong, unique child is a challenge but what a pleasure as you see them reach adulthood as well-balanced, responsible, caring human beings. It won't happen overnight but it will happen - isn't that a Pantene advert?

Erica Orloff said...

Oh, Sex Scenes . . .

I draw hope from your post. He is the most difficult challenge I face. Most days, I look to SURVIVE him. Which really isn't how parenting my other three was. I hear him up in the morning . . . and I know . . . it's just bracing myself for the day. If I was the type, I'd put a shot of whiskey in my coffee. LOL!

I also feel like . . . I need to channel him toward good or watch out. I actually like when occasionally he cries after being sent to time-out or whatever . . . because it's a sign some conscience is forming, as most days, he sometimes is mean on purpose.

And yet . . . I do see this amazing person in there with energy and passion. It's just wading through the day-to-day exhaustion.

Erica Orloff said...

Yes . . . the stories are fun and do embody him. But the day to day can be a trial, and I do it mostly (about 80% or more) alone.


The Anti-Wife said...

"And I just love him. The way he is."

This is the greatest gift you can give him.

Erica Orloff said...

Hi Anti-wife:
Thanks. And he knows it . . . which grounds him even in his little terrorist acts. :-)

Cynthia Eden said...

What a beautiful post. Edie directed me this way--and I'm sure glad she did!

Erica Orloff said...

Hi Cynthia:
Thank you! He's my baby . . . just the way he is. :-)