Monday, November 24, 2014

Supernan

       I'm Supernan. It's true; I'm a superhero. I became aware of my super abilities only recently. It came as quite a shock actually, because I have never been particularly athletic or prone to heroics. My physical prowess was always limited to some small skill in volleyball and bowling, and that was when I was a teenager. Nowadays, about the most strenuous thing I can manage is a leisurely walk around the block pushing a stroller (and even that less than Olympian activity primes me for a nap). Never the less, in recent days it has come to my attention that I am capable of superhuman feats beyond the abilities of mere mortals. Perhaps I have always been capable of the impossible, but just never knew it. More likely, I have only recently acquired such powers, through agents or agencies unknown, and it came upon me so gradually that I was unaware of my special-ness until it was too obvious to be ignored.  It is always thus. The gifted have greatness thrust upon them and are no more able to resist their destiny than Forest Gump. Feathers in the wind.


       So the fact is, I am now Supernan. And what, you may ask, has prompted me to leap to such an unusual conclusion? The evidence is apparent and overwhelming. I have known for some time that my powers of hearing have increased, in fact risen to the level of super ability, and I wrote about it in an earlier post (see I Heard That -May 19th). But that can be attributed to several possible causes which have nothing to do with my being superhuman. On the other hand, in light of recent events, my superhuman-ness cannot be totally discounted as the origin of this ability, and I am reserving judgement at this point. Super hearing is not all that impressive or useful anyway. I can think of a lot of powers more desirable, like a beam of energy from your eyes, maybe, or the ability to move objects with your mind. I don't see anything like either of those as being likely, however, and there is no evidence that I have acquired such gifts, at least not as of right now. So let me tell you of the powers I do have. I discovered them just the other day and it's incredible really.

Here is what happened. I had gone to the kitchen to refill Kiley's sippy cup with apple juice. She was out in the family room, which connects to the kitchen, with a half-wall between them. She is close to eleven months old now and getting pretty good at getting around. She's a big climber too, as I've mentioned before, and you have to keep half an eye on her at all times or she might end up standing on top of the TV or tight roping along the back of the sofa. We have a sectional sofa in the family room, one of those "L" shaped deals, with a big ottoman that I push into the angle of the "L" to create a larger open floor area in the family room for Kiley to play in. It also creates a wide expanse of cushiony sofa/ottoman for Kiley to romp on.

         Like I said, she likes to climb and this cushiony plateau is ideal for her to indulge that desire. She gets up there and runs around on the plushy softness and we wrestle and roughhouse up there where a fall onto the cushions is fun for her. I don't let her up there unless I am with her because the fall from the plateau to the floor is eighteen inches and could result in a serious boo-boo. However, I am of the opinion that it is desirable to allow small children to indulge in somewhat risky behavior, as long as you are there to supervise and prevent any ridiculousness. It's important for them as they grow, to be encouraged to be confident in experimenting and in exploring the world. This is especially true for girls who are not as naturally inclined to risky behavior as are boys. (Anyone who has raised boys knows exactly what I am talking about). Risk takers are winners, and besides, "a child without courage is like a night without stars." For this reason we often play such little games as "Superbaby!!!!" When playing "Superbaby!!!!", Kiley stands on the plateau while I kneel in front of it on the floor. She then runs, or the eleven-month-old equivalent there of, and dives off the ottoman into my waiting arms while I yell "Superbaby!!!!". At not quite eleven months old the "dive" off of the ottoman is more like a "fall" off of the ottoman, but you get the idea. It's fun for her.

        Well, like I said, I had gone to the kitchen to refill her sippy cup and Kiley was in the family room about fifteen feet away, watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. As I am returning the apple juice container to the fridge, having refilled "sippy", I catch motion in my peripheral vision. I turn to see Kiley peering over the half-wall at me, which can only mean one thing - she is standing on the ottoman! Boy, are they quick when they want to be! As our eyes meet, time stands still, and I realize that those are not the sweet, innocent, eyes of Kiley that I am looking into, they are the daring, fearless eyes of "Superbaby!!!!". Oh, sh_t!

