Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Most Interesting People In the World Are 1-Year-Olds

No disrespect to the old codger in the beer commercial, but the most interesting people in the world are 1-year-olds.

They are all uniquely shrouded in mysterious layers. Nobody knows what they are doing. Nobody knows what they are thinking. Nobody knows what in the world they are say-ing. Contradictions abound. They are often too tired to sleep, too hungry to eat, too busy playing with their ding-a-lings to realize the tub has been drained. Everybody knows when they are angry, but nobody ever knows why.

(Maybe your 22-and-a-half-month-old who studies Muzzy 3 hours a day and knows sign language can effectively communicate why he just spent the last two hours in the back of the airplane screaming and kicking. But he didn't, so I'd ask for a refund. My 15-month-2-week-4-day-old can never tell us what's wrong, even when he lumbers into the kitchen with a bloody lip and a bent fork. They are both 1-year-olds.)

To be fair, infants also are mysterious and helpless, but you can't hand an infant a brand new ice cream cone, ask her to walk 4 steps over to the picnic table, and end up with dirt-and-grass flavored ice cream, so 1-year-olds are slightly more interesting.

What makes these young lads and lassies tick? How do I get through to one? I've had two full years of practice talking to 1-year-olds and still can't talk to this one. Surely there is something more to this kid than in the months after his conception, he often inspired the phrases "zone defense" (way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way too often) and "you need to get that thing snipped."

What is it? I don't know. I do know that if the recently concluded NFL draft ever expanded to include 10 or so rounds where you could only pick 1-year-olds, my kid probably wouldn't get drafted. But he might latch on somewhere as a free agent. There is room in the league for someone who ranks in the 95th percentile in nearly everything, from head circumference to appetite to throwing the keys in the toilet. NFL scouts would applaud his great "motor," especially when they see him in the bathtub and his parents have to wear trench coats. But he can also play nice and, while you're washing someone else's hair, gently drop a soaked washcloth into your crotch.

As a sports fan, it's too early yet to tell where he is headed. He dutifully attends his siblings' soccer games, double-fisting their designated post-game treats as they play and he sits in our wagon-stroller that is half the size of a minivan. When he's finished everyone else's snacks, he gets out of the wagon and, all bundled up to handle the sub-30-degree temps, toddles and stumbles around like the Michelin Man after a tire-sniffing bender.

But he's a sharp cookie, too. At the soccer games he frequently engages us in the riotously entertaining "How close can I get to abduction?"  party game by walking away from the scene, then running away from the scene when he's noticed. Per the rules, he only returns to you when you don't look at him, but he knows deep down, you can't take the chance, as small as it is, that someone won't swipe him away as you're busy shoving hot dogs in your face pretending to ignore him.

More importantly, he also knows his brother and sister are horrible at slow-playing it and scream bloody murder when he crosses the walking path 10 feet away. The chase is on. Hilarity ensues. Cue the Benny Hill music, speed up the video. Back in the wagon, son, you can wrench your back all you want.

So I don't really know what I have yet in this little 1-year-old package... a little bundle of joy, a little spitfire, a little Dickens, a little evil genius, a little of everything. I doubt he's as complicated as his dad makes him out to be. If anyone else has their own 1-year-old figured out, though, congratulations, we're all ears.

No really, it's half the size of a Dodge Grand Caravan.

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