Hey, Stop Being An A-hole

Hi Baby,

I love you. I love you so much I can’t handle it.

(Imagine I am reading this to you in that exaggerated voice that you think is so funny.)

I love the way you giggle when the dogs walk into the room. I love the way you start flailing when you see daddy walk in the door. I love the special smile you reserve just for your inner circle. You make people feel special when you smile at them. I love you so much it aches almost much as it feels lovely to know that loving somebody can make you feel so lovey.

And it’s because I love you so much that I’m writing this letter. Also because you wouldn’t understand any of this no matter how I communicated it to you so there’s also that. You are only eight months old.

In eight months’ time, you’ve gone from scrunched-faced cone head to chubby, big bootied baby. Every major development you’ve made has been on your own time. It’s been the most thrilling experience of our lives to watch you grow and learn and become more and more of a person every day.

These words are hard to say out loud. I need to tell you this:

You’re being kind of an a-hole lately.

You are. And it’s cool: you’re a baby. It happens. You will be able to use the “I’m a kid” excuse many, many times over the next several years.

Enjoy it. There is so, so much I am willing to let slide because you’re a kid.

Like, I still expect you to be polite and kind and compassionate. But “He’s a kid, kids are messy” is pretty reasonable to me and I don’t really care how sloppy you get when you’re playing outside as long as you clean up when you get inside.

You know what I do care about though?

The blood-drawing on my boobs thing you’ve got going on lately. I know teeth are exciting. I KNOW. They are very cool and can do so many things. Steamed carrots! Sweet potatoes fries! But biting boobs is not good manners. Please never bite another person unless you are afraid for your personal safety or they have asked you to bite them.

And hey, about the fake out scream at bedtime — what’s the deal with that? You fall asleep within 60 seconds of being kissed goodnight. I know you would rather be held while you sleep. I get it. I would also like somebody to hold me while I sleep, existing solely for my own personal comfort, ignoring their own bodily needs. But (most) grownups don’t wear diapers and don’t have that luxury.

Also, you’re crawling now! That is so exciting for us to watch. Could you please stop only crawling when there are electrical cords in sight, though? That is a kind of anxiety I never knew I was capable of feeling. I now live in constant fear of a television falling on your head. I thought about asking your dad how he felt about just getting rid of the TVs, but then I remembered Twin Peaks just started.

Please take this criticism as constructive, Bubbers. I just want you to be the best, happiest, most well-adjusted baby ever.

No pressure.

I’m going to go call Grandma and apologize for all the times I was probably a jerk as a baby now.

Love you, baby.


Life Lesson For My Son, From Comic Books

Hey, bub.

I’m sorry we don’t have a more original nickname for you yet than bub. We’re working on it. Aunt Allyson suggested I write some life advice for you, using panels from Thor as a guide. I haven’t read much Thor but I have read a fair amount of other things.

I hope you find value in the advice I’ve curated here for you. The books these panels come from are sitting on the bookcase in the living room, waiting for you when you’re old enough.

Clint Barton/Hawkeye

You are the culmination of the people you choose to spend your time with.

Clint shows us how much can be accomplished through effort and force of will. When he’s not working with the Avengers, he’s no longer Hawkeye — he’s Hawkguy. He’s Clint.

Clint is as much of a hero as Hawkeye. He’s the kind of guy that takes in stray dogs and buys his apartment building from the gangsters that own it. He’s not magical, he doesn’t heal, but he does what he can because he feels compelled to help in whatever way he’s able.

Natasha Romanoff (Black Widow)

You are under no obligation to be the person you were yesterday.

Black Widow (Volume 1), Marvel

Life is an unending cycle of birth, growth, and death. Environmental factors, social factors, economic factors — with change comes growth. You will change. You will change many times over your life.

This does not mean you should change swiftly and easily, though, when it comes to your personal convictions. Your beliefs will change and change again as they become increasingly more informed by your experiences and studies.

That means you’re willing to entertain new perspectives and adapt as necessary. And Bub, that’s great.

Sophie & Lying Cat (Saga)

You are not defined by things that happen to you.

The story behind this panel is an intensely emotional and difficult one. This is a story you won’t be ready for until you are much older, but the message is clear and important: you are not what happens to you.

You are not ever what happens to you, and the people that love you will always be there to remind you.

John Constantine (Hellblazer)

Effort counts.

You will be flawed. You will have quirks, like yelling for attention in the middle of the important part of a TV show. That’s okay. I talk too much during shows sometimes too.

What’s important is that you try to not talk while people are watching TV.

You’ll slip up once in a while. You’ll be distracted or excited and forget in your excitement that your excitement may be problematic for the people around you.

That’s okay. What’s important is that you try. Always be trying.