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5:17 a.m. - 2001-06-05

WOLF THAT SQUASH FUNK DOWN

Nobody ever said spoon feeding a baby was easy. And if they did, they have never tried to spoon feed a baby. And they were probably drunk when they said it.

A few weeks ago, Susie decided it was time that Baby Andy began trying foods that didn't come out of her breast. I wholeheartedly agreed because I read in a magazine that you never disagree with a mother when it comes to dealing with her baby. You just nod your head and say "You're exactly right, dear." This saves you the trouble of having to duck when various household items are thrown in your direction.

So, one Saturday night we put Andy in his high chair and locked him in securely. And when I mean securely, I mean secure. This thing has more belts on it than an 18 wheeler. Fort Knox isn't as secure as this high chair.

Andy's strapped in it and immediately he senses that something is about to happen that he doesn't think he wants to be privy to. He lets us know that he would much rather be back on the floor sucking the television remote control than be in this chair. He does this by wailing loudly. Susie asks if we should try to soothe him first and I say "You're exactly right, dear."

So we unstrap the six million belts holding him in the chair and walk him around the house, patting his back. This seems to soothe him. Not like the television remote control would ... but it's darned close.

We put him back in his chair, lock him in and the crying begins again.

This time, Mama isn't falling for Andy's bag of tricks. It's obvious that the high chair is a new experience for him and the crying is a sign of fear. We try to soothe him in his chair by rocking the chair back and forth which would normally have worked if the chair had been built to rock children in.

Finally, Andy's screams have reached the "dull roar" plateau and we break out the jar of carrots.

If it's been a while since you saw a jar of carrot baby food, let me try to describe it to you ... it's an orange paste that looks nothing like a carrot. It could possibly be the stuff you'd find on the shower drain after Carrot Top broke into your home to freshen up ... but it certainly doesn't look like carrots.

Andy didn't think so either. Every time Mama tried to feed him a spoonful, his lips would clench tight and he'd do his best Linda Blair impression, twisting his head almost 360 degrees to keep from coming into contact with that spoonful of carrots. It wasn't long before he looked like an oompa-loompah from "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory". His entire face was bright orange, while his mouth stayed clean.

"Maybe it's the high chair," I suggested. "Maybe if we put him on the floor, in an environment that he doesn't feel threatened ... he might eat."

Usually, my wife has the common intelligence to recognize a bad idea from a mile away. But I think she was tired of painting the baby orange as well and she agreed to put Andy on the floor.

Okay. Bad mistake.

When Andy isn't strapped tightly to a high chair and you try to feed him, you're in HIS ball park now.

The first spoonful that was sent his way, he intercepted with his hands.

"Let him see what it is," I suggested. "Let him hold the spoon and feed himself."

You know...proud papa thinking his six month old child has the intelligence of Einstein. I honestly thought the kid would grab the spoon, stare at it for a second and then slowly put it in his mouth and relish the taste of processed carrots.

Wrong. We now have an orange spot the size of Mikhail Gorbachev on our sofa.

Andy did his absolute best to paint the carpet a bright shade of orange as quickly as he could before Mama made the decision to put an end to his short-lived Andy Warhol phase and return him back to his high chair.

We tried different methods to get him to open his mouth and eat. We tried the "Choo-Choo Train Pulling Into The Station" game. It didn't work. We tried pretending that we were eating it ourselves first and then rubbing our tummies and saying "Num num!" like it was filet mignon. That didn't work, which I blame on my wife who has the acting skills of a coffee table. We tried pulling his toes apart as far as they would go so he'd open his mouth in screams of agony and we could shove the spoon in. That didn't work and now he's pigeon-toed for life.

So every night for weeks now, we go through our little ritual where Andy does his best to keep his jaws locked tightly while his Mama and I end up covered in carrots. The few bites that we've managed to get into his mouth he generally seemed to like. But apparently, he is just what pediatricians refer to as "one rotten little baby".

So if anybody has any suggestions on how to get your baby to eat, please feel free to call or drop by the office to share your tips.

I'll be the tired-looking orange guy pulling out his hair in the corner.


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YOU'VE OFFICIALLY CHEATED THE MAN!!

Whoooohoooooo!!

The Man is GOING DOWN, BAYBEEEEE!!!

Alright...enough...


Well, it'll be another week or so before I find out any more about my potential new job.

I have to meet with the C.O.O. before I'm officially hired. Which means I have to drudge up some kinda charm before next week.

I'm thinking about maybe smiling when I meet him.

That'd be good, don't ya think??

Possibly laughing at a few of his witty remarks. Maybe complimenting him on his style of dress. Perhaps washing his car and Armor-Alling the inside for him after the interview.

That sorta stuff.

I'll tell ya ... I'm walking around my current office right now like I'm officially a short-timer there. Like I've only got two weeks left so suck my toolage everyone, I'M OUTTA HERE!!!

I need to just chill, relax and pretend like I'm not going anywhere and get the stupid newspaper out without incident. But I'm just so damned giddy that I am "probably" going to be switching jobs soon and getting a real job.

Not that being the editor of a weekly newspaper isn't a "real" job. Because it is. I just mean a "real" job with a future.

Yeah.

That's what I meant.


So I called the police station yesterday to see if we could get the police to start patrolling our street a little more often than it has been.

The person I wanted to speak to wasn't in, so I spoke to someone else.

The lady asked me how I knew this kid was a gang member.

I didn't know that he was a gang member. I just heard that from my nosy neighbor who heard it from people who live closer to the gang member than I do.

Well then how can I say he's a gang member?

Well...because there's teenagers driving BMWs, blasting Big Tymers out of their imported stereos, waving guns in the air and shooting at his house on a regular basis. He's either a gang member or this is some sort of game called "Let's Act Like Gang Members."

I didn't say that. I just said I didn't know. I was chosen by the neighbors to call you guys and try to get some help here, that's all.

I gave the lady the kid's address and asked her to please see if the police could at least drive down our street twice a day or so. Not that it's going to do any good, but it'll impress the neighbors and maybe they'll start liking me and inviting me to their homes whenever they grill out.

She said she'd see what she could do.

Meanwhile, all's quiet on the gang member front. I drove by his house slowly yesterday, waving my fingers in the air like they were a gun to intimidate his house since nobody was home.

His house is currently shaking in its foundation over me.

I rawk.


Took Andy to the doctor by myself yesterday for the first time.

He still has fluid in his ears and a slight ear infection.

He's also one happy bastard, which boggles my mind. I can't stand earaches and turn into the biggest baby in the history of big babys whenever I get one.

Andy just shrugs it off and chews on my recliner.

And contrary to what I wrote up above for humor purposes, this little bastard is eating his food like a trooper now. At first he hated it, but now he's got that mouth open and saying "Unnnngh" which means "Jam that spoon in my mouth NOW, beeyotch!" We started him on squash last night and he acted like it was chocolate, wolfing that squash funk down.

His daycare lady wants us to sign a slip saying it's okay for him to put him in a wading pool this summer.

We're both kinda hesitant on doing that. Obviously, she's never killed a kid yet, but she's got a couple of two year-olds in her care that are a little rough and I could just imagine them splashing the hell out of Andy until he chokes or goes under while the daycare lady has her back turned for a second.

Man.

This parenting thing is such a trip. I always thought that if I ever had a kid and he were to die I could just have another and get on with my life.

But these kids are gifts from God. The most precious things you could ever imagine.

I can't even begin to think what my life would be like if he were to be taken away from me.

I don't want to imagine it.

I don't even want to write about it.

I don't even want to write.

I don't even.

I don't.

Don't.

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