Thursday, February 3, 2011

Who's On First?

Crinkles recently turned 8-months-old, which means that at present my life is a constant and often losing attempt to chronicle each of his "FIRSTS".

Grandparents in other states wonder if Crinkles has cut his first tooth, friends ask if he's said his first word, and blank spaces in Crinkles' baby book demand documentation of a bizarre range of firsts including

I rolled over on __________________!

I smiled at mommy on _____________!

...and the decidedly random...

I first noticed my hands on __________!

All of which seems to confirm my theory that the prime purpose of Baby Books is to engender feelings of inadequacy in parents for failing to document their children's first year with the detailed eye of a seasoned journalist. For my part, the Baby Books of Snoodie and Crinkles glare down at me daily from the bookshelf, their spines glinting in condemnation. Sometimes, late at night, I hear them speak to me:

"You don't remember the precise date that your child's left lateral incisor came in, do you? DO YOU???"

At least with Snoodie's book I made a half-hearted effort. But alas, poor Crinkles. I picture us someday sitting together and reviewing the glaring omissions in his chronicle as I desperately try to explain:

"I'm sorry, sweetie! Mommy doesn't know exactly when you first noticed your hands. Maybe you did it on that day that your older brother got stuck in the oven and so I kind of missed it? Or maybe it was the day you two coated the playroom in ketchup? There was kind of a lot going on....

What do you say we make up for lost time and spend some quality mom and son time noticing our hands together right now?"

*cue angry Crinkles storming from the home*

And let's be real. Even if I did somehow have the sort of free mental bandwith that would allow me to monitor my children on a moment by moment basis, alert for any signs of potential hand noticing, I'm still not sure I would have an accurate accounting of each of their firsts.

Because as it turns out, firsts are surprisingly difficult to quantify.

Like, for example, last Tuesday Crinkles said his first word. We were sitting at the dining room table enjoying some delicious chicken soup when he paused between bites, looked at me thoughtfully, and clearly intoned,


Which, as we all know, is the Capital of Azerbaijan.

But could I rightly log the momentous moment into Crinkles' baby book? Did it really constitute a first word? While his pronunciation was perfect, I must admit there is nothing in my 8-month-old's background to suggest that he has any real familiarity with the Caucasus region of Eurasia in which Baku is located.

No, I decided, "Baku" could not be considered his first word.

And, for that matter, neither could the many other obscure national capitals that cropped up during his days of babbling. (Zagreb, anyone?) So, I decided I'm holding out for a traditional 'Mama' or 'Dada' (though I might settle for a 'Ba-Ba' should a bottle or, perhaps, a sheep be nearby at the time).

And when it does come all I can do is hope that I have the presence of mind to write it down.