Thursday, December 3, 2009

Demon Baby in Love

Demon Baby is in love.

Our next-door neighbor is a lovely woman, a good four decades+ older than Demon Baby, and a very attractive, warm-hearted lady. And she is the object of Demon Baby's affections.

I'm not sure how it started. How does any young man's heart turn to love? But he started slipping out of the house and running next door, ringing her bell, and then dashing down to the chair near her driveway to wait for her to answer. Then they would, in his words, "have a chat."

For a couple of weeks, that was all he would do. She would sit on her stoop and he would talk to her. At first, he was mostly shy, but then he started opening up.

Sometime around Halloween, he discovered she had leftover chocolate bars (she does not have children). So he finally took the big step and went INSIDE her house.

Now, every day, faithfully, he visits her. He draws with chalk. They "chat." He even watches TV there. I keep waiting for her to firebomb my house . . . I mean, surely she has work to do (she works from home). But she says he is an angel there.

Now, the upshot of all this? Love does strange things to a Demon Baby. Now, all I have to do is say, "Look, if you don't go to bed on time, tomorrow you can't visit next door." Suddenly, it's lights out.

And the other thing? He is so full of pride that he has a friend who appreciates him just the way he is. He comes home beaming each day. What a gift this woman is giving him.

And me. It's just a little window of peace each day.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cold Hands, Warm Heart

I don't know if I have ever mentioned it on this blog, but I have Crohn's disease. I think I've had it since my teens, but I didn't get my diagnosis until I was almost 30 and lay dying in a hospital ER. My journey with the disease has been largely painful and definitely challenging. I was told not to have more children after my first. Well, I'm a mom of four . . . so . . . ups and downs and challenges and prayers. But here I am. Still fighting the fight.

However, lately, I have not been doing so great. It doesn't appear to be Crohn's so much as sort of the side effects (immune system). Each day, I run fevers. Needless to say, this can get exhausting. So I try to get into bed around 7:00 each night in my pjs and my children are all very solicitous. I have been to the hospital twice this week, and I know they are sweetly concerned. Even Demon Baby.

However, being a Demon Baby, he has found a USE for my illness. Hence, this conversation last night at bedtime.

"I'm going to snuggy in with you."

"Great."

"I'm freezing."

"You're only in underwear. It's nearly winter."

"I don't like clothes."

"I know."

"I don't like pajamas."

"I know."

"I like snuggling."

"I know."

He burrowed down next to me, under the covers. And then proceeded to lift my pajama shirt and stick his ice cold feet on my BELLY. I almost jumped out of bed!

"What are you doing?"

"Warming up my feet!"

"They're icicles!"

"Yes, but you are hotness!"

"Hotness?"

"Mama, when I touch you now, you are burning hot. I figure why wear clothes if you can just heat me up."

At that he pressed ice cold hands to my face. "See? You are my hotness."

"I have to admit, your cold hands feel good on my face, but I could do without icicle feet on my belly."

"It's just until you heat them up."

He snuggled closer. "Are you always going to be hot from now on?"

"I don't think so. I think the doctors will fix me."

"Do you really have to go to the hospital tomorrow?"

"I do."

"Will you take me with you?"

"I can't, Buddy."

"Well, when you come home, I will put my coldness on your face and make you feel better."

Oh, I could have done without the hospital this week. But you know, if you're going to have to be sick, a personal popsicle makes things all better.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

This Is Unexpected

Demon Baby has decided he wants to study ballet.

That sound you hear?

The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse.

That other sound?

His father shrieking.

Me? I'm looking into classes.

In the meantime, it occupies him for an hour a day, listening to music and spinning, leaping, and so on.

And for the record, this is like Alvin Ailey modern-dance sort of ballet, I think. The kid seems to have a natural affinity for the athleticism.

I'll try to make a YouTube video.

In the meantime, in a life of many speechless moments with Demon Baby, this one caught me off guard.

I like that in a person.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Zen Mama

I never intended to be a mother of a Demon Baby. My other three children are very creative and wonderful and . . . calm. Oldest Son walked in to the house from high school yesterday and said, "I've thought about it and I think I want to be a Buddhist. I want to find enlightenment." That's Oldest Son, all right. Calm. Peaceful. Brilliant. Zen.

My other three didn't have childhoods like his, and I confess I spend a great deal of prayer time and a great deal of tears over how, precisely, to be a good mother to this amazingly wonderful HIGH-energy child, who makes me feel anything BUT zen.

This blog is full of his funny stories. But what I don't post . . . the fact that he gave up naps by a year or so old, was climbing from his crib at 13 months, and doesn't need to sleep. Some of his oddities, like needing a separate fork for all the items on his plate, and the off-the-charts tears and hysteria that can result if he doesn't have separate forks. It's not "faked" on his part. The anguish is palpable, so I spend time trying to understand the way he sees the world. I suppose that is the best I can do. And now . . . .

He has started escaping the house. And crossing the street. And going to neighbors' homes. Even at night. On nights without a moon. When it is pitch dark. So much for my showering in the evenings when the other kids are asleep. And recently? He sleepwalks.

So now I must purchase door alarms and all sorts of latches, not to keep intruders out, but to keep my child in.

Last night, I tucked him in around 9:30 (EARLY for him, since he does NOT sleep). And he popped into my room at 11:00 to watch the end of the Yankees game with me. We snuggled and he told me I was the best mother in the world. Something I wish were true, but is far from it.

"Well . . . I wish I was more patient. I'm sorry I sometimes yell at you. I guess I don't understand why you do such naughty things." (Oh, like peeing places he shouldn't, and kick-boxing his brother.)

"When you yell at me, I get angry and then it makes me want to do bad things. I have an evil king inside my head, and he sometimes tells me to do naughty things just to make you mad."

"Well, don't listen to your evil king."

"It's hard."

Oh, our conscience can be at work, even at age 4.

The blog? It really is to remember all the funny things, for the times when I want to cry. Discovering your child has left the house while you were asleep or folding laundry? That he is so fearless--even in the dark and the cold, to leave barefoot and go exploring? It strikes terror in me. I don't sleep. I make coffee and stay awake. And now, bless the man who told me where to get these alarms (Radio Shack). I don't like to use my deadbolt. Fear of a fire . . . I want the kids to be able to run out without fumbling for a lock. But now . . . along comes a special child. And so the way I used to do things has to change. The way I used to mother has changed. It is me . . . me who is walking barefoot in the dark, not quite sure of how to do things anymore.

His pediatrician said, "Would you want to medicate him?"

No. And occasionally I hear from a lurker or two to this blog who reprimand me and think all he needs is a really good spanking. I don't want to hear from you. That isn't the answer. And for me, neither is medicating the spark out of him. The pediatrician looked relieved and said, "Good. Because I just think he's a genius. Channel it."

But how can you channel something so remarkable?

It's funny to be a writer and a blogger. After I am gone, my children can read my words. I can only hope someday he will look at this and know how horribly inadequate I felt, how hard I tried, and how fiercely he was loved. He is God's practical joke. I thought I knew how to be a mother. But I have a lot left to learn. What is the zen saying? When the pupil is ready . . . the teacher will appear.

Namaste.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Demon Baby's New Career Ambition

Demon Baby, most of the time, plans to be a rock star. He wants to play guitar, and the kid has astounding rhythm. He doesn't walk from room to room. He bops his head and plays air guitar and moves like a rock star, hearing his own song. He takes "marching to a different drummer" to whole new levels.

Occasionally, he talks of going to outer space. He doesn't plan to go as an astronaut, but through magical powers, so . . . I don't know about that.

However, he has an entirely new career choice.

"So, Demon Baby, what do you want to be when you grow up?" I asked, making conversation.

"You know."

"I do know, but I thought I would check."

"All right then, I don't need to tell you."

"So you're still settled on rock star?"

"NO!"

"Well, then you haven't informed me. Because that was the last thing I knew you wanted to be."

"That's a maybe. Or I might do that too. But I have a totally better, really awesome job I'm going to do."

"Great! Let's hear it."

"I'm going to be the Tooth Fairy."

"All right. Great. Bring braces for your sister so I don't have to pay the orthodontist $5,000."

"Will do."

He hopped down from the chair he was standing on.

"A Tooth Fairy who also plays guitar," he said, as he bopped on out of the room.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tastes Like Chicken

You know how . . . well, gosh, all sorts of other meats are said to "taste like chicken" (famously . . . frogs legs). The following conversation occurred last night around the fire pit in my backyard beneath a beautiful full moon.

*******************

"So maybe a squirrel will jump into the fire."

"I doubt it, Demon Baby."

"We have a lot of squirrels."

"Yes, we do, but I don't think any of them are going to go for self-immolation."

"But if a squirrel DID jump in the fire, I bet you it would taste like chicken."

"That's kind of gross, I don't want to eat squirrel meat."

"Well . . . do you know what chicken is even MADE of?"

"Chicken."

"No, birds."

"No, it's chicken."

"No. It's made of birds. Like tweet-tweet birds."

"No, it's made of gobble-gobble birds."

"Tweet-tweet."

"Gobble-gobble, cluck-cluck, cock-a-doodle-do."

