Fatherhood Adventures

I often wonder what my kid thinks about when he looks at me.

There are some moments that I am just dying to know what’s happening inside the cute little head of his.

Some of these situations include the following: when he yanks the spoon out of my hand, holds it with all his might so I can’t get it and then throws it on the floor; when he falls down face-first while walking and looks up with a smile; when he is in the back of the car facing forward staring intently at the road without blinking; when he tries to stick his tongue down the bathtub drain; when he growls in an aggressive manner at Diego on television; or when he looks back at me humming and kicking his legs while he is fed.

Well, I was forwarded something last week that provided me with a potential glimpse. This piece came from McSweeney’s, was headlined “An Infant Ponders The Tablua Rasa” and penned by Kent Woodyard.

Gaze upon my beauty and tremble, oh fallen humanity! Look down on my naked form writhing in this sink you call a bathtub and ponder my immeasurable capacity for good or evil. I am all that you are not, all that you once were, and all that you most fear. I am the beatific, unspoiled future of the human race, and you are rightly terrified in my presence. I realize you don’t often encounter a pure potentiality that has yet to be actualized by education and sensory stimuli, and your offerings of many-colored rattles, things to suck on, and scented wipes for my unmentionable areas are received with gratitude. However, your attempts to equip me with empirical familiarity with the objects of this world are not appreciated and I ask that you cease and desist posthaste!

You think I don’t see what you’re doing? You desire for me to learn. You fill my virgin mind with tales of an intrepid tank engine and a pair of vaguely ethnic child-explorers with the hopes that my observations will lead to prepositional statements, which when compounded will lead to further abstract concepts.

I won’t stand for it!

Even as we speak, you are clumsily chiseling away at the blank tablet of my mind. You listen to Glenn Beck while squiring me about town on a million frivolous errands. You watch that insufferable tease, Nancy Grace, during my evening meals. You and your bearded companion season your arguments with untenable systems of ethics and jurisprudence. And I, lacking the motor skills necessary for independent locomotion or remote control operation, am forced to lie on my binky while all manner of falsehoods and Dr. Phil-isms irreparably mar my latent intellect. Truly, it is one of the great injustices of the universe that unblemished human minds are left in the care of community college educated Gilmore Girls fans.

Do me a favor: keep your Middle American values and collection of Thomas Kinkade knockoffs to yourself. Please, spare me your Reaganite political leanings and affinity for Melissa Etheridge. I desire to experience stimuli pure and unbiased. I have my preexisting familiarity with space and time. What need have I for numbers, colors, letters, or late 1980s fem-rock?

Thanks but no thanks, …

I have no interest in that a posteriori knowledge you’re peddling, and neither Baby Einstein nor the curiously effeminate residents of Sesame Street will convince me otherwise. I am now as I always desire to be: a kinetic force of limitless potential.

Now if we’re quite finished, it appears the force of my indignation has caused me to soil myself. Please direct your full attention to my hindquarters.

Along with laughing throughout, this piece got me to thinking. Perhaps I should actually be thankful Beckett is not technically talking yet, especially if anything like herein is what’s on his mind.

Once he starts putting sentences together and expressing himself with words, I will have no choice but to listen to what he has to say. And the odds are I will not always like what’s being said, but it may make some of those hairy moments a little bit more tolerable or at least understandable.

There are times when it’s just unclear what’s under his skin and the same goes for those bizarre fits of laughter. When it’s a pleasant situation, like a giggle spell, I tend not to dwell on what’s going on in his mind. He’s happy and that’s good stuff. Whatever it is that’s tickled him is fine by me because a kid’s laughter and odd gibberish is among the sweetest sounds these ears have ever heard.

If we are taking the good with the bad, a meltdown certainly falls into the unpleasant category. When he loses his mind and throws a crying fit, the instinct is to discover, as quickly as possible, what’s got him hot under the collar.

Well, in my short time as a dad, I have learned there are times when a kid simply cries. Most recently, it’s been happening occasionally while we are feeding him, and that makes us think it has something to do with the arrival of new teeth. However, it could also be the fact he’s being contained in a high chair. You see a fit of rage erupts whenever he is not allowed to prowl as he wishes, particularly during a diaper change. We get the point even though he is not speaking in words or phrases.

Sometimes, there’s no need for words. Through body language and other audible means, he has a unique way of communicating his general thoughts and feelings.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.