The Superbaby Play Group

Here is the short story brainchild of my “superhero mom group” inspiration the other night.  Enjoy!

Tara took a long sip of coffee, keeping a leery watch on Benjamin out of the corner of her eye.  He was playing quietly – for once – digging into a bin of multicolored alphabet blocks in Ellie’s living room corner.

“How old is Ben, now?” Ellie inquired, breaking her out of her reverie.  “Seven months?”

“Almost nine.”

“Oh, wow!”  Ellie eyed the wiry baby in surprise.

“I know, he doesn’t look it,” Tara replied.  “He’s so active, he never puts on any weight.  And he’s a terrible sleeper, still.”  She shook her head, burying her troubles again in the tall glass of iced coffee.  “He’s up countless times every night.”

“Have you tried letting him cry it out?”

Tara let out a huff of amusement.  “Yeah.  It never works, for us.  He doesn’t really cry anyway.  The instant we put him in his crib and shut the door, he starts bouncing off the walls.  He just has far too much energy to burn.  Finally Joe just said ‘That’s it!’ ”  She threw up her hands.  “We go out, shut his door, and let him fly around until he crashes with pure exhaustion.  It’s the only way we can get some sleep.  At least he’s happy and not screaming the entire time,” she groaned.

Amber, who had been listening to this line of conversation with visible misgivings, finally spoke up.  “Have you tried bringing him to bed with you?”

“Ahahaha.”  Tara snorted.  “We gave that up when he was three weeks old.  He just keeps us awake too.  At least this way all we can hear is distant banging on his bedroom wall.  We make sure there’s nothing breakable in there, obviously,” she added.  “Yesterday morning we found him sleeping in the laundry basket.”

“What if he needs you during the night, though?” Amber persisted.

“He doesn’t need us.  What he needs is rest, and he doesn’t get it unless he wears himself to the bone.”

“Maybe he just doesn’t need that much sleep.”

Out of the blue, Ellie leapt to her feet and teleported into the living room.  “Stella!  Stella.  No, honey.  NO.”  She tugged her one-year-old daughter away from the electrical cord she had been pulling and chewing – one moment longer and the lamp would have tumbled onto the floor.  Ellie pushed it to the far back of the end table, redirected her daughter to the heap of multicolored toys on the carpet, and returned to the kitchen island with a slump of exhaustion in her shoulders.  “I swear, she is going to kill someone before the age of two.”  She clapped a hand over her eyes.

“Aww, chill out, Ellie,” Tara consoled her.  “We all grew up and had okay childhoods without maiming or killing anyone, didn’t we?”

“Well…” said Amber.  “Nathan’s brother had an incident once when he was a three-year-old.  It required major government cover-up and the Agency is still providing medical coverage to the victim to this day.”

“Oh, don’t even tell me about it.”  Ellie buried her face in her arms.

“Has she transferred anything worse than a tiny shock, yet?” Tara asked.  “I mean, the last thing I heard was that she zapped Zach one day on the forehead.”

“Eh, sometimes it’s a little more drastic than that, but most of the time that’s all it is.”  Ellie sank her teeth into a chocolate-pumpkin muffin.  “Mmm.  Amber, did you make these?”

The woman nodded.

“They’re good!”

“Thanks.”

Ellie swallowed, continuing “And we have to be seriously careful any time we give her a bath!”

“Oh, I can imagine!” Tara cried.

“It’s like bathing an electric appliance.  One wrong move, and ZAP!”  Ellie brushed the hair off her forehead with wide eyes.  “Speaking of…Amber, is there any luck with the whole bath-time thing for Lulu?”

Amber shook her head.  “Nope.  She continues to screech if so much as a little toe gets in the bathwater.”  She glanced down at her fiery-haired infant, who was sleeping soundly in a paisley sling around her mother’s shoulder, one hand still clutching Mommy’s shirt from a breastfeeding half an hour ago.  “We talked it over with her doctor, and he doesn’t think it’s hurting her in any way.  She just doesn’t like it.”

“So how do you keep her clean?” Ellie exclaimed.  “She’s how old now?  Eight months?  She was born in November, right?”

Amber nodded.

“Doesn’t she need a bath once in awhile, then?  She’s crawling, and getting dirty…”

“We can’t give her one.  She screeches bloody murder.”

“Well, she obviously gets baths sometimes.  How do you keep her clean?”

“With fire,” Amber replied quietly.

Ellie and Tara gaped.  “You can’t be serious.”

“I’m totally serious.  Having a telepathic husband comes in handy sometimes.”  Amber grinned.  “Nobody could figure out what was going on with the whole water thing, until one day he was carrying her past a burning candle at my mom’s house.  She squirmed, and turned in his arms, and reached out for it, and he said it was like everything in her was straining to get to that warmth.  I don’t know why he did it – because he’s nuts – but he said she just seemed so desperate, so he let her touch it.”

“What guy in his right mind would do that!” Ellie burst out, then put a hand over her mouth. “ Sorry, I don’t mean to bash on Nathan…but…seriously!”

“I know!”  Amber laughed.  “I saw it happen out of the corner of my eye, and I just about hit the ceiling.  I was going to screech at him, but the next second Talullah started laughing.  And she just didn’t stop!  She sat there in his arm, trying to grab the flame, and giggling like crazy.  And it started spreading up her arm!  I thought I was going to faint by this point, but he just said, ‘I think I’ve found her power!’ and hurried over and dropped her in a clean stockpot my mom was drying on the counter.  Lulu sat there and giggled – it was hilarious, because it was echoing all around in the pot – and the fire covered her whole body from head to toe, and slowly burned out.  So now, at the end of the day, we stick her in a pot over the stove and sanitize her with fire.”

“Oh, my word.”  Ellie gulped.  “I hope you shut all the curtains.  Otherwise somebody is going to see you someday and call the police.”

“Of course,” Amber retorted.  “Plus, we kind of live out in the boonies.  Nobody’s peeking in our windows.”

“How can you do that to your child?” Tara was still in shock.

Amber shrugged.  “It kills the germs.  She loves it!  And what else are we supposed to do?”

“Wow.”  Ellie swallowed the other half of her pumpkin muffin.  “That is insane.  I didn’t know you even found her power.  You know, I thought you were kind of crazy, with the whole cosleeping thing and not using pacifiers.  But the whole fire-bath thing is truly insane.  I had no idea.”

“Well…we don’t really like to talk about it,” Amber said discreetly, sipping her glass of water.  “It’s a little awkward.”

“Well, yeah!” Tara exclaimed.  “Oh, dear.”  She set down her coffee, preparing to jump to her feet.  “He’s at it again.”

They all watched as Benjamin floated ceiling-ward.  Tara got up and pulled him toward the table by his foot, popping a pacifier into his mouth to soothe his protests.  “Sometimes this is the only way,” she said, and began to latch him into a baby harness.  “I can’t go outside without one.  He might float away like a balloon.”

Fin.

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6 Comments

  1. Greytawnyowl

     /  March 2, 2012

    Hee hee. It sounds like it was fun to write. 🙂 And the story is–to say the least–awesome. 🙂

    Reply
  2. Lara

     /  March 3, 2012

    Love it! Had me laughing! (have heard very similar-but without the superpowers-conversations with friends!)

    Reply
  3. How fun! I’m glad you fleshed this idea into a story for your readers’ entertainment. 🙂

    Reply

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