“Watch the baby” (#28)

Grandma has lots of phrases that she uses constantly now. Some cause headaches, like when she constantly asks us where her wallet is so that she can give away all her money. Another classic is, “what do we got to eat around here, anything good?”  My absolute favorite though is one that’s been around basically forever. The exact origins are unknown, but it can be assumed that the phrase gained popularity when Grandma had her first child and it was definitely in full affect by the time the last of her six babies was born. In the oldest home movies we have of the Calvano’s, there is no sound so although it can’t be officially confirmed that Grandma was already warning people to watch the baby, there is much evidence pointing to it already being in existence.

First of all, the ease with witch this phrase flows off her lips indicates that she has been saying it for many, many years. This past Christmas, Tony, Alyssa, and I were having a wrestling match on the couch like the grown-adults we are while Grandma sat in her chair watching Days of Our Lives. Without even turning her head away from the TV, she somehow heard us rough-housing and just throws out a quick, “watch, watch, don’t hurt the baby.” And for those of you getting nervous at home, don’t worry there were no actually babies involved in this fight. Rather, “the baby” is just what I, a fully-grown 23-year old is called in this house. Similarly, my 50-something uncle is also “the baby” and it is just so easy to picture her saying this all the times her boys were rough-housing when they were growing up.

Being the baby actually has a lot of advantages when Grandma’s around. For Uncle Phil, it meant being able to avoid the scary nuns by attending public school plus pretty much a lifetime of special treatment. For me, it means Grandma yelling at my cousins to give me the cards I want in Rummy because “the baby needs them.” Plus also pretty much a lifetime of special treatment. Luckily, my parents (well, at least my mom) didn’t really enforce the whole baby thing so I’m not too psychologically damaged from years of being spoiled. But it’s definitely nice to have Grandma always on my side during arguments, and making sure that I have enough to eat, and letting me watch whatever I want on TV, and making sure I get a good cut of whatever is being shared at the moment, etc, etc, etc.

However, recently it seems like I’ve finally been dethroned as the baby. Before everyone reading this jumps to conclusions, calm your beating hearts this is not an extremely rude and inappropriate announcement of the highly anticipated AMC baby. Oh no, my dethronement came from a source much closer to home. It seems that I’ve been replaced by my own rabbit.

For Rory, being called the baby is probably a step up. Usually, Grams refers to her as “the pussy cat” or “the puppy dog.” Sometimes, she doesn’t get that specific and Rory is just “y pet.” It’s also a good thing that rabbits don’t really have a sense of gender pronouns, because every single person in this family besides me, including those without Alzheimers, refers to that poor rabbit using he, him, and his. So maybe being called the baby is a step in the right direction, at least it’s gender neutral.

Nowadays in the Calvano household, Grams still asks “what do we have to feed to baby,” “where’s the baby,” and still throws out the old favorite “watch the baby” on daily basis, we’re just never quite sure what baby she’s talking about. Yesterday, Mum had to ask which baby she meant and she pointed to me and goes “that one.” Twenty minutes after that, she shuffles into the living room to ask me if the baby can have more water. Rory has officially tied me in rank when it comes to Grandma.

This post took a lot of weird turns, but I’m tired and its 11:56 and basically the point is that Grandma is the best. Also, she may or may not like my rabbit more than me but every baby’s gotta grow up eventually I guess.


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