        Everything seems to move in slow motion. I don't remember dropping the sippy cup as I begin to move toward Kiley, but I remember hearing it hit the kitchen floor and the splashing sound it made before I had finished my first step. Kiley has, at this point, turned her head away from me, and begun, again in seemingly slow motion, to move forward. Using my "I mean business" voice, I yell her name, but she doesn't even seem to hear me as she takes a step toward the edge of the ottoman. By the time I take two more running steps and reach the end of the half-wall, "Superbaby!!!!" has reached the edge of the ottoman, and I realize, "I am not going to make it!"  Stopping her from taking the fateful leap is no longer possible. "Superbaby!!!!" is about to fly. The only hope now is to break her fall, but I immediately realize that this is impossible too. At this critical juncture there is a good ten feet and the arm of the sofa separating us, and she is beginning her leap. If I was eighteen and everything went absolutely right, I could possibly dive over the arm of the sofa and, reaching out, get one hand under her before she hit the floor. But I haven't been eighteen for forty years and there is no way I can "dive" even half that distance. Still, desperation is the mother of hope, and as "Superbaby!!!!" takes flight, I dive.

        As my feet leave the safety of the floor, I remember thinking, in a surprisingly calm way, that I'm probably only going to make it about halfway to my preferred destination. This means I will probably land with my abdomen on the arm of the sofa, breaking a fifty-eight year old rib or two and possibly sustaining internal injuries. At this particular moment, I am probably in more danger of injury than Kiley is. But, amazingly, this does not happen. I clear the arm of the sofa with room to spare and manage to get not just one hand but both hands under Kiley before she gets anywhere near the floor! Incredible!

        I'm stunned for a moment. I'm lying there on the floor, on my stomach, with my knees and feet on the sofa. Kiley is laughing and attempting to climb back up onto the ottoman for another "go" when I suddenly realize what has just happened. You, sitting and reading this in the safety and comfort of your own home, no doubt immediately saw the reality of what had transpired. With all of the excitement and stress, however, it took me a few moments to realize it. The fact remains that there is no possible way that I could have made that dive half way across the family room in the wink of an eye, not at my age. There can only be one possible conclusion – I flew! Yes, you must see it too. I flew! I can fly! And I have super speed too! But that is secondary to the fact that I can fly. I've always wanted to be able to fly, ever since I was a kid. Who hasn't? And now I can! I can fly! I CAN FLYYYYYY!!!!!!! When I told my husband about it he looked dubious, so I offered to prove it to him by jumping off the garage roof, in fact I insisted on it. He held me down until I promised not to, but he will be working this coming weekend and I'll give it a go then.

        So now I'm Supernan with super speed and the ability to fly. The only thing to do now is to hone my flying skills and figure out what to do with my super-ness. Crime fighting is so passe'. It will have to be something bigger, something for the benefit of all mankind. Maybe I can figure out a way to simultaneously finish the XL Pipeline and halt global warming, you know, placate the green and pro-energy movements at the same time and shut them both up for a change. I'll have to come up with a super hero uniform, though. I'm leaning toward something in a pink spandex with a big "N" on the chest. Getting my butt to look good in spandex might be a challenge but I'm starting to think I can probably do just about anything. After all, I can fly can't I?

Nan

Monday, November 17, 2014

What Are You Watching?

         Kid's shows. Do you let your preschoolers watch TV? I do. I know there are those who don't let their children watch TV, who cling to the old but bizarre notion that watching TV is bad for kids. That was the "in" thing to aver back when, and has been a common wisdom for decades, but I think it is grounded in unthinking prejudice and herd mentality rather than any kind of objective facts. It just sounds educated and caring when you mouth anti-TV dogma, but I don't buy it. There is nothing wrong with using the TV to entertain your kids as long as you are not using it as a baby sitter and a substitute for personal interaction (at least not too much). And if you are the type to overuse the TV for those purposes your kids are going to be screwed up whether they watch TV or not.

        That said, not all programming is equal, of course. There are good shows and bad shows. What is good and bad is subject to individual taste, I'm sure, but even so, there are some really bad kid's shows out there. Have you noticed? I mean really lame ones. Some are so bad that I can't imagine that they could possibly have any viewers. At least that's what I thought before I started hanging around with Kiley.

        Like many people, I have the TV on all the time. Even if I am not watching anything, the TV is on. (This speaks very highly of the state of modern electronics. The TV is on all day every day for years on end and never needs to be repaired. Incredible!)  Maybe my TV addiction says something about a need for constant stimulation, or an aversion to being alone, or some other psychic failure but I'm not worrying about it. I usually have the news or some DYI program on. I like house renovation and house buying programs too, and crime investigation shows, you know, the true life ones where some horrible example of the dark underbelly of human nature is delved into. But most of the time I am busy doing something else and not watching anything, it's just on for background noise.

