We’ve discussed a few times here on Raising Elle the newly recognized liberty in having a child and playing the “wejusthaddababy” card to get out of certain pinches like showing up late to work, forgetting to shower, running out of gas and needing a boost somewhere. I’ve found it to be incredible in its jedi mind trick ability to completely placate a sticky situation.
In, now, ten months of fatherhood, I’ve narrowed down the best power moves to the five best for you. In sports, war, Rummikub, video games or fighting your brother in the front yard, you have “defensive” and “offensive” moves. The flying knee is one of my favorite offensive move. You have the stiff arm in football, the crossover in basketball, pick and roll, the switch, the bob, the grapple and choke out…power moves. Moves that with very little doubt will get the job done right. So here are your top infancive power moves. Moves of a nature that can only be executed with the aid of an infant. There’s no substituting for the effectiveness for an infant in these situations. She’s your best teammate. She’s like the sixth man. When all else fails, put the ball in her hands and let her do her thing. Get your kicks in early, though, because when she turns eight months or so, the gig is up. If your friends, family and co-workers haven’t picked up on your scam by then, it’ll only be a matter of time. At which point, you just gotta put your big boy (or girl) pants on and deal with life like everyone else does…by cowardly crawling into a corner and crying yourself to unconsciousness. In all seriousness, though, I tried to avoid talking to someone at the store by putting up a baby block with Ellison. I made brief eye contact with the individual, tried to act like I didn’t see him, looked at Ellison and started making baby talk as I picked up my pace toward the exit, Ellison whirls around in my arms and begins waving at this cat. So much for that. That used to be much easier to execute when she wasn’t waving at everyone and being such a freaking cutie. Instead, I have to go back to the ol’ “fake phone conversation” move which is so played, but pretty still pretty effective.
So here they are…the FIVE BEST INFANCIVE POWER MOVES. Use sparingly and only when necessary. Effectiveness depends on situational factors and, obviously, your infant’s ability to come through in the clutch. Ellison was a clutch performer when she was working through colic because, really, she cried all the time. Didn’t take much to queue her up and get her ready. Just wake her up and say, “Go time.”
Salesperson Avoidance or Repellent: I don’t care how hungry or desperate that salesperson is, they will not be able to endure a screaming baby long enough to get a pitch in. There’s enough suckas in this world that they’ll just move to the next moron on the salesfloor or next doorbell. You really have two options here. If the baby’s already screaming, perfect. Let her do her thing. If your baby’s not screaming, it’s cool too. Tell the salesperson, “I gotta tired one here. Gotta get her down.” If a cat shows up at your front door trying to sell you a subscription to Better Homes and Garden, tell him your baby’s sleeping and to go away. Give him the look too of an upset father protecting his nest. If he’s a smart cat (which, admittedly, smart doesn’t beat out stubborn), he’ll keep moving and put you on his no-call list. If he comes back, brandish a baseball bat. It’s also great on the car lot. If you don’t wanna leave your car, just cruise around the lot like I do and if a salesperson approaches your car, slow down, be courteous, roll down your window and put up the universal sign for “quiet” (your index finger up to your puckered lips) and motion to the backseat where the baby seat is. He’ll shut up, wave you off and you’re on your way. Even more awesome when it’s a backward-facing car seat that doesn’t even have a baby in it.
