Incredulous Tip # 17: Bind their hands.

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Wow. All I can say is wow. You guys, at the risk of sounding like a lame, basket-swinging, show-tune whistling, spontaneously-breaking-into-Disney-songing dork, I’m going to level with you.

I love being a mommy.

There. I haven’t updated the blog in a few weeks just because there is no time, no time, no time I tell you! (I’m shaking my fist). I’m too busy enjoying my amazing son to actually preserve the memories here. But I was rocking him tonight and looking at his tiny chin and little top lip that sticks out a bit over the bottom and I was having flashbacks (the good kind) of how he looked in my arms in those first weeks (Sigh…….Sigh….) and thought I’d better get the memories down before they join the ranks of forgotten things in my brain. There have been some rough patches too, but even those are, well…funny.

If I had to pick a favorite stage so far (which is hard, because I’ve loved them all), this would be it. At 10 months and 3 weeks old, Bubbalooshki Bears suddenly remove their shades, bowler hats, and fake mustaches and reveal their true identities to the world.

Here are (in my humble and completely subjective opinion) the noteworthy activities of a rapidly developing Bubbalooshki:

They are fast. 

One day you half-heartedly call out to them as they drunkenly lurch toward the precipice of the stairs, “Little Bear, come back now.” You shake something that makes a noise – doesn’t matter what – and their weakness for anything that jingles, pops, whizzes, squeaks, or bangs lures them back. The next day, they make a bolt for the precipice of the stairs with a speed that would put Lance Armstrong to (additional) shame on his best day. You jump up and scream, “What the- NOOO!!” and catch them just in time before they plummet to their untimely demise.

They are goofy.

Out of the blue, they discover that when they lean their head back while nursing or taking a bottle, the wooden arm of the chair is there to bump. Once this discovery is made, they make every effort to repeat tapping their heads on hard surfaces everywhere and giggle like it’s really hilarious. They move their head-beating to murkier waters as they try out concussing themselves on the back of their high chairs while cackling madly. You may question whether this behavior is normal so you Google it and find, to your utter relief, it is.

They are demanding.

Unlike their former selves, the newly revealed Bears begin to understand that there can be reward in making demands. The “faker”cry comes out as if it had been rehearsed for nine months in the womb, just biding time…waiting for an Oscar-worthy moment. They know when they’re hungry, or pissed off, or feeling unappreciated and know that only your arms, either boob, or that bottle over there is their only relief, so they put their arms up toward your towering frame in a worshiping pose complete with eyebrows arranged in the perfect composition of distress, until you bend down and give into their demands. They may collapse onto the floor in a melt-down if you fail to negotiate. This is usually adorable and kind of funny, which probably isn’t really what they’re going for with this performance.

They are ornery.

Have you ever wanted to see the semi-toothless grin of a Bubbalooshki Bear? It’s easy. Just point to them very firmly, or even lightly tap their hands, and say “NO.” It slays. Unfortunately, that’s not really what you’re going for with this performance. They may toddle over to the floor lamp, grab hold, and shake it until the crusty dust motes on top flake off and float lazily down to the floor. They like to remind us of our weaknesses – even if your weakness is failure to clean periodically.

They are helpful and giving.

Despite their misinterpretation of certain activities as helpful (such as unfolding freshly folded laundry, clearing out and “sorting” a perfectly organized tupperware drawer, taking each dish towel and wash cloth one-by-one and tossing it into the air, etc.) they do mean well, and so I overlook this slight miscommunication in household chore assignment. There seems to be a language barrier at this stage, so we’re still developing and fine-tuning role assignments when it comes to cleaning duties. At least when they throw clothes and towels on the floor, it eliminates some small fraction of dog hair bunnies.

They are deliciously kissable…and lovable.

This has always been true, yes, but with the new Bubbalooshki Bear 2.0 edition, kisses and snuggles are returned sometimes. The feeling when this happens is warmer and fuzzier than diving into a mosh pit of baby chicks wearing marshmallow top-hats while being wrapped in a fur coat, sitting by a crackling fire inside of an igloo. Bubbalooshki kisses aren’t like our kisses. Instead of puckering their lips, they just kind of come at your face like they’re gonna bite it off, but at the last second they gently put their slobbery lips on your cheek or over your nose, or on your mouth. They also nuzzle into your shoulder and rub their eyes just after waking up before giving you a giant, radiant, smile that sends sunshine rays to the moon and back.

They don’t sleep and, at times, can have spastic extremities. 

Side effects of having a “fighter” (as in, fights sleep) include, but are not limited to:

  • Sore back and neck muscles from bouncing and rocking them.
  • Permanently disfigured posture that adds 10 years to your frame. You may as well grow a wart on your nose and cackle for the posture you’ll have after leaning over the crib railing for 10 minutes at a time (scared to move for fear of waking up the Bear).
  • You may think expletives unbecoming of a “good” mother. You may even whisper them from time to time, but still in your soothing, sing-song voice.

In addition, the “fighters,” once asleep, will display an amazing ability I like to call “ghost hands.” Ghost hands occur when the Bubbalooshki Bear’s brain takes over his body in a last-ditch effort to stay the *&^% awake. While he drifts off, one finger begins to twitch. The finger realizes it is touching something and all the other little fingers join in on the fun.    They wiggle and move until they’ve crawled an entire hand toward the binky resting in the Bubbalooshki’s mouth, and they flick the binky right on out. This usually ends with a crying Bear, and the process must typically start all. over. again. Ghost hands also jump, jolt, and mindlessly feel the texture of the surrounding crib sheet until the swishing sound of hands rubbing on fabric wakes up the Bear. This too can lead to a possible repeat of the sleep routine. Silver lining: it’s so ridiculous to witness that it makes for fine following-day laughs with your spouse. (But don’t think I haven’t considered binding ghost hands together up to the wrist hostage-style with painter’s tape.)

They are inquisitive and learn fast.

They may not be able to clap their own hands, by God, but they can grab yours and push and pull until they clap. They may have trouble getting the binky into their own mouths right-side-up, but they know right where to stick it in your mouth when they lovingly offer it to you. They know where the “fun” cabinets are in the kitchen and they go to them over, and over, and over again. They remember where the stairs are even after you think you’ve successfully distracted them for an hour…They. Remember. They love to open, close, lift, push, and test limits.

They’re fun and amazing and…I love him

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