The Baby Paradigm Combustion

Post CCIX

Here’s the story of Dumbo, Daisy Bell, and HAL.

Have you ever noticed how babies are a lot like HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey? Oh, you know how it is. One minute they seem all sweet and innocent and the next, they turn into maniacal killing machines hell-bent on giving you a rendition of ‘Daisy Bell’. I had my second cousin, once removed, over this week. She’s only six months old. She spent the entire hour staring at me with a really glum look on her face. It didn’t bother me too much at first because I’ve been getting that look off women my whole life. But then it started to remind me of 2001. That red dome staring at you, making you mad with bewilderment. I’m sure she started playing ‘Daisy Bell’ with her rattle. In fact, I became so convinced, the song started playing on a loop in my head. ‘Daisy, daisy, give me your answer do, I’m half crazy…’

She was very sweet, though. So very tiny. Her fingers were the size of my thumbnail. She had very sharp nails too, nails that she had plenty of fun digging in to me. Why do parents not cut their baby’s nails? ‘Oh, they wriggle around too much.’ Do it when they’re asleep, then! Admittedly, it’s weird when they’re older, but when they’re younger, who cares, they won’t remember. But you can’t shout at them because they get upset because they don’t understand that digging your claws into someone is only acceptable in low-rent crap like 50 Shades. Not that I’ve seen it. What? Hey, the only men that went to see it were ones with girlfriends. I do not have one. And even if I did, I would have told her in no uncertain terms where she could shove that movie ticket…

My second cousin was reasonably well-behaved, though. She has these massive eyes, the brightest of blue. Fluffy ginger hair. And she won’t hesitate to sneeze all over you. Oh, God, I’m reliving it. She was like that panda in that YouTube video. Except when a human baby sneezes, it’s like an explosion in a snot factory. She then proceeded to rub her nose all over my shirt. You see, this is why I don’t want children.

You could tell how young she is because she looked really confused after her sneeze. Like, she was so lost as to what just happened. She must have sneezed before but she acted as if she hadn’t. She looked a bit upset, too. I can’t imagine what it must be like to be so young the thing that frightens you the most is a sneeze. Just wait until she starts reading the newspaper. I’m a little out of touch, but I presume children still do that…

It wasn’t the end of the torment, though. No, she didn’t like any of the toys we gave her to play with. Apart from this giant moving ball of lights of sound. She liked kicking it. The thing she liked best was the rattle. Well, they always say the old toys are the best. What she liked most was hitting me with it. Even that didn’t make her smile, so I’m wondering why she did it. Boredom? Oh, gee, thanks. You should see the size of the bruise on my leg.

I decided to walk her around for a while to see if that would make her smile. I barely know her. It was only the second time I’d seen her. So maybe she was being very quiet and the like because she didn’t know me. And also because I’m terrible with children. I don’t do the baby talking. Or the cooing. Or the tickling. Or anything, actually. I just sit and play with them, and occasionally I ask a stupid question. Some babies like that – they’re independent. Others like a bit of company – and they’re the ones I falter with. But I couldn’t figure out my second cousin. We didn’t know what to make of each other. I don’t know if she was trying to figure me out because she was just as grumpy when she left as when she came.

She didn’t like me walking around with her. By that point, she had gotten so fed up with me, she wanted my mother to hold her. Mother had a hard time with her, too, but at least she smiled a couple times. I even left the room. Yet when I went back in, she put her arms out and did that grabby thing they do with their hands. She wanted me to hold her again. How strange. I thought she didn’t like me. I was even more perplexed.

So I took her into the garden, it was a nice day. She was so small and delicate I was terrified I was going to accidentally hurt her or upset her. I’m not good with children. Every second I was trying to guess what a parent would do. I have a lot of respect for parents. No harder job in the world. I thought, ‘take her out into the garden – that’s what a parent would do.’ Oh, boy, bad idea. The second I took her outside, she burst into tears. Oh God, the whole hour was a disaster. I don’t know why she started crying. I mean, she’s ginger and they don’t react well to sunlight, so maybe it was that…

She stopped crying when we went back inside. I showed her all the toys we have. Not interested. The soft toys. Not interested. It got to the point when I actually asked her, “What do you want to do? I really can’t tell.” She looked as perplexed as I did. All these adults treating her exceptionally well for six months and there I am. Not doing a good job at all. I felt sorry for her.

I used to help look after her older brother and he liked me. We used to go to the park and play on the swings. He played on the swings, I didn’t. Much. I used to feed him, too. Take him to the local beach. Things like that. We got on really well. Made each other laugh. Sure, all babies are different, but two from the same family? Children are impossibly illogical. I can’t figure them out.

Needless to say, my newest second cousin was probably bored. I just started asking her random questions to try to get a response out of her other than ‘glum despondence.’ “So, how’s your day been?” And she just stared at me, like it was a stupid question! Hey, they don’t come with a bloody manual for God’s sake!

And the thing is, I still love her. Those big blue eyes. Her ginger hair. Her tiny hands and feet. Her little button nose that covered me in copious amounts of goo. Her big Dumbo ears. I’m not mad at her for not liking me. She’s family. You can’t be mad at family. Not ever. And you can’t be mad at babies. They don’t know what they’re doing. Even when they sneeze all over you. Oh, gee, I’m reliving it again…

It would be worse if you were a parent, though. They do a lot more than just sneeze on you. As my brother will attest to. He has two sons. They’re coming to England next week. It’ll be the first time I’ve seen my newest nephew. I wonder if he’ll like me. Or sneeze on me.

And as for my second cousin, well, she spent her last ten minutes with us in my arms, frantically rubbing her head all over my shirt. She was sleepy.

Yet again, I have that effect on women…

American beatnik, hippie and writer, James ‘Ambrose Redmoon’ Hollingworth (1933-1996), once wrote: “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than one’s fear.”

Peace Out :|:


I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post. You can leave a comment and/or like this post below, or by clicking the title on the top of this post if you are on the archives page. Likes and follows greatly appreciated. Thanks.


Please feel free check out the latest posts from my other two blogs:

To Contrive & Jive
New Posts Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Click Here to Read the Latest Post

Hark Around the Words
New Posts Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Click Here to Read the Latest Post


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