Vail Novice Father: The ‘Marge and Maggie dance’
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado “-There’s a scene in The Simpsons focusing on Marge and Maggie. It’s not an iconic scene in any way, but it sticks in my mind even though this was from a television season years ago. Marge, with her blue beehive hairdo, busily makes sandwiches for the family. Maggie is perched on the kitchen counter next to her. Maggie crawls away. Just before she’s out of reach, Marge grabs her and plops her right back where the baby started. As soon as Marge lets go, Maggie crawls away again.
It’s a dance between the two. The notable part is that neither mother Marge nor baby Maggie get frustrated by this constant back and forth. Marge never loses her focus on the sandwiches. Reaching for Maggie and returning her to safety is only a semi-conscious reflex. A step above breathing. Maggie never makes a peep … beyond the usual sucking of her red pacifier. Each partner plays her role. The dance goes on.
The Simpsons ” the longest running television show in history “-owes its success to being a satire on the American family. I’ve seen my fair share of episodes … when they originally aired on primetime and the ever-present repeats. Scenes like this tend to burn into my subconscious. These scenes lie dormant until I experience them in real life. A similar real world experience makes them pop back into my memory like a bagel out of the toaster.
My 10-month old daughter crawls now. She rolls over. She sits up. She doesn’t like to be stuck in one spot … ever.
When I change her diaper on the floor, she has no intention of cooperating. Once naked, she rolls over and is nearly out of reach before I throw the dirty diaper in the bin. I grab her and put her on her back in front of me.
It’s the Marge and Maggie dance.
I’ve got my own solution to the Kid’s restlessness … looking beyond the day-to-day wisdom of The Simpsons. I rest my leg over the Kid’s stomach, leaving both my hands free for diaper changing. It’s a move I learned from watching Hulk Hogan pin Randy “Macho Man” Savage years ago in Wrestle Mania III.
A friend once said that because The Simpsons has been on for so long, he relates to it differently now than when he first began watching. When the cartoon first aired, he related to Bart: just wanting to cut school and go skateboarding. Now, an adult, he relates more to Homer: “Mmmmmm … beer.”
I’m in a new stage of life. I guess that means I must relate to a new Simpsons character. I half-consciously pull my daughter back to me so she stays out of trouble. Who knew I would now relate with Marge? Only without the beehive hairdo.
Kelly Coffey is a novice father. He shares his mistakes, fears, and laughs along his journey to figure out how anybody could possibly raise a child. Submit comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.