Some Parents Eat Their Young

It’s true, you know. They do. Some species engage in filial cannibalism – otherwise known as baby eating (I looked that up). In fact, I once had a rabbit who ate its own babies. It was the male and I can’t attest to what he was thinking, but maybe he was driven over the edge by that year’s 5th litter of fuzzy bunnies. What if he was feeling a lot of pressure from Mrs. Rabbit? The hutch was getting smaller, the family bigger and the paychecks just couldn’t make ends meet anymore. Clearly, I fabricated that part, but it sounded good, no?

Pigs are guilty of occasionally noshing on their young as well. Back on the farm, we had a gargantuan pig named Bertha. Bertha birthed some piglets and had to be separated from her babies lest she feel the sudden urge to inappropriately chow down. (I wonder if pigs can use the post-partum defense?) The problem with mama pigs is, if there is a piglet that seems different or weak, she’ll eat it. Of course, Bertha happened to have a runt in her litter, so before anyone knew what happened, the runt was named ‘CC’, swathed in a pink doll dress with matching bonnet and plopped into the doll stroller. In case you were wondering, that was also the summer that I read Charlotte’s Web. If Fern could pull it off, so could I!
Anyway, CC slept in a cozy little box in the house, was fed with a bottle and snuggled for a period of time that I can no longer recall. As soon as CC was “caught up” with the rest of the piglets, it was right back out to the pig pen. I don’t know what happened to CC, but what I do know is that she never developed a weird friendship with a freakishly intelligent spider. That poor little runt piglet.
We have runt here in our house and her name is Kate. She’s tiny and she’s not like the others. She’s loud, refuses to eat much else than fresh mozzarella and Yo-Baby yogurt…and it better be frozen and strawberry flavored or you’ll be damn sorry! She almost always looks like she hasn’t been brushed or bathed in days. In fact, ten minutes after a bath she has the ability to waltz back into the room looking like a tiny, dirty little woman after a week-long bender. She has the ability to emit a piercing string of babble that oddly resembles a profanity-laced tirade. She can wrestle Stella to the ground in a headlock when the other kids are terrified to go near the teething puppy. She’s one tough cookie and she likes to be heard.

Kate is our third surprise…oops, I meant third baby. Kate came out screaming and hasn’t stopped in 18 months – unless you count some public appearances where she stuns us by morphing into Darling Angel Baby. She smiles at people, shares her treats, dances a little dance to the overhead music and bats her big blue eyes which results in admiring glances and comments on how adorable she is…so well behaved even! I know, I know…several of you have spent time with Darling Angel Baby and you are astonished when I tell you that she’s a screaming, tantrum throwing whack-job. When I say these things to the other mommies, I am alternatively met with, “really? She’s so quiet!” or looks of alarm that say, How could you have such thoughts about your baby?…and actually SAY it out loud?!

Simple. I’m honest. I also share a very sarcastic sense of humor with my husband. So on those evenings/mornings/entire days when Kate is screaming and hanging from a our legs as we try to cook/dress/pee. The days when we have to scream over her screaming to be heard, when my mild-mannered husband starts losing his temper…we go into the pantry together and call her out on her bullshit. Not very nice names either. Don’t worry, she can’t actually hear us because we’re hiding from her.
Our fake confrontations are similar to what you might say to a friend who is being a complete asshole during hour number 14 of a road trip. A secret pantry “confrontation” typically goes something like this:
Me (whispering): “Jeez, Kate… you’re being a real BLEEP.”

Dave (also whispering): “Seriously, man…you’re acting like a huge BLEEEEPITY BLEEP.”
From the other room, we hear Gwen yelp in pain and begin crying as Kate pummels her head with a bottle. Again.

Me (still whispering): “How ’bout I take that bottle and…..” We can’t help but dissolve into laughter at the fact that we are secretly speaking to our toddler like she’s the world’s most annoying adult. We then exit the pantry feeling far less stress than we did when we entered. 
Right about now, you might be questioning our roles as parents. Judge if you must, but our method of stress relief is effective and it sure beats eating the runt!

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