We all need a little hand

Hey, kids: Want to get some leverage in the baby-child relationship? It’s a classic question. “Who’s in charge here?” On one hand, you can dictate when they go to sleep, and when they wake up (i.e. when you do). You can make them walk you around, at night, then you close your eyes and start snoring. As soon as you sense the relief from up above, BAM. Open your eyes, all innocent and awake and ready for a round-robin racquetball tournament at the club. You know what I’m saying? I think you do. So there’s that. Also, YOU decide when you start eating solids, and which solids you’ll accept. Anything you don’t love, you can make your point and be artistic at the same time, turn that Fisher-Price Dishwasher-Safe High Chair tray into a Jackson Pollock painting. It can be as simple as this: You laugh, they’re thrilled. You cry, they panic. It’s truly an awesome power. On the other hand, with no warning, your parents will decide to remove you from the activity mat where you were happily trying to put literally everything in the world into your mouth, and put you in the car seat and strap you up so that every one of your moveable extremities are (is?) useless. This technique was banned by the Geneva Convention in 1972 for prisoners of war (look it up), but still legal, and REQUIRED, for perfectly pleasant and non-homicidal babies to be transported by car in 2014. I kid you not, my junior friends. Point is, you have no control over this. Then they can take you anywhere they want, to see anyone they want: Grandma (yay), a periodontist (boo), Idi Amin (yikes), a Julia Roberts movie (shudder), IKEA (get yer saws ‘n hammers), whatever.  (Reminds me of a joke I heard once in the East Village: “What do you get when you buy bookshelves at IKEA?  A saw and directions to a forest.” Classic, and spot-on!) Now, you could always throw a wicked tantrum any time your parents restrict your freedom of movement, and here at Ava Reese is a Kick-Ass Baby, we don’t judge you, and we agree that the “Tasmanian Devil” approach can be extremely useful in the right situations. But you don’t want to go to that well too often, or you’ll get labeled as “colicky”, or just a dick. Either way, you have an interest in maintaining the good will of the people who feed you and keep you from being fed to the wolves and from entering you in the Republican Presidential Primary, where you’d have to debate Rick Perry, which would just make you sad about the world. So be careful about employing what we call the Nuclear Option. But there are things you can do to get what the Seinfeld folks referred to as “the hand” (see below). So here it is, folks: Use your noises. For instance, there’s a noise you can make that starts neutral, but depending on the reaction you get, you can take it in several possible directions. You can make it a laugh, then a cry, or vice versa, then go back and forth. Or, if you’re particularly advanced, when only one parent is in the room, and you’re giggling or gurgling or making generally-accepted baby noises, then you say, “Tuesday’s not good enough,” or “The South Will Rise Again,” or, “Caspar Weinberger.” The key to this is to NEVER NEVER EVER say it when the other parent is present. This is how you get some hand.

Happy Birthday, Notorious M.O.M.

Today is my mom’s birthday, and it’s her first birthday as a mom. And what a mom she is. Seriously, do you have any idea the sh*t she put up with to bring me into this world? Either do I, but I’ve heard the rumors, and boy, if even half of them are true, yikes. I mean, I don’t have much of a frame of reference, being only almost eight months old (speaking of birthdays, yo!), but it sure sounds dramatic to me. But it doesn’t end there. She thinks of me 24/7: is my diaper bag stocked, is it time for solids, what’s the funniest way to combine the words “potato” and “avocado”. When Dad comes from from his cushy office job in the city, he’s like, Oh, where’s my girl, there she is! and of course I smile like crazy, and he gets all warm inside and then I kind of lose respect for him a little bit, because, like, Come on, man, don’t be so mushy, but I don’t let on, I just keep smiling, and he loves it.

But my mom has been with me all day, trying to keep me occupied and happy and fed and nutriated and bathed and de-feced (that means she cleans my poop), and let’s face it, I’m still a young kid, I don’t do much on my own. I play in only the most primitive ways. And she’s been up since whatever time I decided to get up, and she can’t exactly send me out to a sleepover with my gal pals or have me play in my room by myself, because I’m barely over zero. I mean, I think technically I am zero, because I’m not one yet, and what’s less than one, am I right?  But the point is she’s pretty much on all day, and she doesn’t get much nap time, because frankly, I’m not a big fan of long naps, which means she doesn’t get them either. And I’ll tell you what, my mom loves to get her nap on. But it just ain’t happenin’ with ol’ Ava Reese. And yet with all she does, with all the sleep deprivation I cause, with everything she dealt with when she was carrying me in her girl parts, and then the not-uneventful birth (I’m told), she still never ceases to love me like nobody’s business. She lets me sleep on her even if her arm falls asleep (a concept I don’t really get but I’m told it happens). She’s everything you could ever want in a mom, and she’s MY mom. She sings Over the Rainbow to me over and over until I fall asleep. Who else would do that for me? (And she can carry a tune, which is more than I can say for her boyfriend.) And yes, I will admit I’m the cutest thing to land in these parts since I don’t know what, but cute don’t buy the groceries, if you know what I mean, and I think you do. So anyway, long story short, I just want to give a shout out to my beautiful mother Stephanie Crane Marsh on her birthday. I don’t even know the word yet, but I know I love you to death, and that will have to be enough until I get into MIT with my big brain in my big head and make millions as a hedge fund manager before going into the non-profit sector and saving the whales. A girl’s gotta have plans, right? Now who’s ordering the pizza?

