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Not to worry, I’m not getting political on you. Inappropriate, likely, but not political.

A month ago, I was pretty sure that Matt’s “ghost baby” scenarios were as inappropriate an example of humor as you were going to get around here. Then I began joking about ghost baby myself and had to dial down my mock offense and horror. Sensing the fun was over, Matt came up with a new one: “waterboarding”.

“Waterboarding,” in the happy baby context, is wiping off a baby’s hands and face after a meal. Simon would get so worked up over it, that we joked it sounded like he was being tortured after every meal. I suppose it was a small enough leap for Matt to home in on the specific torture most befitting that simile, and thus “waterboarding” was born in my house.

At first, I was appalled, and would screech “MATT!!” after every utterance. Soon enough I quit chastising Matt and adopted the term myself. Then something funny happened. Simon quit hating being waterboarded, a happy circumstance for which I can thank my mother.

There was no way Rita Goldstein was going to let a little fit of temper get in the way of a clean face. So while I was all tentative gestures and quiet apologies, Mom just went for it. Sometimes even with a wet sponge. Yuck. Then one day she decided to make joke out of it and began making funny faces while wiping him off. And it worked! Instead of shrieking, I heard giggling as Mom cleaned Simon up.

Matt decided this was worth trying to emulate, and it worked for him, too. For the last week or so it’s been so effective that Simon actually anticipates being cleaned up and begins to squint and giggle ahead of the fact. It figures, just as I begin to embrace our tacky little joke, it no longer fits. Just one more way Simon is nearly always one step ahead of us!

P.S. Happy 81st Birthday to Simon’s great-uncle Sam.

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