Elle Cosimano

Killing Baby Bob

“Don’t kill it, Mom!” My five year old son stomped his foot on the bathroom stool and fisted his little hands. A snot bubble swelled under his nose.

“Kill what?”

“My baby!” He stretched on his tip toes and grasped at the soggy dixie cup I held over the open commode.

I looked into the cup. One of his little ‘sparements (translation: experiments).

“What is it?” I squinted at the unidentifiable blob where it lay drowning under an inch of cloudy tap water.

“It’s Baby Bob!” The snot bubble burst. “You can’t put Baby Bob in the toilet!”

My son, Doctor Frankenstein, was making imaginary friends out of tiny balls of toothpaste, which — when soaked in water overnight — transformed into a swollen, marble-like substance. He assured me they were only ‘sparements, but it didn’t surprise me to see one fly through the house at warp speed only hours later. In his twisted amateur laboratory, he’d not only created a companion, but also invented a unique reproducible form of ammunition with which to pelt his unsuspecting older brother in the back of the head.

Of course, it all made sense. I understood completely why I couldn’t kill Baby Bob (and why — I noted, as Bob grew before my eyes — flushing him into our septic system might be a mistake I’d come to regret).

I set the dixie cup back on the counter, and his little shoulders relaxed. I identified with his pain. Because, figuratively speaking, I have Baby Bobs too.

My own babies aren’t terribly different. I collect little wads of sticky ideas. I paste them in empty notebooks and hope by adding enough sustenance and letting them rest in their literary petri dish, they’ll swell into something wonderful. Something bigger and harder-hitting. Something I can throw at the world, to make people scratch their heads and think “hmmm….”. My babies aren’t called “Bob” but they have identities. They speak to me and keep me company, taking up friendly residence in the quiet corners of my mind while they brew.

For all the reasons I understand my son’s obsession with his Bobs, I decided to let his babies take up residence in their quiet corner of my bathroom. For his sake, I hope they grow big, I hope they make him proud, and I hope his tiny dixie cup never dries up.

Feb

09, 2011 |

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