Me and my girl sharing a cone. Grammar can kiss my a**.



Me, Ava Reese, at (just over) 6 months

Let’s recap: I’m a baby. That much we know. I just got here recently, but it feels like I’ve been here all my life. I don’t do much, but what I do, I’m pretty good at. Like sitting on my parents’ lap and drinking formula from Target and staring at that same exact painting on the wall I’ve been looking at, it feels like, my whole life. It’s like a Jazz Age scene with waiters and lots of action. I mean, I’m no expert on the Jazz Age, but that’s what it seems like to me.

Also, I’m doing a lot of good things with saliva lately. Really incorporating it into all aspects of my life. Admittedly, there’s not a lot of aspects of my life right now, so it’s not that much of a feat, but you can only play the teams on your schedule, if you know what I mean, and I think you do. Hey, so here’s something annoying: I’ll be making random sounds, and my dad will say something about That’s great, Ava, but I’m not available Tuesday, and laugh. But the thing is, I wasn’t even talking about getting together. Why would I ever say that?  We live in the same house. And whenever I’ve seen him out of the house, he’s been with me the whole time, so I’m like, What gives with this. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what I was saying in the first place, but I sincerely doubt that it involved Tuesday. But he’s my pops and it makes him happy, so I don’t correct him. (Which if I did point it out, he’d probably say something random like, Denver? I don’t think so, or whatever. I just do not understand that generation.)

Speaking of magazines, I see all these US Weekly magazines lying around. And in all candor, I can’t read them yet. But I have a feeling that when I am able to read them, I still won’t understand why anyone cares about the Kardashians. Or, more importantly, how Bruce Jenner got involved in all the mishegoss. What happened to him, anyway? And then I see the New Yorker lying around the house, and I try to look interested – I’m as curious about the Sudan-Liberia conflict as anyone – but between you and me, I pretty much just look for the cartoons.

Appearance-wise, my dad likes to say that I resemble one or more of several deceased British men, such as Sir Winston Churchill, Benny Hill, and Mr. Magoo, especially with my eyes closed. I don’t take this as a compliment, and I’m not even sure Mr. Magoo was British. But as long as I’m getting six squares a day, I keep it to myself.

Speaking of food, I was very excited recently when my parents announced that they would start to add solids to my diet. Fans of this page are well aware of my preferences in this regard, and so I said, in my own way, How about sausage and pepperoni? Or even, because I’m young, start with cheese? (To which my Dad, of course, said that thing about Tuesday. I just don’t know about that guy.)

So long story short, I end up with some kind of pasty oatmeal concoction – no thanks, guys — and then at Target (where else?) I saw Mom put pureed peas into the shopping cart. “Pureed Peas” doesn’t sound bad on paper. It even has a certain alliterative ring to it. But seriously, have you seen this stuff? I think they give it to prisoners. And I bet it violates the Lake Geneva Convention. But I’ll be honest, it kind of tastes good. (Same thing with formula: smells like ass, but I’ll be darned if it doesn’t go down easy, like a good chocolate malted.) I’ll tell you this, though: This vegetarian diet will not stand for much longer. Baby needs some meat.

Here’s something I like to do to mess with my parents: I call it “poop-confusion”. I thought about calling it “Poop-Fusion,” but that sounded too much like some kind of fancy dinner you’d get at a downtown restaurant. Maybe, poosion? Anyway, I like to scrunch up my face and make noises and act like I’m pushing something out. I’ll even make the appropriate noises with my butt. Yet when they take off my diaper, expectantly…NADA. Sike! Conversely, I have perfected the art of smiling sweetly and making cute sounds in my parents’ faces, all the while producing, unbeknownst to them, a wave of fecal matter requiring the intervention of no fewer than three Federal agencies and an out-of-state Hazmat team. I mean, this stuff goes EVERYwhere. And yet, you’d never know it by looking at me. Check out the picture of me hanging out with my dad. Nice scene, right? You should have seen the sheets afterwards. Gross, I tell you. i.e. Awesome!
Anyway, that’s pretty much me at six months(ish). Check in later for future (hopefully pizza-related) updates. Happy Hannukah, everyone!


I’m not gettin’ any younger

Day Three: Is that pizza? Smells like pizza. Hello? You know, sometimes these guys are all over me like nobody’s business, random people show up and hold me like I’m a football, this one guy thinks he’s God’s gift to James Taylor. Other times they wrap me up like a mummy and stick me in this basket and away I go, to hang out with the other prisoners. But this is the worst! They’re having pizza, but I’ll tell you right now that no one, and I mean no one will offer me a slice. Hey Ava, how about some more of that white goopy stuff? Yeah, sure, that’s exactly what I want. You really love your baby? Get me some Italian Beef, Daddy-o.


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Don’t think about pizza. Don’t think about pizza.  Don’t think about pizza.