Do you know what I discovered today? Amazon just launched the Kindle version of my new book: The Fetus Chronicles: Podcasts from My Miseducated Self.
CHAPTER SNEAK PEAK: SEE BELOW!
I’m so excited that I decided to share one of the podcasts from the book. Please note that the entire book is an absurdist theater piece (based on true events) about a weekly podcast to an audience of one—my fetus self. The podcast segments (replete with imaginary commercials) are commentaries about my adventures as a Black woman and the gnarliness of life—covering everything from women in the workforce, shame, date rape, colonoscopies, menopausal sex, rearing children, betrayal of friends to fear of growing old and dying. All the stories actually happened (or are happening) to me at one time or another. Enjoy!
IMP. NOTE: There is a reference to the Little Barbarian Manifesto in the excerpt below, which is explained in a previous chapter of the book. It simply means: A terrorist guide that all babies (especially First World babies) come to the Earth with, that instructs them on how to “get over” on their parents and claim sovereignty over their home turf. In this chapter, the story is about my younger child. The previous chapter in my book is about her older sister—both enthusiastic adherents to the Little Barbarian Manifesto.
(EXCERPT FROM THE FETUS CHRONICLES)
This is The Fetus Chronicles—“You in Trouble, Girl” Podcast Hour. I’m your host, Eleanor T, and today’s episode is brought to you by the late Dr. Benjamin Spock from the grave—“Forget most of what I told you in the ‘Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care;’ just do the best you can because it’s all a crap shoot, anyway.”
Hey Girl! How’s everything down under? You should be about the size of the head of endive (about 12.7 ounces) by now since you’re twenty-one weeks old. I read somewhere that you can bat your eyes just for the hell of it, and you’re sipping on cocktails of your own amniotic fluid, the taste of which is unimaginable, since I haven’t a clue what your mother is eating these days. So, good luck with that. According to Google, at least you can start to body surf at this stage, which must be pretty cool.
Anyway, Darling, I promised you last week that I would finish the story of our parenting characters: The Mother, The Father, Baby number one and Baby number two who have all settled down into becoming the perfect family…
Looking back, The Parents suspect Baby Number Two came to the Earth with the Little Barbarian Manifesto well in hand also, but she was slow to engage in the battle to bring down the reigning parental government which threw them off their game. However, when she declared war, she could have written the book on passive-aggressive warfare.
Baby-girl didn’t talk for the longest time—just stared at the faces of others for hours on end as if to ascertain whether they were friend or foe, intelligent or stupid, good or bad. (Once at a mall when she was ten months old, she stared so intently at a group of teenagers that they fled the mall in terror, screaming about the scary baby who kept following them with her demon eyes.) When Baby-girl did talk, it was in complete, adult sentences with the potential to have international repercussions. Once when The Parents were having a discourse over when there would ever be peace in the Middle East, the then three-year-old with a slight lisp chimed in at the appropriate lull in the conversation and said, “If ju askth me—if ju really want to know what to do ‘bout middie eest—I tell ju.”
It was downhill from there. At three years old, the younger child announced that she was never, ever going to take a nap again once she discovered that her five-year-old kindergarten sister no longer needed a nap. She advised her parents that if they ignored her wishes and they put her down to nap, they did so at their own peril. Instead of wailing for hours like her older sister did and causing a huge scene that could be heard a block away, Baby-girl would bide her time, pretend to go to sleep, and when The Parents were otherwise occupied would sneak out of her bed and crawl into a hiding place that gave her full access to the family’s conversations but would keep her hidden for hours. She would occupy herself by quietly drawing low-level permanent marker murals along the hallway’s crème-colored walls while holding the markers in the hand of her favorite doll (Sarah Finney). Of course she was eventually caught—multiple times. But each time she would swear on a stack of kid Bibles that it was Sarah Finney, the doll, who had encouraged her to escape her bed, and it was definitely Sarah Finney who had drawn the graffiti on the walls. (Technically, she was right: Baby-girl had wrapped the hands of the doll around the markers before taking hold of them both and drawing her masterpieces with abandonment.)
When it came to potty-training, that chapter in the Little Barbarian Manifesto must have been a doozy, because the war was on with Baby-girl when it became her time to be trained.
“It’s time to stop wearing diapers, Sweet Pea. Here’s your new little kids’ toilet in your favorite color that plays music every time you leave a present of a “winkle” or a “poo-poo patty” in it. Are you ready? Isn’t this EXCITING?”
“Hey, Baby-girl—what’s goin’ on? Don’t you want to be a big girl like your sister and wear panties?”
