“Have you ever changed a diaper?”
“Nope,” I answered sipping my water.
“Me either,” Pi replied with a creeping tone of panic. I guess when you’re pregnant that’s the stuff you start to think about.
We were at brunch to plan Pi’s baby shower. Well, Amanda was there to plan the baby shower; I was there to make sure Amanda didn’t bad mouth me to the fetus. Ever since she lost the role of head bridesmaid at Pi’s wedding two years ago, she’s been out to get me.
The planning brunch was very funny. Pi would suggest something she’d like for the shower, Amanda would say “I’m not saying you’re wrong. I’m just saying no.” Then they would ask me and I would say “whichever thing ensures that the baby likes me better than he likes Amanda.”
But that was sheer bravado.
Babies don’t like me.
It’s a fact. In the 26 years that I’ve sort of been paying attention to these things, there’s only one person under the age of 12 months who hasn’t screamed and cried his or her head off within moments of me getting within three inches of them.
For this, I blame my cousin Janelle.
She was two months old, I was nine years old. I had asked if I could play with the baby. No, my mother said. She was too little to play with me, but I could fetch her bathtub which was under the bed and help get her ready for bed. This task was not as awesome as the elaborate kidnapping my Skeletor doll was planning, but I guess it would do.
My mother and Janelle’s mom left the room. I crawled under the bed and pushed the tub out with my head. I stood up, lifted the plastic container and put it down on the bed.
The whole tub landed on top of Janelle’s body. Oh crap oh crap oh craaapp.
But she didn’t cry. She didn’t even wake up.
In fact, if I hadn’t heard it crash against her head, I might have thought it didn’t touch her at all.
I pushed the tub off her, made sure she was still breathing and got the hell out of the room.
And I never spoke of this incident again; though, whenever I see her, to this day, I check her forehead for signs of trauma.
But instead of just crying like a normal person, she sent out the word to all other babies on the baby hotline: “Beware! Stephane hits babies in the head with bathtubs!”
“Dude! That was one time! I was nine!”
But babies are notoriously difficult to reason with.
It wasn’t much of an issue until the last ten or so years when my friends started having kids. They’re all “come meet the baby, Stephane!”
And I’m all “how about when it turns two? Toddlers LOVE me!”
“NO! Meet the baby! Right now! Or I will stab you.”
New mothers? Also notoriously difficult to reason with.
And so. I meet them, they scream. I buy them things. They say leave the toys and go about your way, bathtub basher.
“ONE TIME! ARRGGHHH.” Stupid babies.
A couple of weeks ago I flew out to Arizona to meet my friend’s ten-month-old. Jetblue was having an insane one day sale on domestic flights, so I thought I’d surprise her for her birthday. Her husband is a surprise executing genius and managed to get his wife and son to actually meet me at the airport without having any idea that I was coming! Seriously, I bow.
“My mom was watching him and he fell on a tree stump and cut his forehead.”
“Um…so your mom was not so much with the watching him?”
We had dinner at the airport before going back to her house. She was getting Wygant ready for bed and he and I were sitting on his daybed when she stood up to get his bed clothes.
“Can you watch him?”
She walked half way across the room, thought better of it and came back.
“Here. Let me put him on the floor. Mr. Pearatty’s nephew was watching him the other day and he fell off the bed.”
“Heey, isn’t that kid seven? I am a grown adult! I can watch a baby! Sheesh.”
She put him on the floor anyway.
Just. In. Case. (I think he told her about the bathtub.)
The next morning, the three of us went out to brunch at this fancy brunch place in downtown Phoenix. All the restaurant staff were oohing and aahing over Wygant, who was smartly dressed in his Patriots outfit. Which he totally picked out for himself, because he’s a genius and loves only good things. Our waitress was not at all interested in him, this annoyed me. I MEAN HONESTLY! Just look at that widdy biddy face:
(A really nice man cut up an apple and drizzled chocolate syrup on it for him… that’s what he’s eating in the picture. Adorable, right?) (His mom is so about to take out a restraining order on me right now.)
