How long does it take a floppy infant to grow six teeth and bark like a dog? Eleven months. I learned this a few weeks ago when I visited the Niecus. Here is the rest of the latest Niecus news, in three parts:
I. Babies vs. Toddlers
Mostly I think of the Niecus as a fat baby, but the reality is that she's now a fat toddler. There are differences.
Babies stay where you put them. If you put a baby on the bed and and run outside to yell at the barking dogs to SHUT UP THE BABY IS SLEEPING, the baby will still be on the bed when you get back. If you put a toddler on the bed for a nap and go sit on the living room couch because those were the instructions you were given, the toddler will ooze her way out of the bed, crash-land on the bedside table and sustain a massive mild black eye, making you feel suicidal and prompting your sister to roll her eyes at your incompetence (even though you were just following instructions).
You can pop an index finger into the mouth of a screaming infant to calm their ass down. You don't stick your finger in the mouth of a vicious toddler. Not for any reason. Unless you want stitches.
If you give a baby a bowl of blueberries, the baby will continue sleeping and you will eat the berries yourself. If you give a toddler a bowl of blueberries, she will dump them on the ground and sit on them with her new purple yoga pants. Oblivious, you will not realize this until the toddler starts scooting around the kitchen with a fruit-stained butt, smearing berries all over the floor. Berries which you assumed she had simply eaten in a rapid fashion while you were looking down at your phone for fifteen seconds.
In fact, toddlers are lightning fast at turning food into natural disasters. You may think you've handed your toddler a bag of organic corn puffs, but your toddler thinks that June is Car Seat Blizzard season:
II. My Not-Imaginary Totalitarian Toddler Niecus
This may surprise you, but I'm not the only person on the internet who writes obsessively about the children (or fake children) in their life. Recently, my sister sent me a link to this website and said her husband thought it looked like something I'd do: http://pinterest.com/tiffanywbwg/my-imaginary-well-dressed-toddler-daughter/
I sort of agree, but I don't understand Pinterest, and that person seems to post a lot. Here's my lazy, one-shot version, instead:
1. Niecus has many posh friends. They enjoy thrilling playdate activities, like white water rafting:
2. Niecus has a fashionable boyfriend. He wears Alexander McQueen sweaters in the spring. They are traditionalists. He does the driving:
3. Niecus' mother has nicknamed her "Ming" and she sings "Minga-minga-minga-minga-minga-minga-minga-minga-minga-minga-minga-minga-ming!" A New York restaurant has already been named after her:
4. The Obesus appreciates finery. Her first ever birthday present was her first champagne brunch. She got wasted and made a mess:
5. Niecus may be fancy, but she'll never turn down a Cheeto:
6. Niecus has mastered the Redneck at the Pool napping pose. Talent:
7. Niecus is an international child of international heritage. Her dad is a foreigner, but our family accepts him:
III. The Twenty-five Per Cent
In all seriousness, the most important thing I learned when I was visiting the Niecus recently is that people will steal your baby's pool toys.
My sister likes to go to the neighborhood pool, and she's turned it into a weekly family tradition. My childhood memories of community pools are fairly pleasant, with no undertones of criminal activity. The current reality is much different.
On the Sunday that we all went to the pool ("all" means four adults and one under-ager. That's the minimum adult-to-toddler ratio when you're visiting expansive bodies of water), we took along the pool toys, including eight adorable rubber squirt toys. Shape of various animals. Probably expensive. We promptly dumped them into the kiddie pool and forgot about them, since Niecus was more interested in eating Cheetos and napping than actually playing in the pool. Two hours later, we headed back to the kiddie pool and found...ZERO squirty toys.
My sister: "Where are the squirty toys?"
Me: "...not here."
My sister (looking around): "Huh."
Me (looking around): "....hmm."
The thing is, when we first arrived at the kiddie pool, there was another family there. That family was gone by the time we got back. My sister and I both swiveled our heads around to survey the perimeter of the kiddie pool, and by the time we'd swiveled back around to face each other, we knew the truth.
Me: "That family stole the squirty toys."
My sister: "They stole the squirty toys."
We were perplexed and outraged. Who steals squirty toys from the pool?? We asked this question back and forth to each other, a bit louder each time, which had nothing to do with the white Muscadet we were responsibly drinking in the Virginia heat. Our fury could not be contained. We turned to the nearest mother and squawked, alternately, "Niecus' toys were stolen!" "That family stole the Niecus' squirty toys!" "They stole our baby's toys!!"
Do you know what it feels like when someone steals your baby's toys? This:
The other mother sort of furrowed her brow at us and said, cautiously, "how strange." After a pause, she walked over to one of the pool filters and casually lifted up the cover....exposing a secret stash of about 75% of the "stolen" squirty toys. She looked at us with a deliberately neutral expression, set aside the filter cover, and walked back over to her normal family. Her silent judgment was clear. My sister and I were those people. You know what I mean. We were those people who go to a family gathering place after a champagne brunch, crack open a bottle of moderately-priced white wine and start slinging accusations of toy theft around at all the sober families. I would say that we were ashamed, but it would be a lie. We weren't raised to feel shame. Instead, we tucked our chins down towards our chests (it's a fake gesture of contrition, meant to fool accusers and make them leave you alone) and started cackling to each other under our breath.
And, in fairness, 25% of the squirty toys were never recovered because THEY WERE STOLEN, I think.
This whole thing might have been avoided if my brother and brother-in-law had been supervising their womenfolk like they're supposed to, but they were not:
Moral of the story: this is a great story. Next time I go to my sister's pool, I'm taking two bottles of wine instead of one.