Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Newest Leprechaun

In our family when someone doesn’t take a nap the entire day he’s called a No Nap McGee. My Mom coined this charming sobriquet back when Finn was two, when going without a nap all day was a Big Deal. We originally used it so Finn wouldn’t know we were talking about him, as in, “You wouldn’t believe the fit No Nap McGee threw today!” But Inspector Napless soon caught on that we were talking about him and, in a page straight from the From Epithets to Empowerment handbook, actually began using it himself in his No Rest For The Weary campaign: “But, Moooooommmmm, I want to be a No Nap McGee today!”

The nickname always struck me as oddly funny in its cheery singsonginess, since being a No Nap McGee turned our usually sweet boy into a fang-bearing, claw-sharpening gremlin. I imagined all the happy little leprechauns—Patty O’Day, Seamus McGillicuddy, Malachy O’Reilly, and the like—gathered around the hearth, half pints in hand, singing folk songs of dear old Eire, while No Nap McGee sulked in a shadowy corner, whining about When his Papa was expected home or Why he didn’t want to eat his yucky dinner.

These days, Finn rarely naps anymore so we’ve shelved the nickname for a while. We do, however, have a new ornery leprechaun in our midst, one with big blue eyes and a grip tighter than Guinness on Ireland*: Grabby McDougal.

Baby Shea is in that grab-as-grab-can stage of babyhood, clutching with fists aplenty anything within her reach: hair, necklaces, noses, earrings, breasts, curtains, lips, telephones, Venetian blinds, her brother—you name it. Then she tries to shove said item straight into her pretty, teething little mouth.

So tactile-driven is Grabby McDougal that John and I must keep a stash of plastic toys nearby when we feed her to keep her hands busy so she doesn’t intercept the food-filled spoon as it’s en route to her mouth. Lately, each toy we present holds her attention for the duration it takes to ingest about four bites of food, after which she hurls the toy to the floor in disgust like a petulant monarch tossing a deadpan jester out of her parlor.

Stay tuned for the announcement of future inductees to the Surly Leprechaun Hall of Fame, as we’ve been witnessing some regular appearances lately from the likes of Whiney O’Herlihy, Clingy McCorkle, Sassback Sullivan, and, most spectacularly, the Lord of the Poop Dance.

* In no way is this comment meant to be judgmental. After touring the Guinness James's Gate Brewery in Dublin, I learned that almost two billion pints of Guinness a year are sold around the world and more than one million pints A DAY are sold in Great Britain alone. And while on our honeymoon in England and Ireland, John and I singlehandedly (doublefistedly?) tipped the scales in favor of homeland consumption.

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