Most Looney Tunes characters are a lot like young children. Raising a child is like living in a particularly harebrained animated short in which things are constantly falling off high ledges, busting through walls or exploding. I would be completely unsurprised to learn that Chuck Jones and Mel Blank based the cartoons on their true life experiences managing a day care center.
1. The Tasmanian Devil tears through rooms recklessly, inadvertantly destroying everything in his path. (Sigh audibly if anything sounds familiar)
2. Daffy Duck seems to have a major problem with sharing (and possibly honesty).
3. Tweety Bird is sweet and innocent but not quite as innocent as he looks and Sylvester the Cat is always going after the thing he is not supposed to touch.
Every character seems similar to having a young, mischevious child. Given that he is not yet two and I am in my thirties, I constantly wonder how my roadrunner of a toddler can outwit my strategic attempts to catch him (in order to put on his pants, not blow him up with Acme-brand TNT). And yet if I had to pick the one character I think of most often when dealing with my son it would be Michigan J. Frog.
For those of you not familiar with this cartoon, here’s a quick synopisis.
A doofy-looking moustachioed guy finds a frog in a metal box. The frog ribbits. Then out of literally nowhere the frog pulls out a cane and a top hat and starts singing vaudeville-era songs in a theatrical baritone voice while dancing. “Hello my baby, hello my honey, hello my ragtime gaaal!” He finishes a song and immediately reverts to normal frog behavior. (Ribbit.) The doofy-looking moustachioed guy is floored! What an amazing thing he has found! He then tries to show other people all the amazing things the frog can do (Look at this amazing singing and dancing frog!) only to find that the frog will not perform vaudeville in front of any other people. When they are alone the frog continues to amaze him with jazzy song-and-dance numbers but falls completely silent the moment another person enters the room.
Scenario 1: The Nana Phone Call
Baby: Nana! Nana! Nana! Phone! Nana! Phone!
Me: (into phone) He just won’t stop saying your name! He just keeps going, “Nana! Nana! Nana!” Here– hold on a second. (To baby) It’s Nana, buddy! Do you have something you want to say to Nana?
Nana: Is he there? Hello?
Me: Buddy, it’s NANA.
Me: (taking phone back) Sorry, I swear he would not stop doing it a minute ago.
*Quietly hangs up phone*
Scenario 2: The High Five Request
Baby: Hi! Hi, hi, hi, hi, hello! HELLO! High five! Blow kiss. Hug! (laughs) Hug, please!
(a friend of mine arrives)
Me: It’s crazy– he can’t stop saying hello lately. He’s constantly giving high fives and asking for hugs.
Friend: That’s so sweet!
Me: I know. It’s really adorable.
Friend: Hi buddy! Can I get a high five?
Baby: *stares coldly into nothingness*
Scenario 3: “He’s Talking SO Much!”
Other friend: So is he talking much?
Me: Yes, a ton. He repeats everything I say! He’ll usually repeat the last word of all my sentences. I feel like he’s babbling nonstop. It’s so sweet and adorable.
Other friend: (to baby) Is this true? Your mom’s telling me you’re talking all the time now?
Baby: *Says nothing*
Me: Are you going to show us how well you talk? Are you going to repeat the last word of my…sentence?
Baby: *Says nothing*
Other friend: (encouragingly, to baby) Is that what you’re doing? Are you repeating everything you hear? I heard that someone is quite the talker lately!
Baby: *Says literally nothing for the following three hours*
Scenario 4: Alphabet
Baby: (singing) A B C D E F G. H I J K LMNO Peeee.
Me: Mom, he’s doing it, c’mere!
Baby: Q R Esss, Tee You Veee. Dable-You Ax, Why and Zee.
Me: Mom, he knows the whole alphabet! He just sang the whole thing!
*My mother comes running into room*
My Mother: Are you saying the alphabet, handsome?
Baby: *Smiles silently*
Me: Do it again, buddy. A B C D…
Baby: *says nothing*
My Mother: Can you sing ABCD for Abuela?
Me: Just like you were doing. A B C D…
My Mother: E F Geeee…
Me: H I J K…
*My mother and I enthusiastically sing the entire alphabet four times. Baby watches us politely before leaving the room*
Scenario 5: I Love You
Baby: Mama kiss. (Kisses my leg) Good morning.
Me: Good morning! I love you!
Baby: I laave you.
Me: (Screaming to next room) JON, GET IN HERE, THE BABY SAID I LOVE YOU!
*Jonathan runs into the room*
Me: He just did it! (to baby) Can you do it again? Say I love you. I loooove you.
Jon: (to baby) I love you!
Me: (to baby) I love you! Come on, do it again! I love you!
Jon: (to baby) Say it, buddy! I loooove you!
*Baby suddenly begins crying. Spends next 11 minutes sobbing while passing enormous bowel movement.*
Scenario 6: Larry
Baby: Larry has big moustache. Larry, moustache!
Me: You’re right, Larry does have a big moustache!
Baby: Larry, big! Big moustache! Larry big moustache!
(Later that evening, at Larry’s house)
Me: Hey bud, what does Larry have?
Me: Oh my god, I swear he would not stop talking about Larry’s moustache. I listened to like three hours of Larry having a big moustache. Buddy, what does Larry have? What does Larry have on his face?
Baby: *says nothing*
Me: Oh come on, you would not stop with this. Does Larry have…a moustache?
Me: Does he have a…big moustache?
Me: Who here in this room has a big moustache? Who has a moustache??
*Baby waits for several seconds, as if thinking it over.*
Baby: Mama. Mama moustache.
Me: *Begrudingly places hand over upper lip. Scowls.*
Scenario 7: Totally Nice Lady Across from us on the Train
*Friendly-looking older woman waves to baby from across the subway car*
Woman: He looks so happy! What a sweet, happy baby.
Me: Yeah, it’s wonderful. He’s really happy most of the time. (to baby) Can you say hi to the lady?
Baby: No. No no no NO NO NO NO (frantically reaching for train doors as if trying to escape a great evil) NO NO NO! OUT! OUT! OUUUUUUUT!! OUUUUUUT!! OUUUUUUUT!!
Woman: *looks at me pleadingly*
Baby: *Cries hysterically, as if in mortal danger* NOOOOOOOOOO!!! GET OUT! GET OUT! OUUUUUUUUUT!! NOOOOOOOOOO!!
Me: I’m so sorry! He’s usually so friendly! I don’t know what he’s–
Woman: *Appears to suffer complete emotional collapse*
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If you enjoyed the post, please like The Ugly Volvo on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. Or sign up to follow the blog at the bottom of the page. (I don’t post more than once a week). Also, if you’re that lady on the subway I am seriously so sorry about that, I swear most of the time he is such a happy kid.
Also, even though I went with Michigan J. Frog as the character most like having a toddler, given what my living room looks like, the Tasmanian Devil was a pretty serious runner up.