I used to move freely around my home, but that was before the baby arrived, which was in the year 2001 B.C. (before chaos). Nowadays, we have barriers all over the place, mostly to keep 10-month-old Lekha from doing whatever she wants, such as walking up to the trash can and giving it a big, sloppy kiss. A kiss that says, “It’s so good to finally meet someone my height. And you smell so nice, too—much better than that white guy in the bathroom. I’m never kissing HIM again.”
Yes, babies do strange things, but how can you blame them? Their minds aren’t fully developed, and they’re still trying to determine which objects around the house are living, breathing creatures and which ones are their dads. “Let’s see … The four-legged wooden thing moves when I push it, which is more than I can say about the big lump on the couch.”
Lekha (pronounced Lay-Kah), I’m proud to say, is a very friendly baby, even with strangers. Just the other day, she gave a big hug—without any prompting from me—to our new vacuum cleaner. “It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Hoover. Your music is a little loud, but I like it. I don’t know why the salesman told Dad that you really sucked.”
Babies are so inquisitive, and my daughter is no different.
We’ve bought her several educational toys, including building blocks, and she spends hours every day trying to figure out if any of them can be eaten. But thankfully, she does find a little time to play, as soon as we give her some food. “Look, Mom, the sweet potato looks pretty around my neck. Is this what they mean by the food chain?”
Eager to stimulate Lekha’s mind, we’ve bought her dozens of children’s books. We thought she’d enjoy the books, but she’s exceeded our expectations: she devours them. Yes, she really gets into them, not just with her fingers and eyes, but all five teeth. “Thanks for the book, Mom. I really like feeding time, but when are we going to have reading time?”
Like other parents, we’re eager to discover our baby’s talents. If she has a talent in music, for example, we want to get her started early, so that by the time she goes to college, she’ll be sick of it and ready to study medicine.
So far, I’ve discovered only one talent: Lekha is really good at creating a mess. Which means, of course, that she’s destined to have a long and successful career in Congress.
She makes a mess in her high chair, a mess in her playpen, a mess in her diaper. But that’s not all: She loves to toss our CDs and cassettes onto the floor. I’m beginning to wonder if our taste in music offends her. “Sorry, Mr. Jackson, but you don’t sound half as good as Mr. Hoover. Perhaps you need a new job. No, no, no—not a nose job.”
Cleaning the mess can be tiring, but I really wouldn’t mind it, if only I could get a good night’s sleep. My wife, the doting mother that she is, can’t stand to hear Lekha crying in her crib, so she lets the baby sleep in our bed, sometimes in the middle. There’s still a lot of crying, but at least mother and baby sleep right through it.