"Still tastes like chicken."

****************************

So you can ponder that next time you serve chicken at your house.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Because I Can't Make This Stuff Up

I may be a novelist, but there is no way I can make this stuff up. The following is a true story. Every word of it.

***************

"Demon Baby . . . where are your pants?"

"I had to take them off."

"I doubt that. Go find your pants."

"No, I really had to take them off."

"Why?"

"They were scorched."

[Aside: as the mother of a Demon Baby, "scorched" is most definitely NOT a word I want to hear.]

"What do you MEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN scorched?"

"The fireplace is on."

"Please tell me you did not put your pants in the fireplace."

"No. I put my butt up to the fireplace."

"Why would you do that?"

In walks older sister, age 11.

"What happened?" I asked.

"He put his butt up to the fireplace glass."

"WHY? Can someone in this house tell me what is going on?"

"It's her fault my pants are scorched," said Demon Baby.

"Her fault?"

"Yeah. She told me our fireplace works on gas."

Older sister crosses her arms and rolls her eyes. "He was trying to fart into the fireplace to make the flames go higher."

*******************

Yeah. I know.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Playing Pretend with Demon Baby


This child's look says it all. He lives life with imagination and mischief.
So last night, Demon Baby and I played "restaurant." He cooked. I was the food taster. He has a lot of plastic food, an apron, a few utensils, and a play stove. He cooked me an assortment of food.
"Taste!" he commanded.
"Delicious."
"Quantify. How many stars?"
"How many stars?"
"For your review?"
"Oh. Five stars. I quantify this as a five-star meal."
"I need a BILLION lady."
"Then you better cook more food."
He went about cooking even more gourmet meals.
He fed me.
"Now how many stars?"
"A hundred thousand." (I mean, if I had to get to a BILLION . . .)
"That's better."
He cooked more. I had to feign rapture over each dish. "Delicious! . . . My compliments to the chef."
"You need to eat faster."
"Why?"
"Before a bomb explodes in my restaurant and sends us all to smithereens." (Only Demon Baby would combine worldwide destruction and playing restaurant.)
"Um . . . that's not a nice thought."
"These are not nice aliens, lady."
So I ate faster. "I'm really getting FULL, chef," I said after about a half-hour.
"I have JUST the solution for situations like these."
"What?"
"Open your mouth."
"But I'm full."
"Just open your mouth."
He approached me with his tiny pretend dust-buster vacuum. He held it up to my mouth. "This device sucks all the food out of you so you can eat again. You won't be full in about one minute. Just hold still."
So he sucked out all the food. "How very Roman of you, Demon Baby."
"It's not Roman. We just need to finish all this food before the aliens destroy our planet. It would be a shame to waste a five-star meal."

Friday, October 2, 2009

Demon Baby's New Pets


A jar full of worms.
There is a trail of dirt through my house that has me questioning whether Demon Baby is a little worm himself.
And for the record, he says his worms live in "soil," not dirt.
Just so you know. They're classy worms.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Romeo

So Demon Baby continues to overwhelm me with all sorts of romantic talk. I was sitting on the couch when he climbed up next to me. He said he wanted to tell me something. He leaned in close, moved my hair and whispered, "How are you my sexy lovely?"

But that's not all.

Yesterday, I was making him his favorite dish of noodles. He walked into the kitchen, hands on hips, and said, "I know the secret now."

"What secret?" I asked, stirring the pot.

"The secret of getting girls."

"Sure you do."

"No, really. It's all in the dancing."

Now, as an aside, Demon Baby has inherited from his father, who is Hispanic, true "Latin rhythm." The kid is pretty amazing on the dance floor.

"Dancing is a good way to get girls."

"But I know the trick."

"What trick?"

"You lie her backwards over your leg and you hold onto her head up in her hair and then lean down and kiss her on the mouth. The girls love it."

"You mean like dipping a woman in a tango?"

"Yeah. Dipping. It's all in the dip, Mom. That's how you get girls."

"Glad you're honing your technique at age four."

With that, he walked off and for the millionth time, I thought, Man, am I in trouble with this kid.

Monday, September 14, 2009

And Yet . . .

After the last post, it might seem as if Demon Baby has been tamed into a sweet little ball of sugary wonderfulness.

But then . . . .

The look says it all.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage


Demon Baby came into my office yesterday, dressed (surprising) and soaking wet (alas, not so surprising).

"Why are you wet?" I asked.

"It's nothing."

My first instinct was to look up, since I have extensive ceiling damage from other "nothing" little incidents with water in the upstairs bathroom.

"Please tell me you didn't flood anything."

"I didn't."

"So why are you wet?"

"I combed my hair with water so I could look extra handsome."

"Well, you were very successful. You look EXTREMELY handsome!"

"Good. Because we're getting married."

"Who?"

"Me and you."

"Okay. I think I would like being married to you."

"You know how to get married?"

"Yeah. I've tried it before."

"First you find a beautiful girl. Then you make out. Then you marry her."

"Make out? Who told you about making out?"

He looked at me quizzically. "You don't know about making out? Everyone knows about making out. I'm four, and I know about making out. It means you kiss someone for a really long time. Then you get married."

"All righty, then."

"I love you SO SUPER MUCH."

"I love you too."

"Can you make me a peanut butter sandwich?"

"Sure."

Within a few minutes, he had forgotten all about the wedding. But having four kids, including one adult and one teenager . . . with an 11-year-old in middle school, I know the days of thinking I'm wonderful are numbered. So for today . . . I am engaged to a wonderful Demon Baby who is very handsome and loves me SO SUPER MUCH.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Grandma

Demon Baby has only one Grandma. Technically, he does have two, but his paternal grandmother so loathes me she cut all four children out of her life nearly 11 years ago. As this blog attests . . . I don't know how you could NOT want a Demon Baby to love, but so it is. He doesn't really know who she is or that she exists, and it is very much her loss since he is so special. Hence, in Demon Baby's world there is ONE Grandma.

So two days ago, he was my helper in the kitchen and the following conversation ensued.

"What are we making?"

"Vietnamese rice paper rolls with peanut sauce."

"WHAT are you DOING with my peanut butter [aside, his favorite food]?!?!?!?!" [second aside, there was a note of hysteria to his voice.]

"Turning it into a sauce."

"That's gross."

"You'll see. Now . . . we're going to take this leftover chicken and cut it into pieces to stuff inside the rolls."

"You know who makes chicken sandwiches?"

"No, but I'm sure you will tell me."

"Pop." [my father]

"Really?"

"Yeah, but I gotta tell you, Pop is not a good cooker. You know what he does? He puts a ton of salt on his chicken sandwiches. And he makes the counter a mess." [true.]

"Hmm. Well, I am sure it's because he can't see the counter well." [my father is blind, and when he comes to stay for a few weeks, I think it's hard because my kitchen countertops are very dark.]

"You know who is a REALLY good cooker?"

"Who?" [I was hoping for ME.]

"His mother!" [i.e., his WIFE, my mother, Demon Baby's lone Grandma.]

"His MOTHER?"

"Yeah. The lady with the white hair. Now, let me tell you, SHE can cook a chicken."

"I know. She used to cook for me when I was your age."

"You were never my age."

"I was."

"And Pop's mother cooked for you?"

I nodded.

"Did she make you noodles with butter?"

"Yes."

"And those little pizzas?"

"Yes."

"Did she give you ice cream?"

"Yeah."

"Pop's mother is the best."

"She is."

"Is she coming to live with us for Christmas again?"

"Yes. For a few weeks. Her and Pop."

"Will she cook?"

"Sure."

"All right. Just tell her to keep Pop out of the kitchen. He's too messy with the salt."

And of course, then the IRONY struck me. Here was a DEMON BABY telling me a 75-year-old grandfather of eleven was too MESSY. Approximately 5 minutes after this conversation took place, Demon Baby accidentally dumped a box of Life cereal on the floor in the family room. But at least he doesn't get salt on the kitchen counters.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Rock Star with a Demon Baby Twist



So Demon Baby wants to be a rock star. He plays on my guitar, and he plays with his brother's Guitar Hero guitar. Last night, he gave me a twenty minute performance. This entails him playing the Guitar Hero guitar, while he does an assortment of "na-na-naaaaaaaaa-na-na" guitar sounds. He moves his fingers expertly on the frets. He falls to his knees and shuts his eyes at intense moments. He does the various rock star tricks (bottom photo).
Yesterday I was exhausted. Ostensibly, I went into my room, to BED, to try to get rid of a raging headache. After twenty minutes of "na-na-naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa-na" at the top of his lungs, and the acrobatics on my bed, I was even more tired (though bemused and in a better mood).
"Please, Demon Baby, just let Mama rest for a bit."
"I just have to do one more thing."
"What?"
"SMASH the guitar on the stage!!"
At which, he leapt up and began pounding it, a la Pete Townsend, into the bed.
I realized he was more riveting to watch than many bands I've seen. He was pure rock fury. He was into it. He was lost in his rock 'n' roll world.
Which is both . . . amazing . . . and a little frightening.
Music lessons are in his future. I need to channel this energy.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Chosen

Yesterday, Demon Baby was exceedingly good and VERY talkative. He wanted to help clean the house and he articulated every single thought that was in his very smart little head.