        When Kiley started hanging around I changed my choices of background noise. Even if she could talk or understand English, I don't think what is happening on the news would be relevant for her, and the dark underbelly of human nature is certainly inappropriate for a less-than-one-year-old. So I switched to kid's shows for background, and as luck would have it, there is a vast pile of inane programming to choose from.

        I'm a big advocate of pulling the band-aid off quick, getting the hard stuff over with as soon as possible. So let's get the controversy out of the way right from the get-go. If I'm going to stir up the wrath of the masses let's do it now. Sesame Street sucks, okay? Ever since it's debut a billion years ago, Sesame Street has been proclaimed the ultimate kid's show. But it's not. It's just a clever puppet show disguised as educational TV so parents would make their kids watch it and not feel guilty about using the TV as a baby sitter. If it weren't for The Muppets the show would have never even gotten off the ground so spare me the fake education and just give me The Muppets. Attempting to create a learning experience out of every little thing is boring. Math is boring, even when puppets do it. If you want to learn to count go to school. Elmo is okay, but I don't want my tax dollars spent on this junk. Sesame Street is a bigger con game than Bernie Madoff had going. They make hundreds of millions on Sesame Street merchandising and they need my hard earned tax dollars to bankroll their crummy show? It's thievery. Come on PBS, knock it off! Having puppets steal for you is pretty low. And yes, Obama, I am waging a war on Big Bird. Bring him on, Thanksgiving is coming.

        Okay, let's get down to the real kid's shows. I surfed through the children's programming to find what I liked, so let me mention a few. I liked "Peter Rabbit" for one. I like the way it looks, warm and kind of fuzzy. There is also a bit of adventure and tension due to all of the nefarious characters out to get Peter and his siblings – the farmer, the fox, the cat.

        Sheriff Callie's Wild West is good. I like the way Callie handles herself. She has that magic lasso and all. Sheriff Callie is also the only sane critter in the whole town. Everyone else is one kind of lunatic or another who needs a strong woman (or cat) to keep them out of trouble. There's just one thing – how come every time Sheriff Callie sings "Yippee-ki-oh-ki-yay" I think of Bruce Willis?


        Doc McStuffins is great. If you haven't seen it, Doc is a little girl who has set up a medical clinic for toys. When no one else is around but Doc, toys come to life, and every episode she ends up having to fix one of her charges that become broken in some way. What I like about it is not the way the toys transform, though they do have cute personalities, but rather the way Doc transforms. Under normal circumstances Doc is just a kid with parents as authority figures (and yes, even they call her Doc), but when she is alone with the toys, she becomes the authority figure. Doc becomes the grownup with all of the answers and her toys are like children, depending on Doc for everything. I think its' good that children can see another child as a capable authority figure (Doc can fix anything), as well as pleasant, caring and kind.

        Tinkerbelle is also good. It is beautifully drawn, even if it is CGI, and the characters and the world they live in are beautiful too. All of the fairy girls have such beautiful faces and are so graceful when they fly. The plots are typical Disney stuff but the look is charming. And that's the trouble with these kid's shows. The content is purposely juvenile so it is hard for an adult to determine what shows a child would find interesting. Most of the kid's shows I like, I like because of the way they look not because of the infantile plots.  What would Kiley like? That's the question. And the answer is, believe it or not, Mickey Mouse.

        Kiley loves "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse", a basically mindless offering on the Disney channel. I hate this show. All of the characters from a hundred years ago are still there with Mickey – Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Donald and Daisy Duck, and the villain Pete. The characters have changed somewhat from their original conception. Goofy is not just goofy anymore; he's downright stupid. Goofy does a lot of shtick revolving around his "smelly" shoes and socks, and for some reason Goofy is forever losing his pants. If I didn't know better I'd think he was doing it on purpose. The car crashes, Goofy loses his pants, fall off a ladder, off go the pants, dive into the pool; Goofy's pants are floating. So Goofy spends much of the time stripped down to his skivvies and said skivvies have pineapples on them. It's weird. I'm tired of looking at Goofy's underwear.

        Donald Duck, who was always manic in the past, is now simply insane. He never has any idea what is actually going on and destroys everything he touches.  The other characters are always having to console him for his stupidity and continuous failure at everything he does. Daisy Duck, on the other hand, who was never more than a minor character in the past, is now a major force in the Mickey Mouse world. Yes, Daisy Duck! She is smart, brave and resourceful (as far as cartoon ducks go). She even has an alter ego, Daisy O'Dare, who is a Laura Croft kind of character that has whole episodes of the program devoted to her.

