„You must never compare babies,“ my mother said, sagely.
„Oh, I know,“ I said. „It’s rude when yours is so obviously a thousand times better than everyone-else’s.“
My baby turned over two weeks before he turned three months – I thought he’d be crawling in no time. But I think he got lazy after reaching that milestone – it was so easy for him to pull himself along the floor with his arms that he just didn’t bother developing the ability to crawl.
NOW HE IS SIX MONTHS OLD and has only sat up on his own two piddly times aaaaaaaaaaand….he still isn’t crawling. My teenage son starts googling baby development milestones while I cook dinner, by which I mean, wash up last night’s dishes and clear away a surface on the table so we can eat and heat up ready-made fertig tortellinis. (Note how German I am, I pluralize tortellinis now. It’s not that I think if I said to you Hi, look, here’s some tortellini I made! that you would expect one solitary tortellini on the plate. I just want to be certain)
„Mum, I don’t want to worry you but Damien should be sitting up by now.“
„He’s fine. Don’t worry about it. He’s already sat up twice.“
„And most babies can crawl already.“
„Most? Define most.“
„Well, he’s below average.“
„HE’S BELOW AVERAGE? Fuuuuuuuuuuuck. He better get a move on. It’s a bit embarrassing, isn’t it, having a lazy baby.“
Damien grins at us, toothless and cheeky. He knows he’s the best baby in the world, and doesn’t need to prove it.
„Were you ever ashamed of me, Mum?“ My oldest son asks. „Was I ever embarrassing to you?“
I think of all the times we ate at Vapiano’s, the tomato sauce from his pasta dish smeared all over his chin like he was a vampire who’d just massacred a baby rabbit, me looking at him and thinking: maybe everyone will think I am the babysitter. When we’d arrive at the Spielplatz and the big kids would run away from him screaming DAS GEMEINE BABY IST DA! He couldn’t even stand yet and he already had a reputation as a toy-stealer. I remember the time I had a guy over for dinner and he came into the kitchen and handed me a tampon. „Hey Mum,“ he said. „One of those bullet things for your Muschi.“ He turned to my friend and said: „She needs them when she has her period.“
„All I’ve ever been is totally proud,“ I say.
„Anyway, you’re the one who wrote a book about blowjobs,“ he says. „You’re embarrassing enough on your own.“