"Holy what the heck! What is in this living room?" he screamed as he cleaned up toys.

"Holy what the heck, it's the mess you made."

At the end of a long, exhausting day, I said, "You were so great today. Thanks for being such a helper. I'm really proud of you."

"I think all my meanness is gone."

"You're not mean," I said.

"Well . . . you know, my naughtiness. When I fight my brother and spit on the floor and stuff. I think that's all out of my bloodstream."

This I pondered. Where does this kid GET these concepts?

"I'm glad you are not fighting your brother anymore, and I am really glad about the spitting."

"I bet sometimes you want to trade me for a really, really good kid who doesn't spit."

"Nope."

He cocked his head at me. "Come on. What about a kid who doesn't bring worms in the house."

"Nope."

"All right, what about the time I peed in your closet."

"I could have done without that, but nope." I leaned over. "You are perfect. You are made precisely perfect just the way you are. I think it's a good thing your meanness has left your bloodstream, but I wouldn't have traded you for all the well-behaved kids in the world."

He looked pretty pleased with that answer. Then I kneeled down, eye to eye. "I know this is kind of a big concept, but I think before you were born, your soul CHOSE me, and I think I CHOSE you. And I think we're perfect for each other."

He nodded, eyes shiny. "So even if I spit, you won't trade me."

"Even if you spit."

And off he went.

I'll be honest, there are days when I would like five minutes of peace and quiet. But I do think he chose me. And I chose him. And holy what the heck, that's just the way God works.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dr. Demon Baby

My kids know when I am about to lose it. I start sighing. Loudly. I tend to lose it at the end of the day . . . usually on the occasions when I discover a MESS of epic proportions, which I now have to deal with after many hours of writing and assorted stress.

Demon Baby now predicates messes with coming in to me and saying the following:

"Mom . . . nothing broke. But . . . [FILL IN "I spilled an entire half-gallon of orange juice on the floor" or "I let the senile dog into the family room and he peed in there," or "I got creative with my food again" or "You might not want to look at the couch"]."

Then I usually sigh and slap my pen down on my desk.

Then, lately, he usually pats my arm and says, very slowly and patronizingly, "Now Mom, stop freaking out and CALM DOWN [aside, spoken as if I am a jumper on top of the George Washington Bridge] . . . you don't want your blood pressure to go up now, do you?"

And usually . . . that's enough for me to remember that life is too short to care about messes.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Brave Boy

Due to Demon Baby's antics, I have had some major plumbing and construction issues.

And when I got home last night, a field mouse had come in through some exposed wall/piping.

I cannot possibly explain my sheer freaked-out-ness. I didn't sleep last night. I may never sleep again.

But what amazed me was as I was shrieking and freaking out, standing on some furniture, Demon Baby did the first thing that came to his mind.

He ran to get his sword. He changed into his Ninja pants (no shirt) and came into the room, with his sword drawn like a Samurai. He raced from one spot to another, mouse hunting.

As I stood there screaming for him to stand on furniture, he next came to me, climbed up so he was nose to nose with me, wrapped one arm around my neck--tightly--and said, "It's going to be all right. I'm here now. I will protect you. I am the bravest sword fighter in the whole world, and I will slice the mouse into tiny pieces like a chopped carrot." [Aside: YES, I swear he said this.]

Then he gave me a kiss on the face, and proceeded to stand guard over me.

For real.

He is my hero.

By the time I fell alseep, well in the wee hours, I was half convinced Demon Baby really could slice the mouse like a carrot.

I think we're going to be okay.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Nuts and Bolts

Demon Baby does not play with toys.

He has toys. He gets toys for Christmas and his birthday. He has cars like other little boys.

But he doesn't play with them.

What Demon Baby does is take things apart . . . and make new things with the pieces.

He takes all my knitting off my knitting needles because he needs Samurai swords.

He takes the wires from DVD players and computers and makes robots.

I find little nuts, bolts, and screws in the carpet upstairs. He needs them for his robots too. When I find these little screws, I look around and wonder . . . what is going to fall apart one day? Where does he GET these? What do these belong to?

He harvests old computers and keyboards to launch his rocket ships. We can't leave for church or the store until he races to his work station (which happens to be in my bedroom, where he has take over an entire dresser) to "save my work." Then he presses keys and apparently that will keep a meteor from landing on the house while we are gone. Yesterday he asked me to call Santa Claus and request "tools" for Christmas.

We had his yearly check-up last week. That's a blog for another day. The short version is I decribed some of his behaviors . . . like this lack of toys thing. And the doctor talked to him for a long while (during which Demon Baby used big words, and formulated each sentence with "Precisely, . . ." and "Actually, I'm quite serious . . . ") . She studied him and pretty much came to the same conclusion I did. He's not autistic. He doesn't have ADD or ADHD. He's just really, really, really, SCARY smart. And he sees the world a different way.

"That doesn't mean you are any less exhausted, but I cannot imagine what advice I could even offer you," she said to me. "You're pretty much doing everything I would tell you to do with him. You've got him figured out."

But she's wrong. I don't think anyone could really figure him out. Not really. I collect his little nuts and bolts. I don't tell anyone in my family, but I tuck them away someplace and once in a while, I just go and look at them. I marvel that the house hasn't fallen apart yet for all his disassembling. But the nuts and bolts are a reminder to me.

He sees the world as something to take apart and put back together his way. And that's okay. Different isn't such a bad thing. We're all nuts and bolts just trying to find out where we fit.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Baby Girl Has Directed Another Music Video

Wait until AFTER the final words to see Demon Baby silliness.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPYySspQkqk&feature=email

And if you have a youtube account, you can subscribe to her videos!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Prayer

When you have a child who is a Demon Baby, you spend most of every day teetering on the edge of disaster. You grow eyes in the back of your head. Your every nerve is attuned to when the house gets quiet . . . too quiet. You march up and down stairs sending the little guy to time out. Your ears seem to have sonar so you can pick up when he says naughty words. You hear a lot of crashes. A lot of things get broken.

So I try, every day, to find many moments to praise when he tries to be helpful. When he is sweet. Or quiet. Or learns something new. I would far rather notice the GOOD things than only scold the naughty. And at night, we have our whispered prayer time in the dark.

Last night, as I snuggled next to him, I ran my hand across his forehead. I decided to tell him a story. About him.

"You know . . . I used to pray for you. Before you were EVER in my belly, I wanted to have a baby, and I prayed that God would send me you. Exactly you." [Aside . . . all right, so not EXACTLY a wild, always-naked Demon Baby, but yes, exactly him.]

"Really?"

"Yes. You are so loved. And I carried you inside for nine months and couldn't wait to meet you and I have loved you so much for every moment since."

"You should have asked God for TWO of me."

"A twin?"

"Yeah.'" [Aside, both my sisters have sets of twins, and in fact, I had PRAYED for twins, but in the Universe's infinite wisdom, there is only ONE Demon Baby.]

"You know, my little angel, I have to tell you that I really think I could only handle ONE of you."

"But two of me would be so much better."

"No. Just one special little boy."

"But if you had two, there would be two of me to love you twice as much."

And at that, I just said, "No one could be that lucky." And I meant it.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

He's Started Doing This On His Own!


I walked in on him. He was chanting "Om."
This totally changes my perspective.
Maybe my wild child is actually a Buddha in disguise.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I Really CAN'T Make This Stuff Up

I found Demon Baby playing catch in the kitchen with one of our dogs.

The ball of choice?

An overripe Hanover TOMATO.

Yeah.

Do the math.

Top Ten Reasons You Don't Let Demon Baby Near Water


1. He will drown your tomato plants.
2. He will drench your front hallway with the garden hose he brings inside.
3. He will hose you down when you are on your way to a meeting.
4. He will create a LOT of mud.
5. The dogs like mud.
6. He will "wash" your bathroom mirror with a combination of toothpaste and soapy water.
7. He will see which household objects float in the bathtub.
8. Your favorite book does not float.
9. Neither does your hairbrush or your underwear.
10. Your kitchen ceiling will eventually give up from all the water leaking from UPSTAIRS . . . into the DOWNSTAIRS.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Who's Your Daddy?

For a long time, when I asked Demon Baby what I did for a living, he replied, "The Computer."

After a while, I tried to explain that Mommy is a novelist. She writes books. I would open jacket flaps and show him my picture. I don't think he understands.

And he most definitely doesn't understand this week. This week, as my three older children know and understand, is Deadline H*ll.

This means Mommy doesn't cook. She doesn't clean. She doesn't do laundry. And if you know what's good for you, stay away from her.

It also means . . . the man above and I are having a torrid affair on speed dial.

Demon Baby is a very fussy eater. He is also underweight. He eats four things at the moment: macaroni with butter and salt, Mexican rice from a local joint (also on speed dial), bananas, and Papa John's cheese pizza. This is a good thing, since I am on a first-name basis with the delivery driver this week. Yesterday, we had pizza for lunch and macaroni and cheese for dinner (plain macaroni for Demon Baby).

In this day and age, I don't think Demon Baby understands that not very many mommies get to work from home full-time. I don't think he understands what a deadline week really is.

