Friday, November 28, 2008

The Feast

My favorite thing ALL YEAR is to wear my pjs and watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade with my children. It is something I look forward to for an entire year. Something that means a lot to me, maybe because I grew up in NY and remember watching it with MY parents and grandparents.

Demon Baby was having NONE of it. He screamed and whined through the entire parade until I was ready to make a pitcher of Bloody Marys.

While I cooked (well, my mom did most of it, but I cleaned and set the table), he continued to whine and scream and otherwise wear on everyone's nerves.

Then Demon Baby attended the Thanksgiving feast naked. After persuading him into sweatpants (but no underwear and no shirt), he refused to eat and pretty much disrupted the entire family meal until I was ready to pour HIM a gimlet if he would just settle down and be quiet.

He wanted his pie first.

And then he wanted whipped cream. But sucked off the can and not ON his pie.

He wanted gingerale--mixed with Diet Coke because it makes the ices cubes look sort of amber-orange.

He didn't want to say grace.

I think he's giving my parents (living with me until sometime in January) an ulcer. Seventy-five-year-old men should not be subjected to demons. It's harmful to their health.

And so when it came time for me to say what I was grateful for before dinner, I was hard-pressed to come up with something beyond a mumbled "health and children."

And then . . . this morning, Demon Baby climbed into my bed. Naked, he curled up against me and hugged my arm and told me I was wonderful. He gazed up and me and said, "Touch your arm here."


"Right here," he pointed to my upper arm where he usually rests his head when he's curled up with me.


"Because it is the softest spot in the whole world."

And suddenly I knew why I was grateful beyond measure.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Demon Baby Switch

I am pretty sure Demon Baby's preschool teacher is delusional.

You see, yesterday, I got Demon Baby's preschool "report card." He only goes two half-days a week. On those days, when he wakes up and knows it's a school day, he cries. He screams. He tells me his teacher is ugly and mean and horrible and locks him in a cold, dark basement where she keeps her prisoners. He tells me it is awful, that they feed him horrible food (even though I make his lunch and make his peanut butter sandwich just so--two triangles, crusts cut off). That he has no friends and the other children are all stupid. He fights me when I get him dressed--which admittedly could be because he prefers being naked.

The entire way to school in the car, he cries. BECAUSE he goes to a church preschool, in the parking lot he will spew fun extra things like I HATE JESUS. THIS IS SO UNFAIR!

But his report card?

"Demon Baby is a teacher's DREAM."

WHAT?!?!?! Dream of hell? WHAT?!?!?!?!

"He is friends with EVERYONE."

Excuse me?!?!?!?!

"His favorite activity is lesson time, and he knows all the answers. I always count on him to answer every question."


"He is a joy."

Clearly, the woman has been smoking something. Or maybe . . . there has been a Demon Baby switch and the kid sleeping upstairs really ISN'T my Demon Baby. It's some other little child. I better run upstairs and check for the telltale 666.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Dreaded Middle Name

When I "middle name" my kids, they know they are in trouble. Demon Baby Middle Name Last Name, get in here right NOW!

And each of my children has a middle name for a beloved relative. Oldest is middle-named after my late grandmother, Irene. Oldest Son is middle-named after my dad, Walter. Baby Girl is middle-named after my mother, Maryanne. And Demon Baby's middle name is David after his grandfather on his father's side. That also happens to be the name of his uncle on his father's side.

Now, Demon Baby doesn't really know his grandfather. Grandpa David is Mexican-American and lives FAR away in New Mexico. Demon Baby doesn't know many of his father's relatives because of distance--like many Mexicans, they settled in San Antonio, Houston, and other cities in the South West.

So, in Demon Baby's mind, he is middle-named after his UNCLE David. Not Grandpa David. Because he doesn't know Grandpa David.

So it was last night Demon Baby and I went for an outing to a play-place. We sang the alphabet song. Then we worked on spelling his name. We spelled his first name. Then I said, "Let's spell your middle name."

"I know my middle name."

"Of course you do. So what is it?"


"I beg your pardon?"

"Uncle. My middle name is Uncle, you know. After my Uncle David."

It was a good thing we were almost at our destination because I almost drove off the road laughing so hard.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Demon Baby's Uses for a Happy Meal

I wrestled him into an outfit.
He got a Happy Meal.
This is what he did with said Happy Meal.
Nice hat.
He does view the world . . . um . . . differently.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Naked Strike, The Winter Months

For anyone keeping count, Demon Baby hasn't worn clothes indoors since sometime in July. Not a stitch. Not at bedtime. Not at breakfast. Not when company comes. Leaving the house involves setting at least a half hour for wrestling him into clothes, and he doesn't leave them on when he gets home.

As the Demon Madonna, I tried to take a laissez-faire approach to his nakedness. After all, I reasoned, soon enough it would be winter. It would be cold . . . and clothes would win out as the rational approach. He would see "the light."

As weeks turned to months, as the leaves turned colors, he has shown no sign of relenting in his quest for 24/7 nakedness. I have tried lowering the A/C to 65 to "freeze him out." I have tried opening the windows when it is 32 degrees out.

None of these approaches have worked. His reaction to Operation Freeze is to go find something to wrap himself in, and to walk around naked, but bundled up. One might think he would choose baby blankets or quilts to wrap himself in. But that is the choice for ordinary mortals. This morning, I found him wearing my sweatpants as a cape.

I find myself, often, puzzling what will this little Demon become. His worldview is so unusual. As my mother puts it, based on the movie and book of the same name, he is my "Martian Child." His new favorite activity is to climb in the bathtub. naked, with no water in it, and play with shaving cream. He likes to "wear" a layer of shaving cream, which maybe to him feels like clothes. I don't know.

I do know this . . . Freeze-Out methods have failed. Talks with Management have completely broken down. I am trying to break the Naked Union, but . . . to no avail.

I need to get more creative.

In the meantime, here it is close to Thanksgiving, and my house is colder than an icebox. He's naked. I'M suffering. My lips are blue.

Naked Strike, The Winter Months.

If I was a playwright, instead of a novelist, I would call it The Naked Monologues.