Anyway, so we’re eating brunch. I ordered the bananas foster French toast. However, as I don’t like bananas and I’m not too fond of French toast… well, bust all around for me. But the mimosas were delicious. So, we’re at the end of brunch and Pearatty leaves me with Wygant while she goes to the bathroom.
Everything was FINE! I was teaching him to say Tom Brady and he was playing with his toy keys and then he dropped the keys.
Before I could finish my “Uh oh…did you drop your keys”? sentence, he was diving after them.
I had a firm grip on him all the way down. Right up until I was sharing custody of him with the ground.
He started screaming. The host came over to see if he was alright and everyone was staring at us. It was horrible! His whole forehead turned bright red. Pearatty came back and took him. Once he stopped crying, he totally gave me the evil eye and was all “just wait till I tell the baby network about THIS!”
(I am not kidding. He gave me the stare of DEATH! Like “sleep with one eye open, lady!”)
I googled “signs of a concussion in babies” and we gave him checklist test.
“Are you having trouble with coordination?”
“Vomiting? Do you feel like vomiting?”
“Oh no. Are you excessively tired?”
“We should go to the emergency room!”
Pearatty laughed. Though I don’t see how “Mrs. Called the Fire Department when he fell and hit his head in the house” is in any position to judge me! #RUDE
When we got home, Wygant’s dad was hanging the Christmas lights on the house.
“How was brunch?”
“I’m so so sooooo sorry. I dropped the baby on his head. He may have to go to Harvard now. Honest to goodness HARVARD!” And then I burst into tears.
“Don’t worry. We’re moving to Canada. He’ll probably be going to McGill.”
And that’s when I discovered that my good friend Pearatty, on whose couch I spent many a weekend during my awful Connecticut clerkship, whose baked goods I have consumed for almost ten years is ACTUALLY CANADIAN! Well, her mom was born in Canada, so she can be a Canadian citizen. Same with Wygant’s dad, his mom was also born in Canada. I don’t know how exactly, but Astin is to blame for this.
I called Pearatty’s sister and she drove down from Flagstaff.
“Have you heard this madness! They are trying to take our Wygant to Canadia! CANADIA! He’s going to talk funny, spell words wrong and think football has three downs!”
She had heard. We set about designing “Operation Wygant Repatriation.”
Step 1: Teach Wygant to bite mommy.
We went out to lunch at this awesome Chinese food place I can’t remember the name of, and afterward we went to the Circle K to buy butter for the cake I was promised.
“Hey, little man, what happened to your head?” the clerk said to Wygant.
“Oh, some irresponsible adult dropped him on his head at brunch,” Pearatty said. Oh wait, that’s what I heard, she may have said “he fell.”
But then the clerk guy was all looking at the other bruise on his head and started eyeing us suspiciously.
“Look, Judgey McJudgerton, that boy is one squirmy baby! Why don’t you just sell us our butter and we’ll be on our way!” #RUDE
That night, we made delicious brownies (not the cake I was promised, but still good.) and then went to a local performance of Hairspray at the Phoenix place where they stage off off off off Braodway shows. It was really good, though not as awesome as this version:
(Me: You guys are invited to my Zac Efron wedding! Amanda: You really like ’em gay, don’t you? #COTD)
“See? Aren’t you glad you came to Phoenix? You got Chinese food and a Broadway show… you can’t do that in New York!”
The next day, we did the more Arizony activity of chicken and waffles and watching football with Wygant. He learned the all important “even if the Lions look like they’re gonna win, they’re not gonna win” lesson. He seemed to have forgotten all of the unpleasantness of being dropped on his head and was content to beat me in the face with the remote control until my flight home. Hmm…hold up…
This baby is not to be trifled with! None of them are! They’re a dangerous menace!!
A dangerous, adorable menace.