14 July 2005

happily occupied

For the past month, I've had the distinct pleasure of spending my days (really half-days) getting paid for a great deal of pleasure. First, copyediting, which many of you know is one of the delights, neither rare nor conventional, that I hold on par with things like full body massages and cotton candy, possibly even the election of a liberal president. Second, discussing girls and sex with my writer friend in this thinly veiled, pseudo-academic fashion which allows me and her to entertain, some might even say stroke, our dual notions of ourselves as nerdy brains and hottt chicks. And third, I get to hang out with old Blue Eyes, my writer friend's babe, here pictured somewhat begrudgingly modeling the winter hat sent to him this summer by his Californian grandparents.

Blue Eyes and I roll around on the floor a lot. We do something called "belly time" in which I lift him up onto his hands so that his arms are extended and tuck his knees under so that his legs are at a 90° angle, a.k.a. crawling position. Then, I get into the position too, and he and I pretend we're thinking about moving and laugh at each other until one or the other falls down (usually Blue Eyes), then we laugh some more. This is serious business, training for possibility of the crawl, which, the doctor says, will never come. Blue Eyes doesn't need to crawl, he just rolls. His body is so big, he just rolls once and he's wherever he wants to be. He can stand for hours, which would also include intermittent dancing, but his arms are proportioned to his body like those of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. When I say Blue Eyes is big, I mean to say that at 9-months he dwarfs the smallish 2-year-old I also babysit for, Web Man, who now receives Blue Eyes' hand me downs. Needless to say, the hat probably won't even make it to the cooler end of fall.

Other pastimes: banging on our bodies with a repetitive urgency and seriousness that would test the soundness of any structure, boat or building, chair or beast. We also make noise with our mouths. In lieu of supplying the default system of signification he will later no doubt need, rather than spending my days pointing and saying BALL or HORSE or GREEN or BUFFY, when Blue Eyes says "Hup!" and "Mmmmssppbbfft..." and "Arr arr baaaah," I say "Hup! Mmmmssppbbfft...Arr arr baaaah." And I might throw in a little "Doooot," or possibly even a "Raaah," with the long "a," since Blue Eyes does more with throat sounds than nasal. I hope I'm not delaying his verbal development; every once in a while I mumble a reluctant EAR or TOE. But perhaps overall I compensate by sticking to a frequent regiment of "belly time" training.

And it occurs to me, and this revelation might be due in part to the totally sexual and yet appropriate nature of my work environment, that the only time all of us big people generally get to be expressive in a nonverbal way is during sex. And sometimes that doesn't even happen, due to domestic situation (thin walls/floors/doors), partner preference ("Shhhh! You're weird!"), or, simply, a fastidious habit of silence. Sure, we all weave distinctive nonverbal cues into our daily speech, the "bahs" and the "whas" and the "hmmms," but still they are snagged by context into meaning something. There is something so satisfying about babbling along with a contented, or even discontented, baby. I've caught myself so wrapped up replicating Blue Eyes' whine that I hardly notice that it does, in fact, have a meaning, or at least a call for action. "I'm hungry, I'm tired, There's shit in my diaper, This floor sucks, Who ordered the yoghurt? And where's the goddamned ball?" Of course, these are the meanings I immediately slap on his sounds like scented stickers. I'm pretty sure Blue Eyes doesn't value me as much for my interpretive skills as he does for the funny dance I can make his froggy do to an old Irving Berlin tune I learned from Leon Redbone (who, coincidentally, was the voice of the Warner Brother's frog).

Without my walking stick,
I'd go insane.
I can't look my best,
I feel undressed without my cane.

Must have my walking stick,
for it may rain.
When it pours,
I can't be outdoors
without my cane.

If I ever left my house
without my walking stick,
well—it would be something
I could never explain.

Oh, the thing that makes me click
on lover's lane
Would go for nought, if I were caught
without my cane.



Blogger Shrew said...

what are you editing?

15 July, 2005 17:59  
Blogger Ms. Pipestem said...

Huh. Fascinating theory, about big people and verbal expression let out mostly only with the excuse of Baby. I wonder if it has anything to do with my recent fondness for Woof! Woof!ing -- in lieu of a baby to excuse my non-verbality, I spend my days with a dog.

23 July, 2005 15:20  
Blogger Who's the dourest of them all? said...

Well, I definitely do it with my monster. Meowing back. But I always have the sense that I'm playing with fire. I'm a little nervous that I have accidentally said, "Go fuck yourself," or "Your mother's ugly."

24 July, 2005 11:19  

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