Saturday, July 18, 2009

Beware of Tyrannosaurus Emma

Hey. This is Ryan. I'll never forget sitting in terror with Dee and Dallas Wilkins as we watched a Tyrannosaurus rex menace stranded islanders in "Jurassic Park." If there was one survival skill I learned (if I happened upon the King of Dinosaurs on my mission in Brazil two weeks later) was that if I remained still and quiet, it wouldn't attack. That, apparently, is a natural instinct that comes with birth as witnessed last week with Clark.

Our T rex goes by the name of Emma. Just as T rexes were ferocious mothers, Emma is one ferocious mother as well. She tends to over-mother, causing animals and babies to cower in fear. Do you remember cartoon, "Tiny Toon Adventures"? Do you remember Elmyra - the little girl that would never leave animals alone and "loved" them to death? That's our Emma.

For example, we decided it would be a good idea to get a couple of kittens when we lived in Lamar a few years back. They were really cute. We named them Fergie and Shakira. The kids were pretty good with them, except Emma. The problem is that she wants kittens and puppies and babies and whatever else to remain in the spot she puts them. She would constantly put Shakira and Fergie in their "Kitten House," which they would instantly leave. She would follow them and put them back in. It was no surprise to us when they had run away after we left them in the care of a neighbor while we vacationed in Idaho. For some reason, I've always pictured Shakira whispering to Fergie, "Now's our chance! Let's get out of here!" and bolting through the gate for the Emma-free plains of Colorado and Kansas.

This is what is happening with Clark now. She wants this newly mobile baby to stay on the spot she designates as his habitat. Clark just wants to get away. I can't tell you how many times Lisha and I have explained/yelled/chastised her for not being "soft" with Clark. It has happened so much now that she is grounded from carrying Clark.

Clark, however, is probably the smartest baby on Earth. Or maybe he's just made cautionary adaptations from being dropped, poked, hit, screamed at or generally bugged by three older siblings. When we went to Yellowstone last week, we had gone into the wilderness at the edge of the Old Faithful parking lot to eat our picnic lunch. As we made our sandwiches and doled out the rest of the food to the other nine children, we sat Clark up on the blanket and gave him some snacks, too.

Emma, seeing he was alone, pounced like a lioness and began to do her usual yelling/cooing to get his attention and make him smile. That was when I saw Clark use his camouflage skills. His back went rigid and his stare went blank as she yelled in his ear. He completely froze and stared forward, not daring to move or make a sound. The adults noticed this and started murmuring to each other.

It was like they taught us in "Jurassic Park": when approached by a dangerous animal, freeze and play dead. Emma, confused by his non-reaction, yelled her "hey, babys" and "boos" even louder to elicit some response. None. Clark was a baby statue. Finally, in her frustration, this T rex reached out, grabbed her prey by the cheeks and forced him to look at her. He squealed in protest and we had to chase her away.

Clark has since used this tactic with the rest of the kids and me, too. He goes into Baby Statue mode whenever he wants to stay safe from tickling hands or the ever-present facial tissue.

How about you? Ever notice your kids do some natural survival tactic in order to live one more day amongst pesky siblings?


Jill said...

Ryan, you are hilarious.

I need to squeeze those baby cheeks. It's been a while. He is so cute.


Shanakin Skywalker said...

My boys love it when Sarah gets mad. They are amused by the female temper tantrum. When do boys grow out of thinking that it's cute when girls freak out? Maybe because of their experience with a baby sister, my boys won't ever grow out of loving it when a girl throws a screaming tantrum in order to get what she wants. Wouldn't that make a great husband? I think I might be on to something! Hey, how come you never respond to my posts? Am I embarrassing you and you're trying to pretend you don't know me?

Melissa said...

I love reading your blog. It is hilarious. Do you mind if I add you to my blog list? You are welcome to add us, if you'd like... I hope you remember me from Willcox, it was a long time ago... Check out my blog--I'm told my daughter looks just like me. Thanks for the continuing entertainment. :D

Anonymous said...

Molly's natural survival tactic is to a high pitched fire alarm. You know, a fire alarm goes off and everyone reacts with, "get out fast, something really bad is about to happen". That's her (I scream very loudly and everybody within a two mile radius leaves me and my stuff alone!) I really hope she grows out of it, but with her having 4 brothers, I have my doubts :D


Sandi said...

That is hilarious!

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