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Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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The Maddie to English Dictionary

At 4:30 AM Maddie is wide-eyed and babbling, clearly laboring under the delusion that this counts as morning.  Wrong!  4:30 still technically counts as the middle of the night, I try to tell her.  She doesn't care, as she talks to her pacifier, kicks energetically, and pokes me in the eye for fun.  Gerry gets up and walks her around.  I try to put her in the baby equivalent of a Thanksgiving Turkey Coma by feeding her repeatedly.  No dice.  45 minutes later, finally admitting that I'm not going to get any more sleep as long as she's entertaining herself by trying to pull my lips off my face, I relent and get up.

"This is dumb," I inform her.

"Baaaaaeeeeoooooooh," she responds.  Luckily for her, she's really cute.


I walk her around, hoping to lull her back to sleep.  I try to follow the instructions I remember from Jake & Zoe's babyhoods, back when I actually read books like What To Expect the First Year instead of just winging it like I do now.  I keep the lights low.  I move slowly and rythmically.  I only speak in a quiet, soothing voice, without making eye contact.  It occurs to me that this is the same way you're supposed to behave if you encounter a mountain lion in the woods, and I figure the two situations aren't all that different. Whether it's a wild cat on your hiking trail or a baby starting to doze off in your arms, you have to swallow your panic, act natural, and accept the fact that you have absolutely no control over whatever happens next.


What did happen next was that she started to cry.  I was afraid of that.  It was the half-cry half-whine that says, "I'm really, really tired but I stoutly refuse to fall asleep no matter what you do," and strangely, I was relieved.  It's not preferable to her just going to sleep, but at least I know it's the last stop on the Dear-God-Please-Just-Go-To-Sleep Train before we get to our destination.  Apply pacifier, change arm positions, pat her on her diapery little bottom, and before you know it she's drifted off, dreaming about poking me in the eye some more.

But that got me thinking how useful it is, once you've learned your baby's unique gurgles and cries, to have at least a slightly better idea what the heck she's talking about.  When we first brought Maddie home, we had to try everything we could think of (diaper, food, burp, bounce, walk around, put her in the swing, wash, rinse, repeat) four times before something got the desired reaction.  Now we're down to trying everything only about three times, on average.  And since, at the very nanosecond Maddie fell asleep, I heard the telltale bumping around of Jake & Zoe crawling out of bed downstairs, ready to pour milk on the kitchen counter next to their cereal bowls, I decided I might as well stay awake and type up a brief Maddie to English Dictionary, EVEN THOUGH THIS STILL DOESN'T COUNT AS MORNING!!!!  So here it goes:

inside-voice vowels - sweet and softly spoken ooohs and ahhhhs, sometimes punctuated with 'g' for some classic 'gagagoo's; this is the most adorable entry in her dictionary, but unfortuntely it's most often heard when she is wide awake at some at some ridiculous hour like 4:30 AM; the cuteness might be her way of apologizing for her messed up circadian rhythms

outside-voice vowels - similar to the previous entry but louder and more urgent; means, "I'm bored with whatever was making me happy two seconds ago, and though I'm not quite upset enough to cry, you'd better figure out how to restore my joy and contentment - quick."

whining - last chance to figure it out, the next phase is coming in 5... 4... 3... 2...

crying - means, "Something is not absolutely perfect and I might not even be sure what it is, but I'm going to need you to fix it immediately."


whining cry - see above; usually accompanied by ear-tugging, it means, "I'm tired but I'm going to fight falling asleep every step of the way.   You'd better give me your full attention, because if you try to watch TV or take a sip of your beverage, even though my eyes are closed I WILL KNOW, and I can keep this up all night."

sustained screeching - means, "Something is not absolutely perfect - be forewarned I'm going to be next to impossible to calm down, and even after you fix it I'm probably going to keep crying for a while just to teach you a lesson."

grunting - Look out below!!!!

giggling - means, "Daddy is touching our noses together while saying something crazy like, 'Who's my boodle boodle boodle' over and over - that guy cracks me up."

That should cover most of the bases, so now you'll be prepared to babysit if she ever lets me hand her off to someone other than Gerry.  For now, I'm going to pop downstairs and staple every kid in the house into a bed so I can get some sleep.

I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing!


2 comments:

  1. Sooo stinkin' cute!

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  2. I remember those sleepless times all too well. You described a typical "morning" perfectly. When I was exhausted, I remember begging my babies to sleep. Pleeease, please ...
    When that didn't work, I'm pretty sure I made drowsy deals with God, or the devil (whoever happened to be listening at the time). At this point, I'm not sure which of them owns my soul.

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