Thank you for consenting to our visit.
In anticipation of our coming, I thought it best to brief you on certain key developments in the new arrival’s life – developments that necessitate substantial changes in modus operandi as compared to our last sojourn to your domicile. While, at first blush, this may seem like a prelude to parental chest puffing and a thinly veiled “my offspring is so smart/strong/stalwart” piece, let me assure you now that nothing could be further from the truth. Rather, look at this missive as a warning or a final attempt by yours truly to lead you to water and dangle you by your ankles into the lake. No, I can’t make you drink or move without leaving a forwarding address, but it will at least allow me to point and say “I told you so” when the time for pointing and saying “I told you so” arrives, which I have on good authority it will. Soon. Mere seconds after I unlatch the car seat, in fact.
If I may refresh your memory, when we last met, the entity known as “the baby” possessed a size and personality roughly akin to a boiled ham. Interaction with her started, and ended, with the occasional leaning over and cooing of such phrases as, “She’s so cute,” or, “She looks just like her mother,” or, “She smells sort of like an open air slaughterhouse in mid-July,” at which point one parent or the other would intervene – much to the collective relief of those assembled and the EPA.
Though we didn’t fully appreciate it at the time, this particular stage of development had substantial advantages. Chief among these was the baby’s lack of a reliable, high speed method of transportation. In the before time, one could set down the child and reasonably expect to collect her a scant few feet from her starting position. I’m sad to report those days are at an end. Now, she travels distances best described as “vast” at speeds best described as “excessive” and with a frequency best described as “all the time.” The other day I set her down, sat down to dash out this letter, and received a call from a Greyhound bus depot in Albuquerque. He asked if I had any relation to the baby running around the station with her arms outstretched shouting, “TICKLE TICKLE TICKLE.” She was starting to bother the other passengers. I told him I had no idea what he was talking about, and why didn’t he just keep her, and tried to hang up, but my wife was on the other line.
To return to the point, in the old days, the baby could be placed on the floor and reasonably counted on not to cause herself serious injury – aside from serving as an inadvertent speed bump. Now there is the real possibility setting her down will trigger an international incident. I’m legitimately worried she’ll board a plane to Moscow and TICKLE TICKLE TICKLE President Putin.
What I’m trying to say is that you’re going to want to engage in a little baby proofing prior to our arrival. And by baby proofing, I mean you are going to want to reevaluate how attached you are to any and all of your worldly possessions. If, at any point in the past, you’ve considered a vow of poverty, now is the time because she – “she” being the baby – is going to try and eat them – “them” being everything you own. And unless you know a way around Einstein’s theory of relativity, you will not always be fast enough to stop her. Understand this warning is issued not because I doubt your abilities but rather because I understand the full extent of hers. To give you an idea, I watched her try to eat the vacuum cleaner the other day. Worse, I only intervened because it was plugged in.
As you may have gathered by the TICKLE TICKLE TICKLE, the one benefit of the baby’s current stage of development is that her loquaciousness makes her fairly easy to track. However, every now and again, she will enter a state known as “radio silence,” which is a sort of quiet that fills us, her parents, with dread. The first time it happens, you will be pleased and relieved. You will assume, and not erroneously, that something has captured the child’s interest. You will assume, my friends, that she is playing quietly by herself, a cherubic halo glimmering about her head. Meanwhile, the reality is that she has just located the file where you keep your birth certificate, Social Security card, and winning Powerball tickets. While you sip tea, socialize, and marvel at how easy we make parenting look, the baby will be using a combination of tooth, claw, and drool to erase all evidence you ever existed.
Since, at present, you do not have children of your own, I will also offer some final thoughts on the act of baby proofing. Outlet plugs and the strategic use of high surfaces would be a fine start, but I’ve found private defense contractors lend an air of security that just can’t be matched by a plastic Wal-Mart baby gate. I’ve attached some phone numbers. Tell them you need help defending your property from a midget terrorist, and they’ll take it from there.
Anyway, that ought to do it. If we think of anything else, we’ll let you know.
Look forward to seeing you.
The Rampage Productions Baby Brigade