Monday, September 10, 2012

Dad: Helping Hands

You know those claw games in the store where you put in a dollar, try to win a stuffed animal and then get ripped off as the claw repeatedly (and purposely, I’m convinced) drops your SpongeBob doll back into the toy pit, even after you’ve meticulously maneuvered said claw into ideal SpongeBob-grasping position? Well, Susan has surpassed those in terms of motor skills as she can now hold onto things for more than two seconds. Unless, that is, we’re seated in a restaurant. If that’s the case she’s constantly (and purposely, I’m convinced) grabbing everything and dropping it all onto the floor, if for no other reason than to make us pick it up and give it back to her so she can repeat the process all over again. This has made eating out very difficult for us, and incredibly fun for her.
Ever since Susan has figured out that she has complete and total control of her hands, the girl will grab ANYTHING that’s in front of her, whether it’s her toys, MY toys, the dog’s toys or a hot cup of coffee. Of course everything ends up in the same place, as the next logical step for our baby (and all others) is to take whatever object she just grabbed and jam it directly into her mouth. So far, Susan has eaten newspaper, a permanent marker, the dog’s leg, her bib (which, in her defense, was covered in mashed bananas), my nose and, the wash cloth, and of course, her own feet. And that’s just what we’ve caught her eating. She's like a shark. Or a billy goat. Or our dog around goose poop.

It’s like our daughter has no sense of possession or personal belongings. It’s very selfish. Dad’s cup of coffee? That’s mine. The dog’s leg? That’s mine. Mom’s earring and the earlobe to which it was formerly attached? Mine. I’ve caught her eyeing my fingers and salivating over them the last few days, and I’m not really sure how to handle that.

I’m never really sure what she’s thinking, but I have a hunch that she’s just trying to help us accomplish whatever we’re trying to do with a given object. Except I don’t think she actually understands what we’re trying to do. For example:

“Dad, your Moe’s burrito looks delicious! Were you trying to throw it on the floor? Here, let me help.”

“Hey mom, your hair is beautiful! I’ll remove some for you.”

“Mom, you’re laughing really hard at your funny Janet Evanovich book. Here, let me rip out pages for you.”

“Wow guys, these mashed pears taste yummy, but do you know what would make them even better? If they were on dad’s work pants. Like this.”

And so on. At this point in our short careers as parents, things are drastically different than they were a month ago. Our responsibilities have gone from, at four months: feed baby, put baby to bed, don’t lose baby;
to, at five months: feed baby, put baby to bed, don’t lose baby, don’t let baby stab her own eye with a fork, don’t let baby get a hold of any part of your face, don’t let baby destroy things that belong to the library, protect the dog from baby's vice grip and fresh new razor tooth, and just generally, don’t take your eyes off the baby EVER.

You underestimate the sneakiness.

You might think, “Oh, she’s just a baby. You mean you can’t keep her from grabbing stuff? And why are you letting her get anywhere near your delicious steak Homewrecker?” And to that I say, she is like a freaking ninja. I’m not sure whose side of the family she gets it from, but I’m confident she could snatch a hummingbird mid-flight. And then probably eat it. 

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