        Pete, who is huge compared to the other characters, looks kind of like a bear but is actually a cat. He is the villain of the show, though even the villain is dumbed down in Mickey's world. Pete's villainy amounts to little more than taking advantage of the others whenever possible and bemoaning the fact that he is unpopular. Going for a walk, everyone? There's Pete setting up a tollbooth and charging for passage. Opening a boutique, Minnie? There's Pete stealing your best bows to sell in his own shop. Once in a while Pete will have an epiphany and realize that popularity is linked to caring and friendship but the lessons never take and the next episode he's right back to being a prick. What do you expect from a cat in a mouse's world?

        And then there's Mickey. This mouse is an absolute megalomaniac. He thinks everything is all about him, and you know what, it is all about him! This is Mickey's world and everyone else just lives in it. Everywhere you go on this show there are images of Mickey. The clubhouse itself is a giant set of Mickey ears with all kinds of weird crap going on inside, and all of it having to do with Mickey. The other characters all adore Mickey (especially Minnie); they practically worship at the shrine of Mickey. Mickey is the undisputed leader of the club that's made for you and me and whatever Mickey wants Mickey gets.  It is a straight up cult of personality. I keep expecting Mickey to put on sunglasses and start handing out Kool-Aid.

And yet Kiley loves this show. It is, by far, her favorite. When the theme song starts she goes into a dance and is mesmerized as long as Mickey is on the screen. I don't know if it's the way Mickey looks, or Mickey's voice, or what it is, but small children have loved Mickey for practically ever, and it doesn't look like it's going to stop anytime soon. We got the Mickey Mouse figures for Kiley to play with and she loves them. She plays with them all the time. She especially loves Minnie. She has Minnie Mouse pajamas, Minnie Mouse shirts, Minnie Mouse socks. Minnie is pleasant enough in a wide-eyed sort of way, but she is also vain and kind of scatter-brained.

        At first I didn't think Kiley was old enough to understand anything that was going on in Mickey's Clubhouse. I figured she was just attracted to the music and bright colors, but I was wrong. Though, at not yet one, she can't possibly be following even the minimal plots offered by the show, she is still picking up simple concepts from what she is watching. It's Pete. She doesn't like Pete. She doesn't like the toy figure of Pete, even though it is smiling and looks as pleasant as the other figures. The Pete figure is not allowed to play with the other figures. When we put the toys away the Pete figure is not allowed to be in the same box as the other figures.  Pete is persona non grata. She has somehow figured out that Pete is not a nice guy. It must be subliminal. Is it intentional as well, some kind of experiment? How much have the Disney scientists learned about the minds of children over the past millenium of Disney programming? How much have they learned about manipulating those minds? What's really going on down in the Disney labs? Who knows what else Kiley is picking up from these "shows"? What other messages are creeping into the little minds of the unwary? To what predetermined end does such slavish devotion to a seemingly harmless icon lead? Where's Annette and what have you done to her?

        You know what? I've changed my mind. TV is bad for kids. Turn it off! God only knows what warped view of reality is coming through the tube. Insanity, stupidity, vanity, megalomania, smelly socks - talk about your dark underbelly of human nature. And all from a cartoon! Don't let Mickey get his hooks into our little ones. In the end, there is only room for one God in the universe and he doesn't have ears like that. And Goofy, there are children present for God's sake, put your damn pants on!



Nan

Monday, November 10, 2014

Snuggy

        "Security" is a good word. Its uses are legion in advertising and government because it is such a good word. It’s a warm and fuzzy word that conveys competence, protection, reliability, trustworthiness, and makes us feel, well, secure, especially about things that are scary or worrisome. Thus, our masters in Washington use terms like "National Security" when talking about spies and the military; "Social Security" when talking about old people; "Border Security" when talking about illegal immigration; "Homeland Security" when talking about terrorism; and "National Security Adviser" when talking about a deceitful sycophant. All of this despite the fact that none of these things provide all that much security anymore. The military is being gutted; Social security is bankrupt; the border is as porous as Sponge Bob; and Homeland Security is now primarily an excuse to frisk our two-year-olds at the airport.

Still, security is a great word because we all desire security. From the eighty-year- old granny worried about her fixed income to the traumatized five-year-old sucking her thumb on the first day of school, security is an important human need. Kiley, like every human, craves security, but, unlike us adults, she doesn't need a military, or a border patrol, or an airport frisker to provide her with the security she needs. All she needs is a little eighteen-inch-square piece of cloth with the tiny head and arms of a bear sticking out of the center of it, (kind of like a stuffed bear with a little blanket for a body), to provide her with all of the comfort and security she requires. It provides no protection. It provides no competence. It provides no reliability or trustworthiness. The only thing it provides is a sense of security, and it does that one thing extremely well. It is security incarnate, and its name is "Snuggy".



