Bringing up Baby

And there came a time for every child in the Gollum family when Mama and Papa decided that Baby shouldn’t be a baby anymore. Then the discipline began that made a baby Gollum into an adult Gollum. Mama Gollum decided that Baby wasn’t speaking clearly enough, and so whenever Baby said a D instead of a TH, as in DAT, Mama screamed and hit Baby. Eventually, Baby stopped making that mistake. Baby was also a thumbsucker. But it was easy to rub hot pepper on the thumb whenever they caught Baby sucking it. And if they caught Baby sucking anything else, they rubbed hot pepper on it, too. When Baby and one of the other kids got into a fight over a toy, Mama and Papa helped teach Baby that selfishness wouldn’t make Baby happy. And when it came to which kid would sit on the front seat with Mama and Papa, it wasn’t ever Baby, because Baby was still a baby. Papa Gollum decided that Baby shouldn’t be wetting the bed, and so Papa took control over this part of Baby’s life. First he denied Baby fluids after 5 o’clock, and tried regular mandatory potties— during which Baby stayed on the potty until Baby used it. Then he threatened wrapping Baby in diapers, and told everyone that Baby didn’t get any ice cream when all the other kids got some because Baby was still acting like a baby. When these things didn’t work, he and Baby had a long talk, during which Papa seriously questioned Baby’s desire to grow up into an adult Gollum. And he and Baby settled on lollipops— Baby would get a lollipop if the bed was dry two nights running. But if Baby woke up dry it was a totally random event. Then Papa began waking Baby at midnight and 3 AM for trips to the potty, but since Papa couldn’t always get out of bed at these early hours Baby wet the bed anyway. Then it happened; Papa got up at 3 AM and Baby had already wet. After this it was no more Mr. Nice Guy. Papa began spanking Baby after every wetting, and he refused to let Mama change Baby’s wet sheets until Baby learned better. Eventually, Papa won his war with wetness. After that he had to deal with the monsters that lurked under Baby’s bed and in the dark corners of Baby’s room. Baby had a lot of other annoying habits, like crying and whining, and pushing peas around on the dinner plate, but the superiority of the adult Gollum was eventually forced upon Baby to the satisfaction of all concerned.

18 May 1986