Adventures in Parenting #36: Evolution of Grumpiness

There is a perception concerning Cooper that he is the "perfect" baby. People approach us constantly (often these people are random strangers; this is not something you ever get used to or at least I haven't gotten used to it in the first 9 months) to talk about how great he is or to warn us that most babies are not this perfect. More than one nursery employee at church refers to him simply as, "The Perfect One." And hey, I get it. He's a very good natured kid, he loves people, and he's generally quite affable in public. I'm not sure where he gets this as the older I get, the more like Nick Miller I become. But hey, Cooper is much more of a people person than I am and those big blue eyes certainly don't dilute his charm. But I tell you all this not to brag about my kid but rather to illustrate the point that perception isn't always accurate. Now, we've been very, very blessed by the fact that Cooper has never been much of aAngryCoop crier and he's not one to throw a big fit. But that doesn't mean he doesn't have his bad days (or weeks, occasionally) or that he's always on his best behavior. Secretly, he's a bit of a whiner and a grump and I'm sure he'll be angry at me for spilling the beans here. But he can just deal with it because I am the ADULT here and I can do what I want and what's he going to do, cry abou--- oh no, he's going to cry! He's going to cry all day in order to exact his revenge! He has all of the power, this is a bad idea.

Anyway, there are two particular events each day that truly put this transition on display: Bedtime and meal time. At bedtime, his laughs shift to whines and cries within the same breath and as soon as I can get good footage of this phenomenon that is all but equal to that of the Northern Lights, rest assured I will post it here. The meal time transition is a more drawn out process. I call it the Evolution of Grumpiness. Here's how it works:

Phase 1: Life's a Happy Song

During phase one, the King Baby is pleased with the tribute his subjects have brought him. He's excited, he's hungry, and he's eager to get this show on the road.

Phase 2: Hulking Out

In phase two, the excitement has worn off and has been replaced by voraciousness. Pausing three seconds between spoonfuls is completely unacceptable and the King wants to make sure you understand the error of your ways. This is also the phase in which the the food starts to kick in. We call that body clenching, open mouthed exclamation "Hulking Out." The food is seeping into his blood stream and it is obviously embodying him with supernatural power that he can't quite harness just yet. Give it time. I've already bought him the purple pants.

Phase 3: The Full Grump

Finally, in phase three, the real grumpiness kicks in. What makes him so angry, you ask? The thing babies hate most in this world is a delay in the delivery of food. If you don't believe me, take a slightly hungry baby who is on a regular schedule, and try to delay that schedule by, oh, 3 minutes and watch him FREAK OUT. While the taste and general consistency of baby food is undoubtedly better than formula, the one advantage formula has is its delivery system. It is a constant drip whereas baby food requires patience, patience the King Baby just doesn't have. Table banging and crocodile tears are a regular part of meal time and overall grumpiness is often the byproduct. He basically becomes one of the characters in a JG Wentworth commercial. It's not a pretty sight, though I guess we could probably feed him faster if we'd stop filming him.

So there you have the ugly truth. "The Perfect One" is really a serious grumper, a dark family secret that has haunted us for many months. Hopefully he won't make me regret letting you in on the lie.

At least he's no longer a vampire, Brian