Thursday, February 3, 2011


So last weekend my wife and I made some progress toward where we need to be to welcome another baby into the house. We ordered a new crib from a specialty store, then headed to IKEA for toddler furniture. The plan is to take a lot of the furniture currently in the little guy’s room and shift it over to the nursery, a setting for which much of it was originally intended (e.g., the changing table), and replace those items with more age-appropriate (and while we’re at it, arguably gender-specific) pieces. We came home with a very boyish-blue set of dresser, bookcase and nightstand as well as a white, green and wood toy-organizer. Well, we came home with all the component pieces of those articles, because, you know, IKEA.

And beyond that, so far I’ve put together the nightstand and put that in the little guy’s room, replacing the gliding footstool that was the mate of our dearly departed glider chair. The nightstand isn’t terribly flashy or exciting, but as a convenient place to set down books and bedtime snacks, it’s better than the inherently wobbly rocking-ottoman than formerly performed in that capacity. The little guy actually was fairly excited to fill up the single drawer of the nightstand with small board books.

Everything else is on hold because everything is part of the usual cascade of dependencies. It only makes sense to move the furniture out of the little guy’s room before assembling the replacements, but by that token it only makes sense to paint the nursery before moving any furniture into that room, and at the moment the nursery is about 90% emptied of its former office/spare bedroom contents, so … yeah. Getting there.

In the meantime we’re still trying to do the necessary expectation rearranging, especially where the little guy is concerned. We’ve unearthed a lot of baby toys which he has outgrown but of course recognizes as his own personal property. And he’s developed the disconcerting habit of answer questions as to whether or not he’ll share the stacking bowls or the musical caterpillar with the baby when she arrives with a resounding “No, these are mine.” The idea doesn’t send him into hysterical tantrums, at least, but he’s very matter-of-fact in his insistence that any new baby who happens to move in can find her own dang toys.

(Note to anyone who knows our family in Real Life: do NOT get us any baby toys!!! Yes the triple-exclamation is justified. We have, in industry terms, an outrageous buttload of baby toys already. The little guy will inevitably be persuaded to share. If any more Playskool plastic accretes under our roof I think I may very well metamorphose into a Weeble or something.)

Resistance is futile.  You will be meeskamooskalated.
What I should probably do, just to make my life a lot easier, is look around for a sharing-is-caring themed DVD of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, because that is the little guy’s latest obsession. It’s one I don’t mind, honestly, because it’s got some pretty catchy title music written and performed by They Might Be Giants. In fact the reason why the Clubhouse occurs to me as a potential solution to all my problems is that I’m already using it to steer the little guy in the appropriate direction on an almost daily basis. I say, “Let’s go upstairs for a bath!” and he shouts back “No!” I say, “Let’s do the Hot Dog Dance up the stairs for a bath!” and he shouts back “OK!” and just about bowls me over running for the steps. And then we climb the stairs while waving our arms and singing the song, which is how every episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse ends, and the little guy does an admirable job with the big finish AND totally cracks me up by adding his own little “Thanks for stopping by!” which is what Mickey always says post-song just before the fade to black.

Of course the trade-off for encouraging this deep and abiding love for a CGI-cartoon world with exactly seven inhabitants is that when I’m not actively trying to get the little guy to do a specific something, it’s kind of like living with a crazy person who never quite perceives reality the same way you do. He suggests doing the Hot Dog Dance sometimes, just as he suggests turning on the Silly Switch or taking a ride on Mickey’s train or going inside the Clubhouse, and he has very clear ideas about which things in our house are the stand-ins for these imaginary items but he doesn’t always clue me in:

“Go to the Clubhouse!”
“You mean the kitchen?”
“No! Clubhouse!”
“OK, you’re standing in the kitchen so I’m assuming the kitchen is the clubhouse …?”
“No! It’s not the kitchen! It’s the Clubhouse!”

And so on, and trying to navigate the ever-shifting fugue-scape is tricky. (The similarities to the Don Quixote/Sancho Panza dynamic, “Behold, a giant!” “You mean that windmill?” “No, a giant!” are not altogether lost on me, I assure you.)

But yeah, someone point me towards a DVD where Mickey and the gang learn how awesome it is to be an older sibling and rejoice in the simple pleasures of not bogarting the hand-me-downs, and I will let the little guy watch that thing on infinite repeat for as long as he likes.

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