Gargantubaby is 27 months old. He wears 4T shirts and pants. Most shoes don’t fit him because his feet are like little pound cakes. He’s almost too big for me to lie on my back, pick him up by the hips, and hold him upside down, crying, “Shake out your change! Shake out your change!” We’ve caught him leaning one shoulder against the wall, the toes of one foot crossed over the other like some ’80s heartthrob. Other times he rests his hands on his hips, tummy pooched forward, watching a kids’ soccer game like one of the dads. He “sings along” to songs and “reads” books out loud to himself. We watched The Simpsons Movie together (HELLO THAT SHIT IS FUNNY), and weeks later he still sings “Spider Pig.”
When he comes into a room, he says, “Hi, guys!” He asks for “chamamas” (pajamas). When we ask him a question, he invariably responds with, “Um,” before answering, as if he’s formulating a thought. When he’s in his car seat and I’m in the passenger seat, he demands, “Mommy, hold hand,” which involves me twisting and leaning, but what else am I going to do? GB has spoken.
As SJ says. “He doesn’t give a fuck about the first consonant.” GB says, “Tome on, guys!” His grandma’s name is Tarlyn. Kitties are titties (aren’t they, though?). Frogs say “libbit.”
The other day GB had on his bunny ears and was hopping around the living room like a bunny.
SJ: GB, do you know what sound a bunny makes?
GB: (No answer, because what sound does a bunny make?)
SJ: (Puts on bunny ears, throws back his head, and makes a screaming sound)
Jenny: Is that what sound a bunny makes?
SJ: Yeah, if you put it in a cage with a snake.
He’s learning to put sentences together. When he’s playing, he says things like, “Oh, no, it’s a bear! It’s tasing me! I go to sleep.” He announces proudly, “I water the plants!” or “I hit your face, Mama!” because it’s all the fucking same to him.
He pretends to cry, and I pretend to comfort him. I say, “My baby,” and he says, “My mommy.”
I find myself repeating what he says to stall for time. GB: “I need help with the umbrella.” Jenny: “You need help with the umbrella?”
One morning he disappeared for THIRTY SECONDS I SWEAR TO GOD and when the silence got that quality I began hunting through rooms and finally found him in the front room with my pill cutter open and the razor exposed, thoughtfully trying to get into my Lexapro so he could cut a pill in half for me THANKS HONEY.
We’re in the middle of potty training. Last summer he had his first tantrum when I took his diaper off. He didn’t want to be naked; he didn’t want a new diaper. He wanted the old, dirty diaper, and he walked outside the cabin where we were staying to the industrial-size garbage can where I’d put it and put his hands over the side and wailed for his soiled diaper as if his dog had died (which will happen soon but NOT SOON ENOUGH GODDAMN DOG BUT THAT’S ANOTHER STORY).
One morning I cut his toast the way I cut it EVERY SINGLE MORNING, but that morning he didn’t want it that way and he cried, “Noooo! Put! It! All! Toogedder!” as if this were in the realm of possibility.
He has dreams like anyone else. He talks in his sleep, and his dreams seem to be mostly about ownership. One time he cried out and said, “Mine!” Another time he kicked his legs and said, “My book!”
I’ve poked him in the back of the mouth with a toothbrush so many times he thinks saying, “I’m sorry,” is part of toothbrushing. I know this because when I squat in front of him to brush my teeth, he reaches up to hold my toothbrush and move it in my mouth and he says, “I’m sorry.”
He can have conversations now:
Jenny: That is outside. This is inside. Can you say inside?
GB: (Laughs.) Inside!
Jenny: So where are we? (Thinking he’ll say “inside.”)
GB: (Thinks.) House.
He makes commands:
GB: Headphones? Watch a movie?
GB: Headphones. I need headphones watch a movie. Then Elmo’s song.
I crossed my eyes one afternoon and made them wiggle. GB gaped at me, then started crying.
GB: It’s broken! Eyes broken, Mama!
Jenny: No, it’s not broken, honey! It’s OK!
He has two phrases he tacks on to the ends of sentences: “At hoooome!” and “For meeee!” As in, “I want some toast … for meeee!” and “I want blueberries … at hoooome!” His sister recently had a slumber party for her 10th birthday, and Gargantubaby sat in a chair at the kitchen table as these five girls talked maniacally around him. After watching them wide-eyed he broke in, apropos of nothing, to announce, “I watch Paw Patrol … at hooome!”
