Feezer Facts: Baby Tales Part 1

Everybody thinks their kid is the cutest ever. I worked in Daycare, though, so I’m here to tell you there are some ugly babies in the world. Nothing against those babies, you understand. Maybe they all grew up to be Calvin Klein models. Since I worked at a University Daycare, we had a lot of foreign students, and it was a very multicultural facility. And every Japanese baby I ever saw was adorable. I hoped that when my childbearing time came upon me, I’d have a cute little Japanese baby. However, since there are no Japanese genes in either of our families, we had a regular little dark eyed, dark haired moppet, and against all the odds (having us for parents, I mean), she turned out gorgeous. And smart. And funny. As I may have mentioned, the Baby is 26 now, and I’m sure the best is yet to come for her, but she entered into one golden period during her preschool years.

Mr. GG was in grad school when she was born, and he was a hands-on kinda Dad. When she was fractious or fussy, he would read to her. He was all about multi-tasking, though, so he would pick her up, grab his anthropology book, and start reading aloud. I’d go in the bedroom and find the two of them lying propped up against the pillows, with Marvin Harris’s “Cultural Materialism” on his lap, and both of them bored into a stupor.

A year or so later, she was sitting at her little yellow table I got with Huggies coupons, scribbling away with her crayons on scrap paper. I will never forget the day she held up a page, beamed at me, and said, “I write my thesis!”. (What she actually said was, “I wite my feesis!”. But still).

Of course she played with all the normal stuff, and her favorite bear was a panda named Spoony. Mr. GG was taking a course at MIT one summer, and he brought her back a panda puppet. She promptly named the puppet Spoony Junior, and informed us that both pandas spoke a language called Bamboo-ii. Apparently the puppet learned it at MIT.

The Baby learned to read when she was 4, and I insisted the public library give her her own card when she was 5, since she could write her name on the back. This actually backfired, because one time, I was browsing the children’s section, and she was sitting with a book on her lap in the reading pit, and it turns out it was a children’s book on sex. So, we had to have that discussion way earlier than I’d planned. And she would read the headlines on the tabloids when we were waiting to check out at the grocery, so we had some entertaining conversations about Martian babies, Batboy, Bigfoot and such. I used to let her pay for stuff at stores, so she could see how money worked. This led to the Baby minting her own money. She took round orange stickers and drew smiley faces on them and kept them in a metal bandaid tin. I have no idea where that came from. She called them “Cheer Dollars” and made us buy our own possessions with her counterfeit currency.

And then there was the time Mr. GG came home from work, and found a kitchen chair blocking the refrigerator. He was not too happy, and chastised the 4 year old Baby for leaving it there. But she stood up for herself. She stood there with her hands on her hips, looked him straight in the eye and said, “Dad, let me expwain de facts ob de feezer. I’m wittle. I can’t weach the popsicles. I need a chair to weach”. You could see that she was disappointed in her father, for not noticing the obvious. From time to time over the years, I have been known to say to Mr. GG, in a very patient, very patronizing tone, “Let me explain the facts of the feezer”. He gets the point fairly quickly.

After I started letting her pay for things, she got very interested in all the great things that could be bought in this big old world. So I explained about bills, and rent, and electricity to run her record player, and buying gas so we could buckle her into the carseat and go to the park, and so on. It might have been a bit much for a 5 year old, but she obviously grasped enough of it, because we began to get crayoned bills from “The Cute Service”. She informed us that this was money we needed to pay HER. To be good, and eat her vegetables, and to pick up her toys, and be cute. It was a telling moment for us, our emotions were all over the map. We were proud, yet appalled. Should we encourage this baby entrepeneur, or nip this little blackmail scheme in the bud? In the end we compromised. We paid her in “Cheer Dollars”.


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