Quiet isn’t always better with Baby Mal

September 15, 2022

This may surprise some people, but I used to allow my granddaughter, Mallorie, to pretend to be a beautician on my head.

Here’s the deal, when it comes to Baby Mal, I admit, I am perhaps the biggest pushover on the planet. I cave every time she asks for something. It is a situation my children hate. The “Master of No” has become a huge softie, they claim.

I can’t argue with their observations. Grandchildren are so groovy. I can get them all worked up, feed them a ton of sugar and candy, and generally spoil the dog out of them — and then send them home as part of my diabolical plan to avenge years of torture my children gave me while they were growing up. I can’t wait until my sons have children. I’m pretty much gonna be like Dr. Evil.

She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Made-Mad laughs every time Baby Mal comes over. I think she is happy there is another little kid about to mess with my peace. Or maybe it is because it gives her “biggest kid” someone to play with.

“You can say whatever you want, but she has you wrapped around her finger,” SWMNBMM says. “You need to be honest with yourself and admit ‘Apa’ is a wimp.”

I am so not a wimp ... unless SWMNBMM is threatening to step on my in-grown toenail. In that case, I am a wimp.

But back to Baby Mal, I guess I am a wimp when she comes around. You want to see Apa wear nail polish, or a grown man playing tea party then you need to come by the house. I admit, like most grandfathers, I have spent time dressed an ugly Barbie ... all as a way to help a young girl have fun, you know.

A couple of weeks ago, I had to draw the line, though. Baby Mal can no longer wash Apa’s hair.

EDUCATION BREAK: Before I go much farther, I should explain “Apa.” SWMNBMM and I grew up in rural Alaska, and have a real love affair with the 49th State. With that in mind, “Apa” (short for “Apaluk) is the Siberian Yup’ik word for grandfather. Now that class is completed, we return you to your regular column.

As I said, Mallorie came over a few days ago, and being the typical grandchild, she became bored after being at our house for about 3.7 seconds.

Then the worst thing happened.

For some reason, SWMNBMM suggested that I entertain Baby Mal while she and our daughters, Kayme and Whitney, ran to the store. Note to newly married people … suggestions are usually thinly-veiled threats that translate into “or else ...” Like any self-respecting man, I agreed to do it even though I have never been approved as a child entertainer. It became apparent pretty quickly that Mallorie doesn’t care if LeBron James can dribble or not.

“Apa?” she said. “You want to play tea party?”

“Maybe later,” I said.

“Can I brush your hair?” she asked.

I’m not sure how most grandfathers react to this. I compare it to a live scalping ... but if it kept her quiet and I could keep the tears to a minimum, I could watch the game and she’d be relatively quiet. Besides, it’s only skin and hair.

“You know you can,” I said.

Off Mallorie raced to the restroom to get SWMNBMM’s brush, comb, a towel, a checker board and (I hoped) a first aid kit. She put all those things on the table and race out of the room again, returning shortly with a weed eater, a straight razor and a cup of water. With her tools, she climbed up behind me on the couch and began brushing away. Then, out of the blue, a splash of water ran down my head and onto my face.

“You hair is standing up, Apa. I have to wash it.”

The Cavaliers were winning ... she was quiet ...

“No worries,” I said as I wiped the water from my face.

Moments later, there came more water ... and more water ... and more water. I’m pretty sure Moses didn’t have to deal with the amount of water Mallorie was applying to my hair.

But she was quiet … so I endured.

After a while, SWMNBMM and her Mini-Me’s returned and Mallorie went off to torture them.

A few moments later, SWMNBMM came into the living room.

“Why is your head wet?” she said.

“Mallorie was combing my hair,” I said, just as LeBron was about to sink a big shot.

“You do know she got that water out of the toilet, right?”


“What do you have to say for yourself now?” she demanded.

As I ran toward the shower I yelled, “I’m just glad I didn’t agree to have a tea party.”

Tommy Wells is the editor of the McGregor Mirror. Everything in this column is true, except for the parts that are made up, exaggerated or just plain lies.