too much baby
clearly, she's processing the fact that mama has a little tiny baby inside her tummy. this has got to be tough news to digest when you've only been around for 2.6 years. throws your whole worldview for a loop, i'd imagine. indeed she's starting to short circuit a bit. our child has taken to alternating from pretending to be a tiny little baby herself to pretending to be pregnant herself to, my personal favorite, pretending to be both a tiny little baby and pregnant at the same time! babies making babies, indeed. not even 3 and already she is making allusions to my main man Sly Almighty.
some examples of this sublime weirdness: she crawls around. a lot. this is something she didn't even do when it was age-appropriate -- she was never a crawler. but now, she's crawling the skin on her knees down to bone. and, on top of that, now she refuses to answer us unless we address her as "tiny baby." so, for example, we say "come here and eat your oatmeal." she, if she actually deigns to answer at all, says "have to say tiny little baby!" so we say "come here and eat your oatmeal, tiny baby." and then she crawls over. and then she refuses to eat unless we spoonfeed her "like a baby."
this, you might be able to imagine, while initially quite charming becomes eye-gougingly annoying with a quickness. an eye-gouging that is, rest assured, performed with baby-safe rubber-tipped spoons that change color if--GOD FORBID--the oatmeal you are about to stuff down your "tiny baby's" broken-record gullet is two degrees too warm.
ahem. sorry about that. (mr nice guy does not actually endorse stuffing anything down anyone's gullet, broken record or otherwise. so settle down.)
now, the other night, as mrs nice guy was giving le bebe a bath, the kid started rubbing her tummy. she said, "i have a tiny baby, like you. so you have to be careful." and then she pretended to pull the baby out of her navel and show it to mama. "see?" mama, being the trooper that she is, said "are you a tiny baby or do you have a tiny baby inside you?" the answer, naturally, was "i'm a tiny baby. yeah. and i have a tiny baby in my tummy." mama: "oh, well let me give your tiny baby a bath too." to which the kid replied, in a voice that echoed off our tiled walls for seven hours, "NO MAMA. I AM ONLY PRETENDING TO HAVE A BABY."
anyway, it goes on like this. when she's being a tiny baby (and we want to avoid The Shrieking) we have to rock her, give her milk in a sippy cup as if it's a tiny bottle, carry her everywhere. when the child is feeling pregnant, we have to be careful with her tummy because there's a baby in there and she's going to throw up. just like mama. in conclusion, we are living with a schizophrenic dwarf with a hair-trigger scream reflex.
the weirdest and, i'll be honest, most gradually irritating thing about the child right now: whenever she's in "tiny baby" mode, she crawls around, yes. but she does so with her mouth wide open. she largely refuses to speak. she crawls right up to you and grabs ahold of your leg. she looks up at you, mouth all agape and ... begins panting. like a winded puppy.
you say: "hi, kid. why are you grabbing my jeans and breathing like a demented obscene caller?" she pants, HRUUH HURRGGH GHHR. "uh. why are you breathing like that?" More hyperventilating. "sorry. why are you breathing like that, tiny little baby?" more heavy respiration. "babies don't do that in real life, you know." Pant-Pant-Pant. "Where's your mother? Go grab her leg and breathe on her." Huff-puff-heave-gasp. "STOP IT OR I'LL START WEEPING!"
this has gone on for weeks now. lots of heavy breathing at our place. both my bride and i have consulted each other: "do you know why she's breathing like that?" "no, do you?" "no, i only pant like that when you're wearing your lederhosen."
finally, i had my eureka moment. framed on the wall of our child's room is the birth announcement we sent out on the occasion of her, well, birth. included with the announcement was an excellent snapshot my wife took of the baby yawning or possibly passing some excellent gas -- but it looks like she's laughing ... or, i guess, panting. here it is. this is the image the child apparently associates with being a baby; it is, at least, the exact face she makes when she's being a "tiny baby":