Monday, December 8, 2008

All Hail L'il Ella

by Ben Small

Today is retribution day for anyone on two aircraft who’s ever flown with a baby. Surely you remember the wails as ear pressure adjusts, the embarrassed and helpless faces of the parents. Often the husband will try to pretend it’s not his kid making all the fuss, that he’s just as disturbed as every other passenger. But then momma will ask papa to take the baby, and papa’s cover will be blown.

I’ve been on so many flights that just seeing a baby in the gate area gives me hives.

And Ella can sing. It’s a good thing my son and daughter in law are flying coach. I’d hate for them to pay for all the first class glasses broken by her high notes.

Ella turned ten months yesterday, and she’s a bit advanced for her age. In addition to walking and running, she’s almost got the talking thing down pat, not that she knows what she’s saying most times. But Ella loves to practice. I took her to lunch once, and she cleared the room in about ten minutes.

And Ella’s large, really large. Ten pounds at birth and she’s been growing at a Godzilla rate ever since. She’s in the ninety-ninth percentile height-wise, but only the fifty-eighth percentile weight-wise, so in essence she’s the fifty foot baby running up and down the aircraft aisles.

So glad I’m not flying today.

This will be L’il Ella’s first visit to the desert, so we’re fully expecting her to eat her share of lizards and fall into a jumping cholla. We’ll be watching her carefully, of course, but that will be a full-time, four person job.

Babies are quick, you know.

For a week now, the wife and I have been trying to make our place baby-safe, which means everything we own has been stuffed into the garage. Our house looks bare, like we moved out in a hurry. I fully expect to go out for a walk and find squatters have moved in, thinking the place was abandoned.

But these are the trivial things. Our main problem is what do we do with a little girl? I had two boys, and I know what to do with boys. They love being tossed, wrestling, riding daddy’s back and playing with things that make noise.

What do little girls do? I don’t have a clue. And my wife’s no help. It’s been… uh… a few years since she was a little girl.

It was easy when I visited L’il Ella at her house. Her mother had all her toys set up and she just moved from one to another, chewing, throwing and babbling. But all we have are borrowed toys. We’ve got rich friends who have grandchildren Ella’s age. The grandkids aren’t visiting this week, so we borrowed from them. But we have no idea what to do with all this stuff.

Toys sure have changed since my kids were young.

And what about the Christmas tree? We didn’t put any ornaments on it, for fear of breakage or Ella pulling them off and chewing on them. But what if she decides to climb the tree? Or what if the cat climbs the tree, trying to get away from Ella? Is there room for me up there, too?

Say, do any of you have any free time? Are you available for babysitting?

I don’t think you realize the seriousness of this situation. I mean, my god, I have to put away my laptop. What will I do without a laptop? If you read in the newspapers the next few days that some guy in Arizona went bonkers and invaded a Best Buy store, it’s probably me, desperate for a laptop fix.

And cartoons? I haven’t watched a cartoon since I was a kid. Is Yogi Bear still harassing tourists?

Of course, we have no idea about provisioning. What do babies eat? There’s plenty of beer, but aren’t there laws against Ella getting too drunk? And I hate to mush up nachos. Kinda ruins the taste, doesn’t it?

Hopefully, Ella’s mommy can resolve some of these issues. If not, some of you may be getting anguished calls.

And by all means, if you’re flying today, take ear plugs. Put them on if you see a giant grinning baby slobbering up the aisle.


Anonymous said...

Don't worry about what to do with her - she'll lead you around while she does what she wants to do. Your job is just to keep her from hurting herself.

Unknown said...

Thank you Deborah. Obviously, you're much more comfortable about this than either my wife or I am. Wanna babysit? :<) We're so nervous, we keep tripping over each other as we pace.

Anonymous said...

She looks like a gorgeous kid, Ben. I have no tips,I'm sorry to say. Never had kids. Never spent any time around them.

I've probably missed out on a lot. Then again...

Good luck, and have fun.


Jean Henry Mead said...

Beautiful baby, Ben. This will be your best Christms ever. Trust me on that. :)

BTW, my computer crashed, deleting my online address book so I need you to resend addresses so I can mail the books. Thanks!

2whls3spds said...

Let's see...gotta love grandkids, spoil them rotten and hand them back. LOL My daughter was just as rough and tumble as her brother at Ella's age. Beer is not a bad thing in moderation it helps them nap ;-) Christmas tree needs to be tied to a hook in the ceiling with a sizable chunk of fishing line. Family tradition around our place when I was little. Seems me and the cat turned the tree over the first year. Ever since it has been anchored, even to this day and my parents are in their 70's. LOL Unbreakable ornaments are a plus!