From time immemorial small children have been using inanimate objects to provide them with a sense of security. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Neanderthal Baby had an old piece of Wooly Mammoth hide to cling to at naptime. In the past, I'm sure everyone remembered them fondly, but the "security blanket" was something that was merely tolerated by parents, sometimes even discouraged as a sign of weakness. It wasn't until the comic strip Peanuts highlighted Linus's obvious addiction that the security blanket became an American icon. Ever since then the "blanky, or "wooby", or "lovey" or whatever name we or our toddlers came up with, has been an indispensable item, an integral part of the family.

How important a part of the family it is can't be overstated. Kiley loves Snuggy. Kiley needs Snuggy. Kiley cannot be without Snuggy. When she is hurt, or sad, or sick Snuggy is a helpful assistant in making her feel better. Any other time Snuggy is simply out of mind. You might find poor Snuggy on the floor, or under the sofa, or carelessly cast aside anywhere at all when Kiley is busy with other things in her life. At naptime or bedtime, however, Snuggy is absolutely indispensable. There is no sleep without Snuggy. There is no peace without Snuggy. So Snuggy has to be available at all times and nothing must ever happen to Snuggy.

Because of its indispensability and the duty it is required to perform, Snuggy is often, shall we say, less than perfectly clean in appearance. Despite the fact that Snuggy is the recipient of numerous unsavory substances – puke, pee, snot, tears, milk, jelly, or just plain old dirt – getting it into the washing machine is a difficult thing that requires subterfuge and misdirection to accomplish. Small children are often extremely protective of their woobys and if they become aware that you are about to do anything as drastic as putting their most precious possession into the washer, they are often horrified, and will have none of it. I don't know if this is because they think the washing machine will hurt Blanky or that they merely prefer a dirty Wooby to a clean one. Snuggy's familiar smell, I believe, is half the appeal.


Needless to say, nothing must ever happen to make Snuggy unavailable when called upon to perform its duties. I once made the mistake of letting that unfortunate circumstance occur. It was an accident, an oversight. My husband (Uncle Tom) and I had taken Kiley on a trip to the mall. (Taking Kiley to the mall is like taking Kiley to the zoo. We're not there to shop, per se, we're there to show Kiley a good time.) We took her to the Disney store, which she loves. Uncle Tom pushed her in the stroller real fast, making the sounds of revving engines and squealing tires while making turns too sharp for my comfort and popping wheelies by the fountain, all while Kiley shrieked with delight. We sat her on the coin operated rides without turning them on. We took her to the bookstore, Uncle Tom's favorite store, and rode up to the second floor in the elevator. That's where the children's books are, which never made any sense to me. Why put the children's books on the second floor, which requires herding children onto the escalator in order to get to them? Then we stopped of at the food court for a snack, and went home. Perfect!

The trip to the mall was, indeed, perfect. We all got out of the house for a while, Kiley had lots of fun, and she was now primed for a good, long nap. Except for one thing. As I am unloading the car, I cannot find Snuggy! Panic sets in and I become more and more frantic as I tear the car apart in search of what cannot, under any circumstances, be missing. But it is! The worst has happened! We lost Snuggy at the mall! I briefly entertain the possibility of returning to the mall and searching it from top to bottom but abandon this as impractical. There is nothing else to do except attempt naptime without Snuggy. This, of course, is doomed to failure. Kiley eventually cries herself to sleep but it doesn't last long, and she soon wakes up miserable. Added to this unpleasantness, I now have to face her mother and inform her of my incompetence and the unforgivable thing that I let happen. Fortunately, her mother was not upset. In fact she has a spare Snuggy at home for just such an occurrence. The wise mother is prepared for all contingencies.

