Our First Battle of Wills...or...The Dead Baby Monkey vs Asparagus
It had to happen sooner or later. It just had to.
After months of tender care, restful nights, pleasant disposition, and warm, loving looks up at me from those plastic googly-eyes of his...the Dead Baby Monkey finally displayed his first streak of rebelliousness.
Now...I'm not living in some fantasy world. I'm perfectly aware that infants will have bad days. There will be nights where some young ones will simply refuse to be put to bed, or will cry for hours with no apparent reason. Some babies eat heartily, and some refuse anything that is served at mealtimes. But I've been spoiled. My cuddly little simian has always gone quietly to bed, always spending a restful night lying there in the dark and never waking me, even once. Often, I'll go into the nursery in the mornings and find him still in the same position in which I left him the night before...resting splayed out on his back, arms akimbo, staring blankly up at the mobile that hangs above the crib. "What a good, quiet baby!" I croon as I pick him up and check his (always dry) nappy. "What a fine, well-behaved Dead Baby Monkey you are!" I say, lightly brushing the stray bits of skin and hair from the baby mattress.
And it doesn't stop with the sleeping patterns, either. The Dead Baby Monkey never struggles when I dress him, nor does he whine or cry when we go out in public. He has always been the epitome of a well-mannered baby. Always, that is, until last night.
For the first time, I changed his diet. Until now, he had done well with the bottle. Never a spilled drop, no matter how long I left him alone with it. But last night, I decided it was time for some more grown-up fare, so I steamed some vegetables lovingly in the microwave, and presented the colourful plate (after letting it cool, of course) to my dear little one. I figured the bright colours of the carrots and asparagus, combined with the interesting and easy-to-hold shapes, would entice my fuzzy young munchkin to try his first solid food.
Nothing. The Dead Baby Monkey hardly stirred when I put the plate in front of him...instead, he simply sat there, staring straight ahead as if I had still not served dinner. I was perplexed, so I tried a new approach: The Airplane Trick. (Okay...so it isn't new to everyone else, but it was new to the Dead Baby Monkey.)
"VROOOOOOOOOOM!" I crooned, flying an asparagus spear through the air over the high-chair. "Coming in for a landing!" I intoned as I approached the DBM's slightly agape mouth. But nothing I did would entice a reaction...it was almost as if the Dead Baby Monkey was mocking me, sitting stonily in the high chair and refusing to even acknowledge that it was food I was attempting to entice him with. Over and over again, I begged, cajoled, wheedled...but to no avail. He stubbornly stared straight ahead, ...sort of. (One googly-eye was pointing at a slight angle from the other, making him seem to mock me even more.) "Eat!" I cried. "Eat this, or there will be no dinner for you! Is that what you want? To go to bed without dinner!?!" I felt like a heartless, abusive parent for saying such things...but I had no choice. He really did need to learn to start on solid food...it was far past time.
I eventually resorted to mushing the veggies up into a paste, and spooning them into his mouth. He was still resistant to the solids, and refused to help me at all by chewing or swallowing...but I finally got a small serving of carrots into him. The asparagus I gave up on as a bad idea, simply because I don't like them either, and my conscience was starting to bother me for trying to force the issue of solid food on the Dead Baby Monkey at a time when he plainly was not ready to accept it.
Later, after putting him to bed, I realized that this first solid meal was not agreeing with my poor baby. There was a funny smell coming from the nursery, which I assume is the gas his poor uninitiated tummy is producing in protest of this strange new meal. Oh, am I a bad parent? Or am I doing what is right? Because, that's all I really want...what's right.
I want what's right for my dear sweet Dead Baby Monkey.
....to be continued.