Friday, June 20, 2008

But what about the children?

We have the same child, at two different ages. I thought Luca might be a different sort of kid, but then his hair turned blonde, and I knew. Luca has joined his brother in the 25th weight percentile, having decided that eating is overrated. At mealtimes, Luca's high chair sits next to Paolo's chair. I suspect this is a mistake. Do I really want Luca to model his table manners after Paolo, licking ketchup off his plate, agonizing over every tiny bite, begging to be finished, fake-gagging on his mashed potatoes? This is the same boy who has to be told repeatedly to stop taking the baby's food off the high chair tray. They both do that: they'll eat anything that isn't theirs. You know what else they do simultaneously? The dinnertime bowel movement. I'll be right in the middle of yelling at them to eat when one hotfoots it to the bathroom and the other one bears down.

Luca learned to crawl about three weeks ago. Not to be outdone, Paolo learned to crawl down the stairs headfirst. It's very Spiderman. To be honest, I'm a little disappointed at the baby's crawling. I had an all-too-brief spell of freedom between the sitting up and the crawling. I could plant the baby in the living room with bright, fun toys in arms' reach, and he was cool. Now, I sit the baby down, and he crawls after me. This is cute for about five minutes. When he does not crawl after me, he crawls over to pull the fan down on himself or choke on his brother's Legos.

Sam and I have lost the ability to baby-proof. When Paolo was a baby, we owned a chair, a TV, maybe a lamp. All the toys were Paolo's and, thus, baby-friendly. Now we have furniture, electronics with tasty, chewable cords, sharp Power Ranger spinners, microscopic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle daggers. When I look around at all the things in our house endangering a curious baby, I am ashamed and overwhelmed. We're not completely irresponsible, however. We've got Paolo acting as our baby-getting-into-trouble alert system. Is that wrong? He's really good at letting me know when Luca has pulled the vent cover out of the floor, and he is especially indignant when Luca has a superhero in his mouth. They are brothers, after all.

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