I was in a delirious state the morning I found my daughter stuffing a plush clove of garlic into her horse’s mouth. I had not slept a wink the night before thanks to some poor eating habits the previous day, you see. No one need consume that much ranch dressing. Nevertheless, despite my less-than-heightened state of being, I was fairly sure that horses are not ones to consume full cloves of tear-eliciting garlic. So I alerted my 2-year-old daughter to this fact.
“What they eat, daddy?” she said in return. I would have said apples or hay had I been even remotely awake. Instead I looked around the perpetual mess that is our living room and gazed upon three plush toy carrots, all sewn together. “Carrots. Horses eat carrots.” “Carrots?” she replied questioningly. But for only a moment. Soon a smile spread across her face and she snatched the carrots up in her hand.
A split second later they were rammed into the poor horse’s mouth with the force of five freight trains.
To make matters worse, the horse sings if you press a button–its mouth moving animatronically to boot. So of course Audrey pressed it. And there I was, 95% asleep, wearing only a pair of boxers, and watching a horse struggle to sing with three carrots stuffed deep down its throat.
I should have known it would be a weird day after that. I should have known to keep my mouth shut. Because it did turn out to be one of those days. And all the stupid things I would say…
Just would not go away.
Say Hello to Baby Berenger
Berenger is not a common name for a baby. In fact, it’s probably the least common baby name out there. Especially for a baby girl. But this poor baby doll of Audrey’s is now known only as Baby Berenger.
And it’s all my fault.
A few hours after the horse-choking incident, I was playing with Audrey on her brand new “Big Girl Bed”. You see, my wife and I have been slowly encouraging her to start sleeping in this bed, instead of her crib, in advance of her baby brother’s imminent arrival. Part of this encouragement involves reading books and playing on the bed, so as to make her more comfortable with it. Being still completely exhausted from the sleepless night before, I was happy to do anything involving a bed. So there I was.
Audrey was playing with this particular doll when I asked her what her name was. She didn’t have one. It was just “Baby”. Finding myself helping her to put on the baby’s socks, I noticed it had a bracelet. It was of the medical variety and included valuable plastic baby data, including height and weight information. No name, though. Instead there was just one single, strange, context-free word:
“Berenger?” I said out loud before piggybacking on myself by adding, “Is the baby’s name Berenger?” Audrey looked puzzled. “Berenger?” she asked with a furrowed brow. “Yeah,” I replied. “Baby Berenger?” She took back the doll, looked it over slowly, then held it aloft, exclaiming, “Baby Berenger!!!”
Oh no. What had I done?
For the rest of the day, wherever Audrey went Baby Berenger went too. And because she is an irrepressible motormouth, she couldn’t stop saying its name:
- “Baby Berenger take a ride!”
- “Baby Berenger go to sleep!”
- “Baby Berenger need to go outside.”
Like I said, what had I done? Thankfully my wife couldn’t get enough of it. And, admittedly enough, I couldn’t either. It’s a pretty damn funny name for a baby. And anything that reminds us of “Major League” ain’t so bad either. But for all the laughs, it was still a reminder of how stupid I was to suggest such a name in the first place.
Silly daddy. Saying stupid things.
It’s a Jungle in Here!
The same morning Berenger made her appearance, so did a garbage bag full of monkeys. It had been buried in Audrey’s closet for quite some time, so opening the bag was like revisiting one old friend after another. Still in my zombie-like stupor, and right in the middle of realizing that the name “Berenger” was here to stay, I started placing the monkeys all around her bedroom decoratively.
Some hung from the ceiling fan. Some from the curtain rods. The bookshelf was a good place to have some sit and relax. And so was the dresser top.
Once the number of apes reached the double digits my daughter looked up from Berenger and its pesky socks and noticed the many, many new furry friends all around her.
“What that?” “That’s a monkey.”
“What that?!?” “That’s a monkey too.”
“What that, daddy?” “That? That’s a monkey.”
And so on. And so far so good too! But, of course, that’s when I said a line that has haunted me every single time Audrey has entered her bedroom single:
“It’s a jungle in here.”
And I mean every single time. Examples include:
- When I take her to her changing table: “It’s a jungle in here!”
- When we go to read books in her rocking chair: “It’s a jungle in here!”
- And when we go to kick Ike out of her crib: “It’s a jungle in here!”
Sigh. I had done it again! Just like Baby Berenger I had unintentionally taught my daughter to say something stupid and funny. After flying too close to the sun as far as foul language is concerned, I should have been more careful. But hey, at least I don’t have it as bad as that poor horse.
Awful. Just awful.