We went to Temple Square in Salt Lake to see the Christmas lights this past weekend. It was a lot of fun – I don’t think I’ve really appreciated them as a native of Salt Lake City, but they’re worth going to see.

But this story isn’t about the lights. It’s about the babies.

We went with a couple who also have a baby, just a few weeks older than John. We left for the city just about the same time both of them normally go to bed. So while the menfolk sat in the front of the van, we strapped the babies into their carseats in the middle row, and me and Mom A took the backseat, trying to soothe bedtime woes with snacks. On the way there, they fussed.

And on the way back, they screamed. And wouldn’t you know it, Baby A has John’s lungs. They could both go out for opera one of these days. We tried snacks, singing, talking, just about everything except taking them out of their carseats. To no avail.

Finally, in an act of desperation, Ethan turned on Kenny G’s Christmas album. (Is Kenny G always an act of desperation?) Baby A immediately calmed down. Baby B stopped screaming and started shredding his carseat cover happily. The magic of the saxophone was beginning to work. It was like the Pied Piper of fussy babies. I expected to see hordes of rats (or European children) following behind the car.

Unfortunately, John was not going to allow this kind of calm. As Baby A slowly drifted off to sleep John just kind of looked over at him, curious. Then, just after A had drifted off, John let out a loud, “Ha!”

A woke up screaming. It took a good ten minutes or so to calm him down. While we did so, John continued to shred his carseat cover.

Once A was asleep again, John realized it was all quiet on the driver’s side. He looked over curiously. “Aooo!”

Screaming again. About ten times on the way home, poor Baby A fell fitfully asleep, only to be awakened by my child asking, “HEY, ARE YOU AWAKE?” in babyspeak. I felt sorry for the poor guy. I felt sorry in advance for anyone who might ever have a sleepover with my son. And I felt bad for wanting to box my child’s ears. But at least the dads in the front seat were laughing. ♦


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