He only knows that, despite the mountain of dishes in the sink, that this is his lucky week. The Papa is coming--multiple times. Pizza boxes are stacked out by the garbage.

We're living like a frat house.

And Demon Baby loves it.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Demon Baby: A Photo Essay on the Essence of My Child













With him, pictures speak louder than all the words on this blog. These photos were literally taken in a row, less than 3 seconds apart from one another on my camera. He is nothing if not expressive.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Demon Baby Is a Trendsetter

This appeared in the NY Times and also on MSNBC.com today:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31939730/ns/health-the_new_york_times/

And here are my thoughts.

Demon Baby, from the moment he turned two, definitely preferred not wearing clothes. In fact, I began to assume he had a sensitivity disorder because even before he could fully articulate his feelings, he would shriek when I dressed him and pull at the elastic and buttons as if they were hot coals burning his flesh. Once he was old enough to talk, he expressed a preference--no elastic (hence he NEVER wears underwear even if he has sweatpants of some sort on), no buttons, all cotton, all fleece.

I always assumed one day he would outgrow this. And then . . . I stopped caring. He is who he is, free spirit and all.

Now that he is four, he understands that outside the house, there are some social parameters. He will not wear shoes in public most of the time--he goes to church barefoot for example. He will not wear underwear. But he will put on a pair of fleece sweats and a T-shirt (no buttons and very loose).

When we have company, if it's someone he knows very well, he will be naked around them. If it's a newer friend . . . he will wear clothes. He understands that the world has some rules about clothing, even if he thinks we should ALL be naked.

When I read the article, I felt sorry for some of these kids. I really did. I understand that the adults are just being honest--they feel girls need more decorum. Whatever. But in actuality, as a mom of four kids, I realize you spend so much of their lives poignantly realizing EVERYTHING about them is fleeting.

My oldest kids can't have their heartbreaks cured by cookies and a Band-aid (or even a box of Band-aids).

You realize your child will only be utterly AMAZED by fireflies for a short time (though I confess I still feel my heart beat faster with joy when summer comes and I see them).

You realize the world has a lot of ugliness. That the people in it are sometimes very good, but oftentimes . . . cruel.

And so my feeling about my Naked Demon Baby is the world and its wolves are right there waiting. They are waiting to tell him to sit in his seat, and to stop singing, and to put on shoes and to walk a certain way and use an inside voice. They are waiting to tell him to stop giggling in class, and that he "can't" do this or that because it's really not realistic to think you can have a career as a dragon-slayer. They just don't HAVE that category on job applications.

It all comes to an end. The innocence and joy. The world is waiting to steal it from him. To crush it out of him.

And so for me . . . this mom . . . my house . . . he can stay this way for as long as he wants.

There's time for all the rest of it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

An Eye for the Ladies

Demon Baby has an eye for the ladies.

But, in typical Demon Baby fashion, it is NOT the eye of the average four-year-old. Hence, this conversation at the pool with his 14-year-old brother.

"Older Brother . . . look . . . check out that girl."

Older Brother looks toward the baby pool and spies a cute little four-year-old-looking girl in a pink bathing suit with Dora the Explorer on the front.

"Her? She very cute."

"NO! Not her. Over there. Look."

Older Brother turns head and spies a 20-something hottie in a navy blue barely-there bikini.

"Her?!" he asked incredulously.

"Now THAT'S what I'm talkin' about, Brother. I have a good eye!" said Demon Baby.

I fear for the world when he is a teenager. I really do.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Wise Old Soul


Sometimes I think Demon Baby is an old soul in a fresh new Demon Baby body. These pictures confirm it to me. His eyes . . . I just don't think he's a kid.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Recipe for a Happy Child

Recipe for a Happy Child

One part acceptance
One part affection
One part belief in him
One part unconditional love DESPITE the worms as housepets, dogs fed Play-do, and the whole fascination with peeing on the lawn


Mix well. Pray. A lot. Bite tongue sometimes. Thank God. A lot. Admire him when sleeping to remind yourself that he can be still . . . sometimes (just not when you ask him to). Surround him with people who love him. Kiss boo-boos. Show him the world can be a better place if we each just try by bringing him to the food bank and dropping off groceries. Count to ten. A LOT. Try that praying thing some more. Appreciate him just the way he is.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Dear Erie

Long-time readers of this blog no doubt remember this:

http://demonbabyandme.blogspot.com/2009/03/dear-erie-insurance.html

(And be sure to read all the way down the comments to the insurer VP ACTUALLY replying.)

Which somehow got all the way to the hallowed upper offices of Erie, my wonderful insurer (have to admire a company with a sense of humor).

Which led to this:

http://www.erieinsurance.com/eriesense/issues/Summer2009/ImWithERIE_Orloff.aspx

Friday, June 26, 2009

Because I Really AM a Writer AND a Mom

The Demon Baby post is at my writing blog today. Because I am Demon Baby's mother, but I'm also a writer.

http://ericaorloff.blogspot.com/2009/06/top-ten-things-i-learned-about-being.html

Sunday, June 21, 2009

He Writes His Own Material

Okay, so I know the kid is eccentric. I know he's witty. But for heaven's sake, the kid is only four! And now he's writing his own material. Hence . . . from the last twenty-four hours:

"I want a purse."

"Okay." We give him one of his sister's old purses. He tries it on for size. "What? Do you want to carry stuff in it?"

"Nope."

"What do you want it for?"

He turns, gives me a sardonic smile, and says, "'Cause now I'm a person." [purse-son]


*********

Company comes Friday night. He is forced to wear sweatpants (commando) and a shirt. Saturday morning, they leave. He stares out the window as their car pulls out of the driveway.

"Thank God they're gone. Time to get naked!"

**********

He has a top hat from a magic kit. He has taken to wearing it.

"Is that your magic hat?"

"Nope."

"Well, pretend magic hat."

"Nope. It's my electric hat."

"Why do you say that?"

He whips it off his head and shows me. In the secret compartment for hiding stuff (hence to do your magic), he has tucked the electric wires for a computer and a plug.

"I'm just electric!"

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Old Mom

I am, give or take, about a decade and a half older than nearly all of Demon Baby's peers' moms. At a birthday party, like today, I sit with a smile plastered on my face, having nothing in common with women who still coo over every move their child makes and wax poetic over cute clothes and princess crap. I can't say that 19 years ago, when I had my first child, I was much different. Sure, I played Barbies with her, but most of the time I wanted to claw my eyes out as I dressed Ken and Barbie. I marveled over my daughter and spent most of my waking breaths with her . . . but I was different, I suppose. I was always this eccentric, outside-the-norm, writer-mom with a slightly hippie bent. I've only gotten worse in my old age, dragging my kids to protest rallies and the food bank, and lecturing them on making the world a better place.

When Demon Baby got a kazoo in his goody bag from said birthday party today, I rolled my eyes. Only a young mom not shuddering from kazoo blasts in her ear would give a Demon Baby such a thing. Young moms make homemade Play-do (I did that with Oldest, but not with any of the other three, and I sure as heck am not insane enough to give Demon Baby clay--Lord knows where it will end up . . . and assuredly it won't be pretty). Young moms have the energy to go to the park AND the pool AND make nutritional little sandwiches cut out to look like Mickey Mouse all in one day. I'm lucky if I can survive one of the above.

I'm an old mom. I color my hair every four weeks or so to hide the massive gray. My ass shows the effects of being a writer and sitting making up novels for a living for hours and hours each day. I drink coffee--and lots of it--to keep up with Demon Baby and I am DELIGHTED to the point of tears on the rare occasions he falls asleep early and I find him passed out on a carpet somewhere as it's about the only evening time I get with some quiet and what passes as peace around here, given I have three other kids. And did I mention how much LAUNDRY they all make?

I don't care if his outfits match. If he's wearing clothes, it can be striped pants and a plaid shirt for all I care--I know he's not going to keep it on long anyway. He goes EVERYWHERE commando. And I just don't care. I pick my battles.

All of which sounds terribly cynical. Heck . . . look at the name of this blog.

But it's not. I find moments of sheer joy so exhilarating I feel like my heart will burst out of my chest. When he is enthralled with a worm, or shrieking his delight over things as varied as a guitar solo by the Clash or a dead spider in the bathroom, he forces me into the moment with him, where the rest of the world falls away. He is like a lesson in Buddhism every single day. When he does this plethora of destruction on my house, my appliances, and even my lone pair of dress shoes, I am so uninterested in a perfect-from-the-outside life that I can marvel at his intelligence, his imagination, and his genius.

But most of all . . . he IS his emotions--whether shrieking in anger or laughing with delight or crying with frustration. He can curl in my lap and tell me I am beautiful. He can kiss me, but then wipe off my kiss when I return the favor. And I am aware--painfully so--that THIS is the stuff of life.

A friend of mine passed away this month. His memorial service is next Saturday. I have had four close friends struggle with breast cancer, two with lymphoma. I have buried people I love. I have watched my friends bury their parents. My own dad is now blind. I have struggled and suffered through one child's difficult adolescence and then watched her evolve into graceful adulthood. I have one in high school, and another in middle school. And Demon Baby. I am aware, in the way an old mom can only too poignantly be, that THIS is the stuff of dreams. These moments.

