Mean Babies

So a trending topic today on a few soft news sites is a research study conducted by some Canadian psychologists that seems to indicate that babies have a mean streak. You can read about it here. A couple of my own observations now. First of all, I don’t see how you can draw any hard conclusions from some play acting with a limited number of subjects. Really all this proves is that psychological experiments are fucked up. There’s something inherently sinister about puppets messing with babies’ minds. And secondly, anyone who has spent any amount of time around them already KNOWS that babies are mean. They’re self-absorbed master manipulators, and by the time they are five years old, they are nothing short of terrorists.

There is a whole industry out there – books, classes, blogs, websites – that targets expectant parents who are worried about bodily changes and the birthing process. This is fine, but no one tells these poor people that a pregnancy lasts only nine months. And giving birth is only one day of your life. And with some help from medical professionals and a supportive partner or family members, you’ll get through it just fine, with or without all the intense prep work.

What parents-to-be should really be doing during this time period is paramilitary style training in hostage negotiation, covert operations, SERE, all the tactics that will equip them to survive sleep deprivation, interrogation, and psychological torture, and to keep them from breaking you. Because once they’ve got their hooks into you, you are as good as gone. You’ll spend the next 18 years as a POW in your own home. And the first and foremost rule should be to take a Reaganesque stance on negotiating with terrorists. Meaning you don’t negotiate. Ever. Not once.

Unfortunately we didn’t undergo this training before our four sons were born. And my husband and I live every day in constant fear. Our captors know no mercy. And they can be seductively charming one moment, and a minute later turn on you because you forgot to buy Lunchables at the store. The entire house is under surveillance. A private conversation is impossible, and hushed tones only make them more eager to listen. Functions that civilians take for granted, like using the bathroom or shower alone, are no longer permissible under our current camp commandant, Alex, whose reign is as ruthless as his three predecessors.

Their psy ops program is brutal and relentless. From day one our senses are assaulted with continuous white noise in the form of electronic toys, singing stuffed animals, recorders, makeshift drum sets, ungodly music from their underground sources with names like Kidz-Bop, One Direction, and Macklemore. We’re forced to watch recorded propaganda in the form of an ongoing loop of Spongebob and Yo Gabba Gabba! on their state-run television station called Nickelodeon. We’re slaves in our own home, expected to wait on our guards hand and foot. We require permission to leave the house, and often are not permitted to leave unaccompanied.

We have managed to revolt and exercise a degree of control at times, but it’s often short-lived as they have learned how to band together to defeat any uprising. At the first hint of insurgence, they circle their wagons, and we are put under lockdown. We are under assault night and day, and there is no hope of escape in the short-term. I urge new parents to save themselves. Do your research. Dig in. Establish your defenses early. It’s not too late for you. But only God can save us now. Humanitarian agencies have given us hope, hinting there is a rescue operation being staged in the background, but it will be a long time in the making, and that our liberators, in the form of grandchildren, will someday conquer our captors, hold them accountable for what they’ve done, and release us from our struggle.

Until then, God speed.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2013

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