(Side note: This is also the slumber party where SJ put RAMBUTAN IN THE PIÑATA. WHAT’S RAMBUTAN JENNY OH YOU KNOW JUST A FRUIT FROM SOUTHEAST ASIA THAT’S BOTH HARD AND FURRY AND REQUIRES A MULTI-TOOL TO OPEN AND THEN IT’S A MILD OPAQUE FRUIT THAT IS IN NO WAY EQUAL TO THE EFFORT IT TAKES TO GET TO IT ALSO IT’S NOT CANDY. Guess how popular it was with the fourth-graders? NO SERIOUSLY GUESS.
At the end of a long day, on the nights I still sleep with Gargantubaby, the room will be dark and quiet and, in a half sleep myself, I’ll assume he’s fallen asleep. Then, out of the dark, he’ll say, “Whatcha doin’, Mama?”
The songs I sing Gargantubaby to get him to sleep are “Rainbow Connection” and the lesser known but superior “Halfway Down the Stairs” by Kermit’s nephew, Robin (or “stair song,” as GB calls it). His father’s songs are “King of the Road,” “Early Morning Rain” by Gordon Lightfoot, “Sunday Morning Coming Down” by Kris Kristofferson (made famous by Johnny Cash), and “Kneeling Drunkard’s Plea,” by Johnny Cash GUESS WHICH ONE OF US WAS BORN IN 1967.
Apparently GB requests “Rainbow Connection” from his dad all the time (and is met with a selection of alternate songs, each of which mentions cigarettes). But this week, for the first time ever, GB requested “Kneeling Drunkard’s Plea” from me. It took me a second to understand what he was saying. He demanded it again:
GB: Kneeling! Drunkard’s! Plea!
Jenny: Honey, I don’t know that one.
GB: (Leans down into my face.) SING!
GB is still, always, demanding that he wants “boot,” either to cup what remains of my breasts or to pretend to nurse and then politely tuck me back into my shirt. On a recent plane trip, he made his familiar demand. Since he was sitting in the seat next to me, I wiggled down and, for once, put my head in his lap.
Immediately he offered kindly, “You want some boot, Mama?”
One more thing: As part of potty training, every time GB goes pee-pee in the potty, he gets a sticker. Last night, as I was sitting on the step stool to give him a bath, I gazed wearily at his sticker “chart.” Then I called in SJ.
“When you give him stickers,” I said, “you’re just letting him put them anywhere, right? Like me?”
“Look at that. What do you notice.”
We both noticed that our brilliant son has NOT just been putting them on this piece of paper willy-nilly, like we’ve thought for weeks. He’s been grouping them by type, because he is a genius. OUT OF THE WAY MOZART GARGANTUBABY’S ON THE LOOSE.
I started meal planning again because otherwise the week FUCKING SUCKS, and this Bolognese is easy to make when you have a couple hours HAHAHAHA, it has carrots in it, and it makes a lot. I forgot to take a picture last night when we were eating it, but this is what the rest of it looks like in my freezer (bottom left). (That bottle of rum is so old I can’t remember when we bought it.)
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 2 yellow onions, chopped
- 6 carrots, chopped
- 12 cloves garlic, thinly sliced JUST USE A GARLIC PRESS SERIOUSLY WHO HAS TIME TO THINLY SLICE 12 CLOVES OF GARLIC
- 1½ lbs. ground sirloin
- 1½ lbs. ground pork
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 28-oz. can tomato puree
- 1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
- 12 fresh basil leaves
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1½ tablespoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 TB balsamic vinegar
You need to:
- Melt butter in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium high.
- Add onions, carrots, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 7 to 8 minutes.
- Add beef and pork and cook, stirring and breaking up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink and just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add wine and increase heat to high.
- Bring to a boil and cook until liquid reduces by half, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Add tomato puree, whole tomatoes and their juices, basil, bay leaves, salt, and crushed red pepper, breaking up tomatoes with a spoon.
- Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer, stirring often, until thickened and reduced to 8 cups, about 1½ hours.
- Discard bay leaves and stir in vinegar.
- Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.