His childhood may not be marked by baby books, where each new tooth is dutifully recorded (gave that up by midway through toddlerhood of Child #2). I may not have quite as many pictures of him. I will most definitely NOT be baking cupcakes. But my life with him is marked by this outrageous desire to grab him fiercely and hold onto his wonderful Demon Baby stage for as long as it lasts, knowing that life can throw us a curveball at any minute. I;ve lived long enough to know that.

I don't care about the mud in my hair, on my pants, or, frankly, in my best shoes. I don't ask how it got there.

I just appreciate that he is who he is. And tired though I am, this is my chance to live, moment to moment, in the incredible life of an incredible child.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

How to Fix a Demon Baby Boo-Boo

It may come as a shock to long-time readers of this blog that Demon Baby has not broken a bone yet. Nor required stitches. Frankly, I'm shocked as his older siblings--who were much more mellow children--have broken bones (one thumb, one arm), and needed stitches (forehead). This is further proof that he is a Demon Baby Superhero.

However, yesterday, he fell and had a blood mouth and five small cuts on his chin, shoulder, knee, hand, and chest. This is how you fix a Demon Baby boo-boo.

1. Tell Demon Baby you will put ice on his mouth while he shrieks thinking "all" his blood is coming out of him.

2. Open up an ENTIRE box of Band-Aids (reason will soon be apparent . . . keep reading).

3. Clean the VERY SMALL cuts on hand, knee, chest, chin, shoulder.

4. Put on Neosporin.

5. Place one Band-Aid on each cut.

6. "When will I be healed?" says Demon Baby.

7. "In a day."

8. "Do I heave to wear this Band-Aid?"

9."No."

10. Demon Baby removes five Band-Aids. When he see he STILL has a cut there, he cries and asks for new Band-Aids.

11. Open up five new Band-Aids.

12. Repeat steps 6 through 11 until entire box of Band-Aids is gone.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Our New Game

I now must spend the majority of the day pretending I don't SEE Demon Baby.

"I'm invisible."

"Who's talking to me?"

"It's ME. You just can't see me."

So he chatters and shouts and squeals and chatters some more, all the while I am saying, "Gosh, I wish I knew where my child was." I look past him, over him, pretend to see THROUGH him.

He is CONVINCED he is invisible.

"Oh, well," I say, "I can't kiss a baby I can't see. That's too bad since I would really like to kiss my little Demon Baby."

I watch him out of the corner of my eye as he considers this.

"TA-DA! LOOK AT ME! I've been here all the time!!! I'm UNINVISIBLE again. You can see me!"

I kiss him.

He shuts his eyes. "I'm invisible again."

And so the game goes on. Invisible, uninvisible.

I get nothing done.

No writing.

Just this new game of the Incredible Invisible Demon Baby.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Top-Ten Unusual Sightings in Demon Baby's House

So last night, I came across a VERY unusual sight. And I realized . . . this happens a lot when you live with a Demon Baby. So in honor of that . . . a top-ten list (last night's sighting was #2).

1. A snorkel in the bathroom sink.

2. A snorkel in the dishwasher.

3. My diamond ring in the dog's water bowl.

4. Play-do in my shoes.

5. A pillow in the bathtub.

6. My keys in the freezer.

7. My cellphone in a pair of underwear (as a carrying case).

8. A stash of marshmallows in the coffee table drawers in the formal living room.

9. My charm bracelet INSIDE the air-intake vent for the air conditioning unit.

10. A teddy bear INSIDE the CEILING vent in my office (accomplished by stuffing him down the upstairs vent and pushing it all the way with a broom handle).

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Sunny Day in My Office

I'm writing, and a naked Demon Baby is singing the Clash ("Should I stay or should I go now?") while sunning himself.

In my office.

This is my very real life with Demon Baby.

Somedays, it's pretty awesomely hilarious.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What Happens to My Stuff

For the life of me, I have not been able to find any of my wooden spoons in the kitchen. This is a pain when making sauces. I thought . . . Do they WALK out of this house? Am I losing it? Has the stress finally caused me to crack?

As I stepped outside today, I happened to look in the bushes outside my front door.

Mystery solved.

Demon Baby confessed to throwing them out the window.

So the birds can cook.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Demon Baby's Breakdancing Video

Wait to the very end.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcoAZacGWsI&feature=email

Why Mothers of Demon Babies Never Sleep

Yesterday, I took Baby Girl to see my friend's horse. We groomed the horse for two hours in the heat, and had an amazing time. Demon Baby was left in the care and feeding of Oldest Son (age 14).

When I came home, Baby Girl and Oldest Son went to the movies. Demon Baby was happily amused with watching Diego on TV, eating a peanut butter sandwich. I had an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion. I went to the bay window in the living room, stretched out on the couch, intending to read. Big mistake.

I woke up, panicked. I couldn't have napped long, but I KNEW with every fiber in my being . . . that his seeing me asleep set off some Pavlovian urge to totally destroy the house. My first instinct was to smell the air. Nothing was burning.

I went from room to room. Clean.

And then . . . .

The TV room.

He had gone into his sister's closet searching for "weapons" (for the record, we own no guns nor keep any weapons, but . . . this is a kid who is constantly battling dragons, so . . .). He removed EVERY (and I mean every) plastic hanger from the closet and set intricate traps arouund the family room for the mutant dragons who were chasing him.

And to be certain he could finish the job, he concocted a "potion."

An ENTIRE (and I mean entire) box of salt, mixed with lemonade into a paste. Smeared on every surface.

I said nothing. I started collecting the hangers.

"But they're my weapons. They are protecting you!"

I started to say it. I started to say, "Demon Baby, these are just hangers . . . "

And I stopped myself.

For the thousandth time I was aware I could crush his spirit and bend him to my will or give him some space to be him. [As Oldest Daughter says, "Mom, you can let people label him, or you can just find the space to be cool with having an eccentric four-year-old." God, I have a wise adult daughter.]

"You know, these weapons need to be stored in the nuclear facility in the downstairs armament center."

He was okay with that.

As for the potion.

"You know, Demon Baby, I don't think Billy May would like seeing the room this way."

[For those who are not long-time readers . . . . Here is my Billy May post.]

"Really?"

"Yeah. I think Billy would want this cleaned up."

So together we cleaned.

"What about the dragons?"

"Let's blow some soap bubbles around the perimeter of the house. Everyone knows dragons are scared of soap bubbles."

"Of course!"

A relatively happy ending. But I will never nap again.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Actual Conversation Today While Blowing Soap Bubbles

"Demon Baby, can I have a kiss?"

"Nope."

"No? What are you kidding me? Not one kiss?"

"Nope."

"Why?"

"'Cause today I feel like loving you, but I don't feel like kissing you."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Actual Conversation When Demon Baby Saw Me After My Trip

"I missed you a lot!"

"I missed you, too, Demon Baby."

"I missed you more. I missed you thirty bucks cash worth."

"Is that a lot?"

"YEAH! It's thirty bucks cash!!!"

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Five-Second Rule

I wander the earth, since Demon Baby's arrival, in such a state of hypervigilance, constantly trying to prevent--or clean up--mayhem. I am not kidding in that I have recently had to start high blood pressure medication. In the last year, my blood pressure has shot up 20 points.

There is a very rude woman who lives a block away from me. She is someone who never fails to make pronouncements of judgment about other people. I avoid her like the swine flu, but about three months ago, she commented in front of a room full of people that I "clearly" do not supervise my child enough since he gets in so much trouble, with a pronouncement of "What kind of mother are you?" Needless to say, this is why I don't go to cocktail parties.

I work from home as a novelist (and no, I don't make up ANY of the stuff on this blog--he generally has a blog-worthy event nearly every day), which means I am with Demon Baby 24/7. He is never too far from me, but . . . you know . . . mothers have to shower. I use the bathoom on rare occasions. I write in my office. I sometimes have to go outside to check the mail. You get the idea.

If you've ever worked in a restaurant, you know the five-second rule. If it falls on the floor in the kitchen for less than five seconds, you can still plate it up. Now . . . I don't ASCRIBE to the five-second rule, but I have worked as a waitress and bartender. I know it exists. Demon Baby has a five-second rule.

If I am away from him for five seconds, mayhem will result. Books will come cascading off of shelves, the printer in my office will have a pen shoved in it, toilet paper will go floating from the second-story landing. In fact, out of my sight for five seconds, I swear to you, the most often-heard expression is: "Oops!" Followed by: "Don't worry! It didn't break."

I am going away this weekend. It will, I think, be only the third night I have ever been separated from Demon Baby is four years. I know that sounds hopelessly pathetic, as in, "This poor mother NEVER gets a break and clearly doesn't take vacation," but it is what it is. One the rare occasions when I am not around him, it takes my brain and body at least 24 hours to relax. By then, it's time to come home. In this case, I am going to see my dad, who needs a pacemaker and is blind . . . so it's not like I will be dancing and doing the cha-cha on some beach somewhere.

So we shall see what panicked phone calls I get from my adult daughter, who shall be in charge of Demon Baby . . . what mayhem results . . . what I will face when I open the door after the weekend.