“No, can’t say that I do… I hate panties—I really, really like diapers.”
“Then why did you agree to sit on your new toilet today?”
“It’s a nice place to cuddle with Sarah Finney.”
“Oh for Pete’s sake. I tell you what: How about an M&M every time you do #1 and two M&M’s when you do #2? You love M&M’s right?” said the mother who had plagiarized the idea from one of the gazillion parenting magazine that assaulted the mailbox every week.
“Hum… how ‘bout three MM’s fo’ #1 and… and… ten, twenty MM’s fo’ #2?”
“Are you shittin’ me—sorry, Baby, excuse my French? Why the giant wage increase?”
“#2 is super hard—need lots more MMs!”
There was a labor dispute right in the middle of the bathroom that lasted thirty minutes. The child let out a thimble full of pee, demanded her payment of three M&M’s which the frustrated mother gave into—after all, a bargain is a bargain. The child immediately got off the toilet and proceeded to saunter butt-naked back into the playroom, sat down on the playroom rug, and promptly peed a week’s worth of urine all over the rug and started to grunt out a poop about the size that a forty-year-old man would produce.
“No, no, no. I’m the parent here,” screamed The Mother, as she grabbed the baby militant and plopped her naked behind back on the potty-chair.
“Listen Missy, I can tell when I’m being played. It is time to be potty-trained and that is that. You are going to sit here until that poop that I can actually see halfway poking out of your butt plops into the toilet and we make some progress. ‘Capiche’”?
An hour passed.
“What’s happening here? Where is the poop that was visibly poking out of your behind a little while ago?”
“I push it back inside with my fingers. Can I have 10 MM’s anyway?”
(This was soon discovered by The Parents to be a ruse of their Little Barbarian: Baby-girl would squeeze out the smallest deposit of urine to get the candy reward and then subsequently drop a grown man’s equivalent of a shit brick into her diaper while quietly playing with Sarah Finney off in a corner somewhere some ten minutes after leaving her potty-chair.)
“Oh for Pete’s sake! You are way overdo to be potty-trained. All your friends are trained. The other mothers are looking at me like I’m an unfit mommy. Come on kid—help a mother out. Besides, if you can negotiate like a fifty-year-old lawyer, you can learn to go to the toilet, ‘tout de suite.’”
“Nope! No way, Jose.”
“Come on, Sweetie, you don’t want to be a baby forever, do you? Don’t you want to grow up and be a big girl?”
“No! I’m okay being the baby. It works for me.”
The Mother and The Father were never, ever able to potty-train Baby-girl. I am convinced that there is a chapter in the Little Barbarian Manifesto that says:
“Comrade, it is very important if your older sibling does not break The Parents through sheer dominance, then the ball is in your court to wear them down through a full-court press of guerilla warfare. Initially acquiesce to whatever they ask you to do so that it looks as if you are the compliant child, and then never, ever do what you promised. This will work throughout your childhood covering your homework assignments, cleaning up hardened nail polish off the wooden floor of your bedroom, cleaning your room that will stay steeped in knee-deep dirty clothes until you’re an adult, or emptying the dishwasher.”
The Parents cajoled, they pleaded, they threatened, they cried, and finally gave up on ever potty-training their second child until a very wise old woman told them to lighten up because she had never seen a twenty-one year old wearing a diaper who wasn’t medically impaired. The M&M strategy did nothing for the potty-training process except turn Baby-girl into a life-long candy junkie because by the time she was finally potty-trained (by her five-year-old sister over a ten-minute span), the parental bribe was up to fifteen M&M’s for #1 and thirty-five M&M’s for #2—paid in two installments, due to the size of the teensy-weenie’s hands.
The Parents should have known that they were no match for Baby-girl and that she had an updated copy of the Little Barbarian Manifesto, when one day she was enjoying her afternoon respite watching Sesame Street while cuddling with her mother when Kermit the Frog started singing his trademark song, “It’s not easy being green.” The Mother was touched by the sweetness of the song, but the chubby, bi-racial toddler yanked the sippy-cup out of her mouth, pointed it at the TV screen in warrior-like defiance, and promptly announced to Kermit: “Yeah right, Frog! You think it not easy bein’ green? You should try bein’ light brown!”
Well, would you look at the time, Fetus-self? I haven’t even told you why I’m telling you this story about having kids. There is a method to my madness. Except, I can’t even begin to go into all of that at this late hour. Besides, I’ve yet to tell you about the War of the Worlds between Baby-girl and her sister. Stay tuned.
Until next week: Keep calm, stay focused, and grow bigger!
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