The Washington Times-Herald

Columns

March 10, 2012

Out the mouth of an infant

WASHINGTON — A lot’s been happening since I was born last September so I decided I better start keeping track of some of it for posterity’s sake.  I mean, who knows? Someone may find it interesting down the road, and when I get old enough to read, it might be fun to look back at some of my infantile impressions and observations.

I’m Ava by the way.  Short for Avangelyne. Kind of a mouthful and a pain in the you know what to spell, but you’ll get used to it.  I have.  

Anyway, immediately following my arrival into the world my exposure to other life forms was limited for the most part to mom, the dog, and the cat.  (Meddlesome, whiny beasts by the way) I mean the pets of course, not mom. Mom’s cool.  Oh, she has her moments to be sure, but heck, what grownups don’t?  

Mom’s dad and the two grandmas were here for a while not long after I was born but they all left eventually and then it was just me, mom, and the critters again. Then a couple of months later, men started showing up around the place. One of them of course was my dad. I recognized his voice right away from all the phone calls and the stories he put on DVD and sent home to us while he was away. He’s in the Marines you see and he came back from Afghanistan the night before Thanksgiving. I’m really glad he’s back. He’s handsome and strong and he helps mom look after me. He’s not as good as mom yet, but that’s just the way of the world. He’ll get there I’m sure.     

This other new guy showed up the same day dad got back, looked at me while I was lying in my crib and told me he was dad’s dad. Of course I would have figured that one out on my own eventually. They sound a lot alike after all and they enjoy flipping through channels looking for sports programming on the TV.  They played Trivial Pursuit a lot at night, ate and drank stuff more or less constantly and got pretty loud at times. Incidentally, mom seemed to know more of the answers to the game questions than either one of them which should come as no surprise. Moms are wise that way. Anyway, I hope I get to play the game and eat and drink stuff some day. It sounded like fun.

The new guy goes by the name of G.D. He said the initials stand for Grand Dad, and also for a familiar expletive that he said he would explain to me in more detail when I got older. Or, he said I could just ask my dad and my aunt and they would tell me all I need to know.  

Apart from the inscrutable initials, he’s pretty cool. Mom and Dad must trust him cause they let him babysit while they went out to eat one night near the end of his stay.  

He fed me on schedule, talked incessantly, fussed appropriately over me, and didn’t bat an eye when I rather noisily evacuated while lying on his lap on the sofa. It was a nasty business by anyone’s standards and resulted in my screaming and crying at the top of my lungs.  But I have to hand it to the guy.  He weathered it like a pro.

Without so much as a grimace or a groan, he trotted me up to my room, laid me on the changing table and did what had to be done, all the while singing this ridiculous song he said he used to sing to my dad when he was little like me. The tune itself was kind of bouncy and fun but the lyrics were repetitive and senseless, like something you’d sing to an infant. He apparently didn’t realize who he was dealing with.  

Once the whole wretched changing of the pants thing was over he kissed me, slipped me into a pair of pajamas and hauled me back downstairs for more sports and mindless chatter.  “G.D. loves Ava,” he kept repeating over and over as he carried me from one end of the house to next, naming stuff along the way:  “Faucet.  Refrigerator.  Stove.  Dog.  Cat.  Dog hair.  Good God the dog hair!  Ice.  Glass.  Water.   Booze.” He seemed to enjoy saying booze. Never drank any though until mom and dad came home and they got out the trivia game and then I think he might have knocked back one or two.  

He was gone when I woke up the next day so I didn’t get to say goodbye or tell him.

“Ava loves you too G.D.”

•••

The author of the foregoing column is Avangelyne Chambers, daughter of Sgt. Blake Chambers Jr. and Jillian Chambers, Camp Legeune N.C., and grand daughter of occasional Times Herald contributor Blake Chambers.  His first — as if you couldn’t tell.

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