That's A LOT of time for him to be without me! (I need to remind Oldest Daughter of the five-second rule.)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Actual Answers from Demon Baby's Mother's Day Project

From his preschool project. He insisted on giving it to me yesterday instead of waiting for Mother's Day. Indeed, it is a gift.


My mom's favorite food is . . . yellow and black potatoes. [Demon Baby's Mother must explain this means ROASTED potatoes, which get crispy. And they're not even my favorite food, but . . . well . . . this is Demon Baby after all.]

My mom's favorite color is . . . blue. [It's actually green, but HIS favorite color is blue.]

My mom's favorite thing to do is . . . play with me. [This is actually pretty true.]

My mom always says . . . "I love you, Jack." [This is also true, and I am so glad he put this instead of, "If you feed the dogs Raisin Bran again, I swear I'm selling you to the Gypsies."]

My mom is best at . . . writing books. [BIG SHOCK . . . I still don't think he really understands what I do for a living.]

My mom is . . 5 . . . feet tall. [I'm 5'10"]

She weighs . . . 10 . . . pounds. [WOW. Flattered, I suppose.]

She is . . . not that . . . old. [I only feel old.]

**********************************************************

Happy Mother's Day.

I firmly believe God sends us children to teach us what is divine nature. Children laugh without artifice, they are amazed and awed by the simplest yet most wondrous things in nature . . . ladybugs and earthworms (even when you have a child who puts them in his pockets and brings them in the house). They appreciate a sunny day . . . and appreciate mud puddles on a rainy one. They can find miracles in clouds. They instinctively touch you or pat you when you are sad, and curl into your arms when your heart is breaking. Most of us, by the time we are "old" have forgotten that the world can be such a pure and true place.

If you are blessed enough to be a "mom," enjoy your day, wrapped in the knowledge that you must be very special if you were chosen to tend to one of the universe's most perfect signs of love.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

AQ2

Demon Baby has a perfectly lovely name. No, it's not "Demon Baby." It's Jack. I'm not sure why I chose that name other than it is simple and sweet and I liked it.

He informed me tonight that his name is "BORING!"

"Well . . . it's a little late to do anything about that."

"No, it's not. I have a new name."

"What's that?"

"From now on, I will only answer to AQ2."

"Excuse me?"

"AQ2."

"What the hell kind of name is that?"

"It's my new name. AQ2. You can be MomQ2."

I feel like I must have actually given birth four years ago to a ROBOT.

AQ2.

I swear to you, this child is an alien.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Top Ten Random Questions Demon Baby Has Asked Me

1. Do you think God farts? Is that thunder?

2. What would happen if I put chocolate syrup in the fish tank? (asked this yesterday, in fact)

3. Can we get another dog? (we have three)

4. Can I get a pet duck?

5. All right then, how about a pet chicken?

6. Can we put soap and water all over the kitchen floor and make our own slip 'n' slide?

7. Can I carry the goldfish in my pocket just for a little while?

8. What if I take the goldfish in the shower, then?

9. Why do you have gray hair?

10. I just put worms in the refrigerator again. Do you think Santa Claus will remember all the way until Christmas?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Actual Comment from Demon Baby's Older Sister

His older sister (age 11) and I were in the kitchen when Demon Baby rode through on his bicycle. She cocked her head and looked at me:

"Now THERE'S something you just don't see every day. A naked Demon Baby riding a bicycle in the kitchen. NAKED."

And in fact, I presume that we were indeed the only household in America where that was occurring.

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Many Faces of Demon Baby

As a writer, I don't take photos of my kids like normal moms. No . . . I tend to take a picture and then think "What does it SAY?" This top one, to me, says, "Yes, I am cute and I know it."

While this one says, "HEY LADY, I told you ONE picture, not two!" [He is camera shy.]

But this last one is classic Demon Baby, "Come near me with that camera and I'll knock you out with my shovel and bury you until the tide comes in."
**********************
True story . . . I think it would not be normal if I didn't occasionally wonder . . . "Am I doing ANYTHING right with this kid?" After all, this weekend alone, he painted my bathroom with blue toothpaste, found a hole in the family room couch and pulled ALL the stuffing out of it to make "snowballs" with it, broke one glass candleholder (this is what I get for not having a house made entirely of rubber with him), and tried to freak me out by pretending to swallow a handful of marbles. Ha, ha. Yeah, he keeps me laughing all right. If he does THAT at age 4, I wonder what he will pretend to do at age 12. I shudder.
Anyway, this weekend, he took a bath (but didn't wash his hair, which is something I only do once a week since it involves my wrestling him like a WWF fighter). As I toweled him off, we went and sat in the big chair in my bedroom and I wrapped him up and we snuggled for a while. As we did, I kept putting my fingers through his wet hair, which caused it to spike straight up--and I said, "You look really cute with your hair spiked."
"STOP!" he shrieked.
"What?"
Suddenly there was a torrent of tears.
"What is the matter, Demon Baby? You don't like your hair spiked?" I started flattening it down.
"I don't want you to spike my hair."
"How come?"
"Because then I won't look just the way I am. And you always say you love me JUST the way I am."
After I brushed away a stray tear, I thought, "All right, if that's the message he's getting . . . I must be doing something right."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Music: Demon Baby Style

Unless you live under a rock, chances are you have heard Lady Gaga, the newest superstar of music. Demon Baby is QUITE fond of her. Given that she is a total eccentric who doesn't wear pants in public, it makes perfect sense to me. What better woman for a Naked Demon Baby than a woman who usually wears her underwear while walking down the street?

She is the woman for him. In fact, he tells me he is going to marry her.

Not only that, her number-one hit is "Poker Face." Perhaps you've heard in a few million times on the radio.

When we're in the car and it comes on, Demon Baby SHRIEKS, "It's LADY GAGA!!"

And then he sings along.

But given his propensity for mayhem, he does not sing the real lyrics, "P-p-p-p-poker face, p-p-poker face."

No, as sung by Demon Baby, the words, my friends are:

Poke-poke-poke-poke your face, poke-poke your face

I want to poke your face!

Ahh . . . music Demon Baby style.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Conversation No Mother of a Non-Demon Baby will EVER Have

Naked Demon Baby approached me today. "MOM! My penis hurts."

"Hmm . . . maybe you just need a shower. After breakfast, it's bathtime for you."

"No, it really hurts."

"All right, well, after bathtime I'll check it out."

"I think it might be from the box."

"What box?"

"I put it in the box."

"Box?"

"The candy box."

"Let me get this straight, you put your penis in a candy box?"

"Yeah. And it hurt."

"What kind of candy box?"

"You know, the one that you fill it with candy and it pops out . . . the one that the Easter Bunny gave me."

"YOUR RABBIT PEZ DISPENSER?!?"

"Yeah. The Pez dispenser."

"Just so I've got this straight . . . you put your penis in a Pez dispenser."

"Yeah. And it pinched it and hurt."

"So don't put it in a Pez dispenser, okay?"

"All right."

Penis Crisis of 2009 . . . Solved.

Five Things I Love About Being a Mother

Merry tagged me to blog about five things I love about being a mom. Only five? All right . . . here goes:

  1. I love the miracles. I am one of those women who loved being pregnant. I loved settling down to go to sleep at night and being kicked like mad as a reminder there was a PERSON inside me. I loved pushing and laboring for yes, 24 hours, to deliver a little infant and that first cry. I loved breastfeeding for a grand total of eight years spread over four kids and realizing my body could provide everything a baby needed. It's really an amazing thing when you think about it. Being part of a miracle? Priceless.
  2. I love the reminder that most of the time, not much else matters. Like everyone, I stress about the economy. About finances, bills, and paying for college. I have a leak in my kitchen ceiling. The Suburban Nazis (a.k.a. the homeowners association) patrolled this weekend for their once-a-year inspection of the community where I live (and had I KNOWN about this before I bought my house, I NEVER would have moved here). I get aggravated by petty people and tired and stressed. And then I can watch my kids sleeping, or hear them laughing upstairs and be reminded . . . frankly, that none of it is as important as having happy, healthy children.
  3. I love that they still love me. Imperfections and all. I mess up a lot as a mom. I'm too tired, I'm too stressed, I'm too impatient, and I am a lousy cook. I hate housework, I can't keep up with the laundry. But they seem to love me anyway.
  4. I love their souls. Children raised in loving homes have not yet been crushed by life. They believe in possibility. They believe in wishing on stars and imaginary friends with magical powers. They believe if they want to be the next Steven Spielberg that of course they can be. They believe they can be musicians and artists and impractical professions (heck, their mother is a writer, which is as impractical as you can get). They are filled with hope and belief. In themselves. In the world as a safe place.
  5. I love the stories. Yup, I'm a writer and a blogger, and frankly, they give me a lot of good material. All right, so number 5 is kind of selfish. But I did say I was an imperfect mother.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Gardening with Demon Baby

I like to garden. And today was the day to get rid of the detritus of winter leaves and overgrown grasses and set about fixing my flowerbeds and all my potted plants. Demon Baby LOVES to help me garden. It's a chance to:

1) Play in dirt
2) Turn dirt to mud with a watering can
3) Collect earthworms, which he tries to keep as pets

In reference to #3, I was sitting on my formal living room couch last night and spotted a worm wriggling across my hardwood floors. It was midnight. I was tired. I couldn't decide if I was hallucinating, but upon closer inspection, yes, it was a real live fat earthworm.

