King Burrito


We swaddle our chubby baby every night in spite of his protests.  He looks like an adorable human burrito, with a dark furry head where rice and beans might otherwise be spilling out.  It’s a sight that melts our hearts and brains into a lovey-dovey mush, as I imagine all parents must feel about the cocooned shape of their infant.  Unfortunately, King Burrito doesn’t understand that swaddling is a part of the current protocol for safe infant sleeping; and instead believes he has been unjustly imprisoned and naturally fights until he drops into an exhausted, but safe, sleep.

Can you hear me yawning as I type from extreme sleep deprivation?

“Sleep when the baby sleeps,” everyone says while holding the sleeping baby which would be helpful if I could sleep on demand during the middle of the day.  Or worse yet, they say, “Let me hold the baby so you can go and throw in a load of laundry or do the dishes.”  If I wasn’t so tired, smoke would roll out of my ears.  Alas, I have even lost the energy to be angry and maybe have a puff or two of smoke worth of irritation.

In any case, who has time for sleep or anger for that matter?  I only have another four weeks before returning to work from maternity leave.  With as fast as King Burrito is developing, I fear that I will miss a major milestone and he will start talking or walking if I’m off the clock napping.  So, in the spirit of maximizing our time together, I have started to take time saving short cuts.  I do all of my banking online, the groceries get delivered to our front door, and Amazon fills in all of other gaps.

Last week, an older woman with the usual Hoosier mom garb of high wasted jeans, a turtle neck and a fuzzy vest with an IU logo delivered diapers, cat litter and the random collection of provisions for the week.  

“Someone has a baby…” she led with as I opened the door.

It was far from a lucky guess, the drool on my shirt and the screaming in the background were good clues for what she was able to deduce about the situation.  “Do you mind if I take a peek?” she asked as she stepped a foot inside and then brought the rest of her body along with the groceries. 

It was hard to say no, especially when she was bringing Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and was already in the house.  She sighed as she gazed at the crying and red-faced infant.

“I remember these days, when it was just my babies and me.  Now they’re all grown up and things are different.  Instead of rocking them, we go to Pacer’s games and drink beer together.  Enjoy this time,” she said with a knowing laugh and left for her car in the drive way.

I felt a profound sadness with her departure and the inevitability of her words.  Soon our chubby baby will be too big to swaddle.  He will sleep through the night and have friends other than his mommy and daddy and drink more than milk.  He will wear pants with zippers and shoes with laces.  And he will break his mommy’s heart as he grows up into a boy and then a man but for today, he will just be my sweet baby. 

The Great Pet Expo


Can I take just a few minutes of your time to tell you about The Great Pet Expo?

The parking lot was full when I arrived, which is usually a good sign with these types of events.  I was going to meet my brother-in-law, sis-in-law and their darling children.  Correction: one is a darling; the other is a tiny blond demon who escaped from the depths of hell about three years ago. I’m sure the Devil is still searching for her.

As I walked through the expo hall, I passed by booths of adoptable dogs and kenneled cats, tables of animal clothing and accessories, shelves of animal knick-knacks and bowls of handmade bones and cookies.  Instinctively, I knew where to find them and kept walking towards the back of the building.

Sure enough, I spotted them snacking on soft pretzels in the café area.  The little demon must have sensed my approach as she turned around and launched off like a rocket, running towards me.

“Auntie!” she shrieked, as she collided with my legs.

She took a step back, and held out her fist, tightly closed over a secret treasure that she had collected from the day.  Leaning closer, she whispered, “I have something to show you.”

Turning her fist over, she slowly opened her hand, one tiny finger at a time. The look on her face was of pure anticipatory job in sharing her secret.  She smiled in excitement, showing her tiny white teeth as she watched my face.

“Look,” she demanded.

My jaw dropped in shock, “Baby girl, where did you get that?”

Locks of long grey hair spread over her palm, mashed down where she had been clutching the entire mound.

“I took it from a llama,” she answered simply, and took off running and disappeared into a crowd of people and their pets.

The rest of the day was spent chasing the demon as she streaked about to pet dogs and unzip cat carriers to free the animals.  When I caught up with her one time out of many to bring her back to her exhausted parents, she blankly glanced at me and began to cry, “Where is my daddy?  Where is my mommy?”

As she wailed, I wanted to explain to the concerned patrons of the Pet Expo that it’s actually ok, she may be a demon from Hell, but I’m her aunt and I love her anyways.  However, I didn’t have time for such a luxury and had to chase her down again to explain that I was going to take her back to her mommy and daddy, also known as, damned brother-in-law and sister-in-law who left me to chase their wild animal child.

The very instant that the wild child saw her daddy she was instantly soothed and transitioned into the potty dance, hopping from one foot to the other and pulling her jumper up.  Her daddy recognized this intricate dance and knew its urgent meaning.  He acted fast and handed me the demon’s infant sister and said, “trade you” as he whisked the demon off to the restroom.

Once he disappeared into the restroom, the baby began to shriek, fully exercising her lungs.  Her daddy ran back out shortly after the shrieking began and laughed, “I didn’t think she would go banshee on you.”

Clearly, this had happened before since this behavior was aptly named ‘going banshee’.

It was right at about this time that you-know-who took off, yet again.

That was my Sunday, spent chasing a blond little girl still holding a fistful of llama fur, as she ran carefree, secure, and trusting of her adults to give her enough room to run and still keep her safe.  Yes, the pets were out and on full display at the Great Pet Expo.