Playing With Baby’s Mind

Just before loopy time tonight, we were all in the living room, on the floor playing.  Lillian got up, went to the couch, grabbed a pillow, came back, and plopped down, resting her head on the pillow sideways.  Maddie, who’s usually oblivious to such stuff, got up, went to the couch, grabbed the other pillow (which was about as big as she was) to her chest, stumbled back, and collapsed tummy first near her Mamma.  Maddie’s face was buried in the pillow, so she was safe.

Being tired ourselves, and easily impressed and entertained, we laughed.  Maddie got it into her head that she had done something right.  So up she gets, then plop, down she goes again, already laughing in anticipation that Mamma and Dadda are going to laugh too.  We get a few more encores.  And it only got better with repetition.  She’d perfected the routine.  Then suddenly-

  “Uuh.  Uuuh!”

  Which means, “Everybody, stop!”  We did.  Maddie was indicating something on the floor.  It was just a two-inch piece of thread that had come off of the pillow she’d been mauling.  So we all stare at the thread.

  Time passes.

  “Uuh!  Oo!”

  Apparently this thread was going to do tricks.  We keep watching it.

  More time passes.  Maddie backs off from the thread, never taking her eyes off of it.  The thread was either somewhat threatening, or the trick was going to be pretty spectacular.  Then it hits me: Maddie must have discovered worms.  She thinks this thread is going to crawl.

  Oh, the opportunities.  Good parents wouldn’t play with their baby’s head.  Babies are very impressionable, you know.  We must try to be good, but maybe we can eke out a little fun from the situation.

  So we slowly, gently grab the thread, and offer it to Maddie.  She backs up just enough to be out of striking range of the varmint.  We put it back on the ground and whack it, to show that it’s not alive.  At least, not anymore if it was before the whack.  She edges closer.  We whack it again.  And again.  Maddie (the killer within awakened) gets close enough, raises her hand into whacking position, crouches, and…

  …gets the heebie jeebies.  She shivers, turns and runs back to a safer distance.  The thread could be playing possum, you know.  Lillian and I decide to try another tactic.  We grab the thread and give it back and forth to each other.  Then we hide it and reveal it to each other, delighting in the revelation.  She finally warms up to it.  And she gradually lets me place the thread in her hand.

  Lillian and I looked at each other, and silently congratulated each other for not messing with Maddie’s head by exclaiming, “eww,” which certainly would have rewarded us with another heebie jeebie dance.