Negotiate with Mouths to Feed: Say you actually got your eye on a car at the lot. A stationwagon perhaps. Maybe even a black Subaru. You’re sitting across from a putzy salesperson who wants to talk you up $15 a month on your payments and he just can’t go any lower. Here’s the power move. Lean to the front of the chair, lower your voice and say, “I can’t do it, man. I got mouths to feed at home and you’re putting me over budget.” A baby’s tummy is real talk. That’s an expense in the budget that doesn’t budge. If you’re in there talking about trying to save up for a vacation or second honeymoon or the customization that you’re doing to the Mustang your dad gave you for college graduation, you’ll get no sympathy. Use that baby at home. Now, obviously, if you’re a good actor, you don’t really need to have a baby at home. Never tried it. I only pulled it out when I really needed to and, yes, I even showed him a picture. Half our later, that price was right where I needed it. Now, I must tell you to be careful to use this one sparingly and at the right part of the negotiations. This comment will not bridge the gap of a thousand dollars, but $15 dollars a month it might (even though $15 a month over a 60-month loan is $900 bucks, damn near a grand). And you can’t use it just because you’re a cheapo because, look around, everyone’s got mouths to feed. But as a new parent, it works. Use it in desperation. And don’t even try it on a car purchase more than $20,000. No one will have any sympathy for you.
Front-of-Line Status: I’ve had it happen only a handful of times, but it can work for you. And make sure you’re opportunistic and seize that moment. Here’s the situation. One item in hand at the grocery store. Call it a jug of detergent. Screaming baby in the other arm. Person in front of you in the express lane only has three items. Person in front of her has five. Crying persists and even increases in intensity. Pacifier won’t stay in the gaping mouth. Line parts like the Red Sea and you mosey up to the checker. What was originally a three minute wait is now the HOV version of the already-express lane. Beautiful. Ellison didn’t even realize what she accomplished, but it worked. Happened one time while hauling a bag of dog food. You don’t have to look exasperated or troubled. Just let the nerve-racking screams of your infant teammate do its job. Doesn’t always work with the elderly. They often don’t wanna wait in the line any more than you do. Don’t blame ’em there. And not only that, if you’re like my grandma, just turn down your hearing aid and that baby just…softly…goes…away.
Avoiding Uncomfortable Social Settings: Undoubtedly the most versatile infancive power move. “I can’t. I’m at home with the kid tonight.” Now, as many times as I’ve said this since Ellison’s arrival. You’d be surprised to know that only about ten times has this been untrue. All other times have been legit. Those ten times, however, were crazy well spent. No one will fight you on this. I’m serious. If anyone gives you flack for this, treat them like what they are…insensitive jerks who don’t know or don’t remember the first thing about being a new parent. Just look at them, shake your head slowly with your eyes squinted like “how…dare…you.” Party you don’t particularly don’t want to go to? Drop this bomb. Don’t want to help that annoying co-worker move a couch? Piece of cake. Won’t get you out of weddings or funerals, though. Of course, I wouldn’t dare try to use it under either of those circumstances. I think it might work, but you won’t outlive the public persecution coming your way.
Leaving Work On Time: Look, everyone wants to leave on time, but the reality of many jobs in this country is the work day doesn’t end at 5:00. By the way, the Accounting Department at my office is the only exception to this. Their work day ends at 4:50. It’s crazy. Those ten minutes over a year is close to 40 hours of work. That’s like an additional week of vacation for every year of your career. That might actually be worth pursuing a career in accounting. Like I was saying, though, sometimes work drives you past the standard 5:00 departure. Sometimes you want to leave with everyone else. You don’t particularly wanna stay until the cleaning crew makes their rounds. Then just say, “I gotta pick up the baby before 5:15 today.” Another day, use the excuse, “I didn’t get to spend much time with my daughter this last weekend and we’re going to the zoo tonight.” If you’re creative, you can come with a new one every day. Again, I’d use it sparingly. Don’t bank on your supervisor being a softy to this. I’m not sure if there’s any laws preventing an employer from canning you for this. Be sensitive to how it’s perceived. I used to have an employee that always had a reason to leave on time and he didn’t even have a baby. It was just because he just couldn’t admit to being lazy and undedicated.
The best part of every power move, though, is that it has a time and place for use. If you use it all the time, some cat’ll find out how to defend against the flying knee or the Tim Hardaway crossover and, next thing you know, your game is shut down.
Happy Saturday. Baby’s asleep. Mama Bear’s sleeping. I’m listening to funk and cleaning the kitchen. Funk don’t sleep.