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?"
"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?"
"Not even for show and tell?"
"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


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."




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


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.


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.


"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."


"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."


"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.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Why I Will Never Be Invited to the Neighborhood MOMS Group: A Photo Essay

When you have a Demon Baby, you have two choices. Crush his spirit, or embrace his spirit.

I chose the latter. Thus my free-spirited child is always naked. And this top photo is the most G-Rated pose I could capture him in. He is sitting on the couch, with the window open. Moments after this photo was taken he leaned out the window and screamed to all the birds and squirrels to come on in the house and have lunch with him. He was quite loud.

This second photo was his hiding, just in case a squirrel decided to come in and have lunch with him and instead decide to bite his little rear end. I guess the reality of rabid squirrels indoors gave him pause.
Now, look at my picture window.
Essentially, Demon Baby is mooning my entire neighborhood.
Note: I am not friends with anyone in my neighborhood. I am pretty sure they think I am the "weird" mom.
And perhaps . . . they do not appreciate being mooned.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Dear Erie Insurance

Dear Erie Insurance:

I have appreciated your holding the policy on my home. But I notice that nowhere is there a Demon Baby clause. I do notice there is a flood exclusion. I am trying to decide if Demon Baby is an act of warfare exclusion or a natural disaster.

Recently I was sitting at my kitchen table and suddenly it started raining. Oh, not a drizzle, but a downpour.

Demon Baby filled a bucket (kept in the bathroom for playing in the tub) with water from the upstairs sink and poured it down the heating vent in the floor in said bathroom. Apparently, that vent leads to the exact spot above my kitchen table, where the water came pouring down THROUGH the combination ceiling fan/light fixture. The light fixture shorted out. Water flooded the kitchen table.

I need some sort of Demon Baby House Insurance.

You, apparently, do not make a policy for that, though I have searched through all your product lines.

Other strange household damage has included his taking a pencil and punching holes in the wood floors.

One microwave oven mishap (but really that was Older Brother's fault--he didn't realize when you reheat Chinese food, you take it OUT of the container with the little metal handle--there was a small fire in the microwave for anyone in your company keeping track of these things).

One broken screen.

Let us not forget the Eureka vacuum crisis of 2009. I don't think you cover small appliances.

One staircase carpet with purple marker.

One hall carpet with red marker.

Six walls needing repainting.

One broken fence post where Demon Baby tried to climb over to play with the dogs.

One brand-new car stereo with pennies inserted into the CD drive.

One computer with Cheerios in the CD-ROM drive.

One piano with pennies inserted between keys entailing the piano tuner needing to come. (He was amused. He has four sons, I think, so he "gets" it.)

One fish tank destroyed by feeding the fish mozarella cheese sticks (the stench when this was discovered almost required fumigation--also not covered by your policy as far as I can see).

Three other water spots in kitchen from other tub incidents.

Four missing bannister rails.

Countless small damage from balls thrown in the house, trikes smashed into walls, etc.

My gray hair doesn't count. I will not ask you to purchase this. (But if you want to, I use dark brown.)

Perhaps at your next corporate meeting, you could consider Demon Baby coverage. I would certainly appreciate it.


Demon Baby's Mother