In any case, gardening with Demon Baby is, like EVERYTHING, quite an adventure. However, we have some very, VERY basic problems as far as his understanding of the garden. Hence . . . the conversation today.

"Where is the wand from my bubbles?"

"Inside the jar of bubbles. Why?"

"I need to plant it."

"It's plastic."

"But then bubbles will grow and blow over the garden all the time and it will be really cool."

"But it's plastic."

"It's a magic bubble wand."

"All right, Demon Baby, plant it."

So he embedded his pink plastic bubble wand in the middle of my basil.

"I need popcorn."

"Snack time is later."

"No. I'm going to plant it so I can have popcorn whenever I want."

"Popcorn doesn't grow, Demon Baby."

"It's magic popcorn."

"Plant away, Dude."

So I am growing, this season, tomatoes, parsley, oregano, basil, lots of flowers, arugula, bubbles, and popcorn.

I'm a cross between an organic farmer and Orville Redenbacher.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Top Ten Things You Learn on a Fifteen-Hour Car Trip with Demon Baby

1. There is an exponential equation, invented by Demon Baby himself, for how often you will hear the phrase: "Are we there yet?" The equation begins about three minutes after you pull out of the driveway and accelerates from there.

2. A Demon Baby who has now learned to pee standing up is fascinated by the idea of pulling to the side of I-95 in five states to leave his mark on the grass. Happy news for you citizens of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Goergia, and six places in Florida (it's a long state).

3. Demon Baby has two volumes. Loud and so loud it breaks the sound barrier. Neither of these volumes agrees with his 75-year-old grandfather. At all.

4. The engineer who invented the DVD player in the minivan deserves a Nobel Prize.

5. About hour ten into the trip, Demon Baby's mother will question her sanity.

6. After said 15-hour-trip the inside of a Demon-Baby-carrying-minivan will look like a nuclear test site.

7. Demon Baby will have to pee one mile PAST the rest stop. Not before it. Not at the exit. AFTER it. Despite being asked for the five miles leading to it, "Do you have to go?"

8. Pertaining to #7, this will always be at a point on the highway where the next rest stop is 79 miles away.

9. Truck stops and I-95 gas stations do not cater to families anymore (if they ever did). There is also an exponential equation between how badly your child needs to use the potty and how filthy the restroom will be.

10. The morning after a 15-hour car trip with Demon Baby generally feels like I have been attacked in my sleep by an assailant wielding a sack of rocks.

Easter with the grandparents? Priceless.

Sort of.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Top Ten Signs That You Are the Mother of a Demon Baby

1. You have a shop vac for both upstairs and downstairs. You never put them away. You don't even bother to unplug them.

2. The carpet cleaning man is on speed dial.

3. You start to believe you really HAVE grown eyes on the back of your head.

4. Silence, which you used to enjoy, now means it is too quiet and he is obviously up to something.

5. When you go anywhere in public, complete strangers come over to you and remark something along the lines of, "That is the smartest, most talkative, cute, energetic boy I have ever seen. He should be in commercials. But I feel SO sorry for you."

6. You start thinking naked is the new normal. And CLOTHES are odd.

7. Exhaustion is your new normal.

8. You take great comfort, and tuck away in your brain, stories from mothers whose kids were a lot like Demon Baby but grew up to be successful people with no trips to reform school or the state penitentiary. You want to hug these mothers when they tell you their stories.

9. You buy more of these than any human being ought to.

10. When he's sleeping, you occasionally look for the telltale 666 behind his ear, but finding none, you usually lie down next to him and just watch him sleep, knowing he is the most special boy in the whole world.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Demon Baby's Career Choices

I have shared on my writing blog that I don't particularly care if my children have practical professions. I am not a practical person. I make my living as a writer and a novelist--being a novelist is as unpractical a profession as one can have, save, maybe, actor.

I encourage my kids to have big dreams, and to not worry if a person can actually make a living doing said profession. I am from the "if there's a will, there's a way" camp. As such, Demon Baby's adult sister is a classical violinist. Given the lack of support for the arts in this country . . . practical no. Her heart, her soul? Yeah.

Oldest Son has a variety of dreams, having not narrowed one down precisely. He's a math genius . . . so being a math professor is MY dream for him. But at times he seems very content to aspire to live in Paris and attend culinary school. He also likes babies and senior citizens, so owning a nursing home--one where people are loved and genuinely cared for in a warm way--or a day care center also crosses his 13-year-old mind. So we'll see.

Baby Girl (age 11) is a budding filmmaker, though she would like to be a TRIPLE THREAT. You guessed it. A screenwriter who writes scripts starring herself as actress--and directed by . . . yes, herself. I say "Go for it--you know that way you'll get good parts!"

So Demon Baby has, many a time, professed that he will start a hard rock band--with touches of punk and The Clash. He cites Joe Strummer as one of his top musical influences.

Baby Girl and I was hanging out in my big bed the other night, each of us engrossed in our own book. Suddenly, she turned to me.

"What do you suppose Demon Baby will be when he grows up?"

I put my book down and said, thoughtfully, "Well, he's very young to know for sure. I know right now he says he wants to start a punk rock band, but he doesn't know how to play the guitar yet, so I suppose he can change his mind."

She looked at me very seriously. "Really? I actually thought it was his dream to be Ruler of the Free World with all his minions."

I picked up my book and shrugged. "Yeah. I suppose there's that."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

When You're Mama is a Pirate

First of all, this picture is for Realm. She is the totally coolest chicka in the universe because she mailed Demon Baby these skeleton armlets that he wore ALL day yesterday (naked of course), but then when I took him out for lunch and he got dressed, he wore them downtown to the semi-snooty French place wearing all black and the armlets and rocked it out.
But the armlets are doubly cool because Demon Baby is now convinced that I, yours truly, am a pirate.
It all started a few days ago when I was laughing really hard and he noticed way, way back on my last molar, I have a gold cap.
"What's that?"
"What?"
"Open your mouth?"
I did and he was AMAZED. "You have a gold tooth!"
"I do." I lowered my voice to a whisper. "Because I'm a pirate."
He looked at me a little askance.
"No really," I said.
"Then where's your ship?"
"I'm retired. The ship is in dry dock. It's called the Jolly Mama."
"Why did you retire?"
"I got pregnant . . . and the high seas are really bad for morning sickness. So being as I wanted desperately to be a mother, I gave up my life as a pirate to be your mama. And maybe someday, when you are all grown up, we will take up pirating together. A mother-son pirate ship."
"Don't you miss it?"
"Occasionally, the lure of the high seas calls me, but I have YOU. Any Mama Pirate worth her pirate salt would give it all up for a chance to be your mother."
He seemed satisfied.
Then, today, I was dropping him off at church preschool. He held my hand as we crossed the parking lot.
"I can't tell anyone about your pirate days, can I?"
"Nope."
"Not even for show and tell?"
"Nope."
"Can I tell them you have a gold tooth?"
I shrugged. "I don't know. A very clever person might figure it out. Put all the clues together. Like your new pirate armbands."
"All right, then."
I kissed him good-bye and got down on my knees to look him in the eyes, which I always do when I say good-bye to him. He patted my cheek, "You are the bestest mother."
"Thanks," I hugged him good-bye. And as I walked out of the preschool building, I thought, Yeah. Giving up the high seas was totally worth it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Creative Nightmares

Demon Baby has an incredible capacity to make up extraordinary stories. We have a dragon under our staircase, and he speaks to space people. He has robots all over the house, and he takes apart anything and everything he can to use the parts to create his robots. I guess then it would be only natural that his dreams would be fairly creative.

And his nightmares.

The poor little guy suffers from night terrors. If you don't know what these are, they are nearly impossible to soothe him through. I am the only one in the house with the stamina to get through it, which means rocking him for sometimes as long as thirty minutes, the whole while this little guy is in the throes of raw terror. But he doesn't remember them.

Now, however, he has real nightmares. And they are doozies. His new nightmare of choice, which means he comes into my bed at 2:00 a.m., terrified, is there are leprachauns under his bed that eat little boys. Now, to me, leprachauns are little men with big belt buckles who bring gold. But not so for Demon Baby. Apparently, they are cannibals.

The amazing thing, of course, is his mind, developing and full of creativity. It is a reminder to me of how extraordinary the world of children is. How special they are. A reminder to me to be so grateful. Across the world, there are children having nightmares who aren't soothed. Or children so weak from hunger they likely don't dream. Not the way my child does.

His nightmares are a reminder to me he sleeps someplace safe and warm with people who love him. And how very lucky we are.

Monday, March 23, 2009

What Demon Baby's Mom Did on Her Birthday

Yeah.

We danced. He did naked breakdancing.

In my living room.

May you live your life like Demon Baby. Dance like nobody's watching.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Silence Is Not Golden

Actual conversation.