The fact that an inanimate object can cause such potential trouble and be so important to our children and our selves is remarkable. What is it about a stuffed animal, blanket, or sometimes even a favorite toy that makes it indispensable? What magic transforms lifeless matter into a beloved friend? In the world of psychology these wondrous things are known as "transitional objects" and the psychology explanation for them is complicated but fascinating. Apparently, as far as I am able to understand it, infants do not initially see their mothers as separate entities but rather as merely a different aspect of themselves (not hard to understand since it was just a short while ago that they were actually physically connected). During this early phase, mother brings to the infant whatever it needs and desires. Because it sees the mother as just another part of itself, this creates the illusion that wishing for a thing creates the thing desired, and with this illusion comes a sense of power (referred to as subjective omnipotence). As it grows, the child begins to realize that things are either "me" or "not me" and that the mother is actually separate from its self. With this realization comes a sense of loss, the loss of part of itself, the most powerful part, and therefore, a loss of power. The child becomes aware that it is dependent on others to satisfy its needs and with this realization comes anxiety. It takes an extended time for the child to fully separate itself from the mother in particular, and to bridge the gap between the "me" and the "not me" in general. To relieve the anxiety that accompanies this transition a child will often create a "transitional object" (Snuggy) that embodies all of the attributes of the part of itself that it has lost – the mother. Not only does creating this "transitional object" temporarily bridge the widening gap between itself and the mother, but also returns to the child a sense of power, the power to once again, through fantasy, create what it desires. As the child develops further it is able to bridge the gap between the "me" and the "not me", between the self and the mother. At this point the transition is complete and the "transitional object" is no longer needed. Snuggy once again becomes inanimate. Even so, it often retains sentimental value for the child, which is understandable considering all that they have been through together.

So, with all of that under our belts, let's all enjoy, indeed love, Snuggy while we can, for "Snug" will not forever be what it is now. The magic will inevitably fade, and whatever pixie dust it is that lends it those special powers of security will dissipate along with Kiley's need for them. And remember moms, it isn't that often dingy, smelly old rag that holds such a special place in your little ones' hearts. That sometimes nasty, though beloved, object of affection is merely an icon, an avatar if you will, a symbolic representation to all the Kileys of the world of something far greater. Its not Snuggy that they long for, and cling to, and can't be without – its you.

Nan

Monday, November 3, 2014

Crankenstein

        There is a monster in my house. I'm not speaking metaphorically, here. I am absolutely serious. I am talking about a real monster like Frankenstein or the Wolfman. Although it has terrorized my domicile for some time now, I came to be aware of its true nature only recently, for it is endowed with the ultimate camouflage, the uncanny ability to appear to be what it is not. For many months now I have made the mistake of taking this "changeling" at face value, accepting it for what it seems to be, what it pretends to be, rather than what it truly is. In outward appearance it resembles nothing more frightening than a small, harmless, even affectionate child; a cherubic ten month old that answers to the name of "Kiley". This, however, is merely a fa├žade, a disguise adopted to lull the unwary into a false sense of security, and pave the way for the beast within to emerge. And emerge, it does. Like Larry Talbot in the light of the full moon, like doctor Jekyll after drinking the potion, like a Magwai after a good hosing down, my seemingly angelic charge has the ability to transform from an innocent and harmless babe in arms into the ultimate in horrifying fussiness – "Crankenstein".

Don't let the cute little smile fool you...


Everyone has a bad day now and then. We all get moody, cranky, depressed, what have you. When we adults are faced with a bad day, no matter what the cause, we just have to cope with it. Unfortunately babies aren't good at coping. That's something that has to be learned, it's a matter of self-control and comes only through experience.  Babies, because they are what they are, lack self-control and coping skills. And so, when baby has a bad day everyone in the vicinity has a bad day.

If there is one thing that babies know how to do, it's how to have a bad day. Teething, diaper rash, vaccinations, colds, or any number of other unpleasantries can send the best of babies into the depths of despair and they are all too happy to drag you down there with them. This can be very unsettling, because babies can be so great. Kiley can be as sweet as Tupelo honey. Butter wouldn't melt in her mouth, happy, affectionate, easy to please and eager to please, a joy to have around. But when she has a bad day, look out! And there is no in between. She can be absolutely hot and cold, pleasant as can be one day and a first class ditch witch the next; agreeable as can be in the morning and impossible in the afternoon, or vice versa; and all without warning.

        So when "Crankenstein " emerges there is really very little that can be done. Oh, I do my best to lighten her mood and keep her happy – you know, the usual, I play with her, read to her, keep her occupied as best I can, but it's all like holding a cross in front of Dracula. It keeps the monster at bay but doesn't change its nature. Fortunately, Magwais eventually dry out, and the moon can't be full all the time, so the best strategy for battling "Crankenstain"' is to keep her occupied as much as possible and wait for the monster to recede. Still, there are times when the only effective strategy for controlling "Crankenstein" is to rouse the local villagers into a torch-carrying mob and drive the beast back into its lair. I'm sure that's what they mean when they say, "It takes a village to raise a child."

Nan