"Demon Baby . . . Mama is having a bad day. PLEASE stop talking right now. You have poured chocolate syrup in the goldfish tank, which smells in strange and horrific ways, thrown all the folded laundry on the floor, and peed in the bathtub. PLEASE, go away for a few minutes while I try to regain my sense of serenity."

"No."

"Please."

"No."

"All right. Stay here, but PLEASE stop talking. You have not stopped chattering since you woke up this morning many, MANY hours ago."

"I CAN'T! I HAVE TOO MANY WORDS TO BE QUIET! NOW GET ME ICE CREAM!!!!"

Thursday, March 19, 2009

When You have an Unusual Demon Baby . . .

It's really only fitting that at age four he stop calling you Mama. Or even Mommy. Or Mom. Nope, not "Mother," either.

Demon Baby has a new name for me, that he insists on using.

Apparently, I am Sugarcheeks.

Yeah.

Add to this, when he CALLS me that, he pats my head or my cheek like some paternal Southen millionaire speaking to his wife. Did I add I am from NY, live in Virginia, and he drawls it like Stonewall Jackson? I need to get him "tawlking" more New York.

Signing off, this is Sugarcheeks

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Top-Ten Things the Dogs Think When They See Demon Baby


1. There he is. The one I told you about.
2. Do you think he'll give us Raisin Bran again if we look cute?
3. You know he once put his mom's diamond ring in our water bowl?
4. Yeah. Always naked. I'm not sure why either.
5. He must be really naughty today. Look . . . Mom's in her office lighting candles and praying for patience again.
6. When he goes to kindergarten, how long do you think until they expel him?
7. Here . . . let's go through the house and find all his secret stashes of candy.
8. Watch out if he tries to "feed" you things like candles, pennies, or rocks. Don't assume he's giving you food until you smell it first.
9. It's a good thing we don't have tails because really . . . he would be the type to pull them.
10. Yeah, she looks furious at him, but watch when she turns her back. Most of the time she's smiling . . . she just has to look really mad so he doesn't try it again.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Demon Baby Superhero Has a Cape!


Naked, yes. But with a cape today!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Top Ten Things You Don't Want to Hear From the Mouth of Demon Baby

1. Whatever you do, DON'T look in the family room.

2. If you add spit to someone's drink, does that make it taste better? [Mom's aside: Usually after I've just finished my drink.]

3. Ooops.

4. My Magical Friend made a mess.

5. You might want to go get a towel.

6. It's all right that I fed the dog pepperoni pizza, right?

7. So are you in a bad mood? I have to tell you something.

8. I hid your car keys and now I can't find them.

9. I painted the mirrors with toothpaste. It looks awesome. Come see. [Mom's aside: Did Picasso start this way?]

10. Our fish like cheese, right?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Demon Baby's Bedtime Prayers

My father is an atheist, but when I was little he supervised my prayers. I have to admit that when I was 14 and discovered he was an atheist, I was rather stunned. I mean, this was the guy who taught me, "Now I lay me down to sleep . . . "

Anyway . . . here I am all grown up (sort of), and I have taught each of my four children bedtime prayers. I want them to end the day secure in LOVE.

So Demon Baby has been taught to fold his hands, close his eyes, and say, "Dear God, thank you for this day . . . "

After that, it's a free-for-all. I just didn't see the point in teaching him rote prayers. I'd rather it be a conversation.

Tonight, though . . .

"Okay, time for prayers," I said. "Dear God . . . thank you for this day, please watch over my family . . ."

"HOLD ON!" he screamed.

"What?"

"I have to talk."

"All right then, you say prayers your way."

"Dear God . . . please bring me candy."

"That's it?"

"That's all I got. That's all I got."

After trying not to fall out of bed laughing, I said, "God isn't like a wish list. You don't really ask him to bring you candy."

"So can I talk to a wishing star for my wishes?"

He's four. A star was visible through his bedroom window. What was I to say?

"Of course, you can wish to a wishing star."

"Dear wishing star . . . Please bring me candy. And please make me a superhero."

"Superheroes are cool."

"Yeah."

"I don't know if a wishing star can MAKE you a superhero. But you know . . . you are a super kid. And I thank God and wishing stars for you every day."

"Good night, Mama."

"Sleep tight."

"Don't let the bugbeds bite." [Yeah. I know. But he always says it backwards. But I think wishing stars and God understand him just fine.]

Flowers for Mom


God is brilliant.
He makes newborns smell delicious and look so perfect so that you really don't mind a year of sleep deprivation.
He makes children so beautiful--every child so beautiful--so you won't mind the crayon on the walls, the times they throw up on your shoes, the fact that when little boys learn to pee standing up they generally miss the bowl a lot, the exhaustion, the sheer amount of laundry those little creatures can create, the oatmeal in your hair, the time they fed Cheerios to the computer.
And when you have a Demon Baby, I tend to think God endows such a child with something extra special. A sparkle. A way of curling around your heart so you forget the fact that last night, when you climbed into bed, you discovered he left you an earthworm on your pillow, which he had apparently stuck in his pocket along with these beautiful flowers.
I really do adore this kid.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

And the Oscar Goes to . . . .

Demon Baby's Mother for . . . Best Performance Acting Surprised 53 Times Before Lunch!!!

"I'd like to thank the Academy . . . ."

Demon Baby has a new game. He takes a gift bag--one of those bags mothers like me use because we're too lazy/exhausted/insane/busy to actually WRAP a present. And he goes throughout the house putting stuff in it. Then he gives me my "present." Which I must open. Once I am done, he takes the bag, goes away, fills it again, brings it back, and we begin. Again. And again. I have opened my "presents" at least 50 times today and it's not even NOON. The crap littering my office is astounding.

"Go on, open it Mama!!!"

My performance begins.

"How did you KNOW? I mean, how could one genius little precious baby know that I have WANTED a used printer cartridge for so long? Did you find it in the trash?"

"Yes, Mama. But there's more."

I look in the bag. I feign SHOCK and AWE. "You are kidding me!!! How could you afford this? Cotton balls? AND one sock. You are too generous."

"I need the bag back." I hand him the bag.

Ten minutes later.

"MAMA! I have a SURPRISE for you! You won't believe it!"

I look in the bag.

"Get out of town! My very own stuffed dog missing one eye. He is so cute! I have wanted a stuffed dog like this for a long, long time."

"There's more."

"Oh . . . candy! Wherever did you get this candy?"

"I was saving it. Under the couch cushions. Eat it."

"I'll save it for later."

"No. Eat it."

"Not until I am done opening presents. . . . What? A banana peel? Were you eating a banana this morning?"

"No, yesterday."

"Even BETTER. Wow . . . I don't even know what to say! I really don't. I'm pretty speechless, my little pumpkin."

"There's more."

"I don't know if I can accept any more. I mean . . . you are just too generous. When I am an old lady sitting in a nursing home, I am going to tell everyone there about how you gave me all this stuff. No more . . . really. I can't possibly accept anything more. there's not even ROOM on my desk for all this stuff."

H puts his hands on his hips. "OPEN IT!"

I know better than to argue. I pull out a small soccer trophy. He got it for playing peewee soccer at the Y and it is one of his prized possessions.

"A trophy! Oh . . . my sweet, sweet little evil genius . . . I can't take this. I didn't earn it."

"You did! It's yours."

"For what?"

"For being the most awesomest humongasaurus mother ever."

I wipe a tear from my eye. For once, it's not a tear from crying over a broken vacuum cleaner or the fact that he tried to feed my diamond ring to the dog. It's a soccer trophy.

I will treasure it always. I'll put it right next to my Oscar.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I'm Taking Him Out of the House: Watch Out World

No, I'm not talking about Demon Baby.

I am talking about his Magical Friend.

His Magical Friend is, according to Demon Baby, "super humongasaurus powerful."

Magical Friend tells him things.

"Mom, Magical Friend says I am the boss and you have to listen to me."

I usually reply with, "Yeah, well, you tell Magical Friend that his logic won't fly in this house."

And I have asked, repeatedly, if Magical Friend has a name. I find the whole "Magical Friend" moniker a little unwieldy."

"Yes."

"Great," I said. Hoping for something like "Sam." "What is his name?"

"Magical Friend."

Magical Friend gets into all sorts of trouble. But clearly, I have gotten so used to Magical Friend that I am now taking him along on excursions. So it was this Sunday at church when his Sunday School teacher approached me.

"You son brough his friend today."

"Oh? Who?" I asked, but honestly, I already knew.

"His Invisible Friend."

"No. No, that can't be," I corrected her. "He doesn't have an Invisible Friend. He has Magical Friend."

"Oh . . . yeah . . . he did say Magical Friend. But since his Magical Friend is Invisible, I thought he was Invisible Friend."

"No. There's a distinction." [Have I mentioned at this point, the lady probably thinks I'm a stark raving lunatic?]

"Well, I had to leave the class for a minute to go get glue, and he told me he would be all right because Magical Friend would watch over him until I got back."

So there you have it. We now are bringing Magical Friend to Sunday School. The secret is out.

I watched The Sixth Sense the other night. I am cool with Magical Friend, as long as Demon Baby doesn't start telling me he sees Dead People.