Dedicated to my blonde author friend, Lucy, this post was inspired by a friend commented that I was rather phlegmatic in my approach to the new baby. I wasn’t sure what she meant, as, in fact, I feel ecstatic about it. So, I looked it up.
The word comes from Hippocrates, the ancient Greek Father of Medicine. This first doctor believed that our bodies consist of four substances. According to which one prevailed, we could be classified in any of four types, each with its own characteristics.
According to the Internet, this is what each type entails. As we all know, the Internet never lies, so it has to be true. Besides, it’s based on the observation made by Hippocrates himself. So, there.
I’ll bet my friend didn’t mean I’m calm and reliable, though. Probably controlled had more to do with it. Which made me wonder. What might happen when a true Mr. Phlegmatic meets a baby for the first time? Something along these lines, I’d wager.
Mister Phlegmatic Meets the Baby
“So, what can you do?” Mister Phlegmatic asks the baby lying in the wicker Moses’ basket in front of him. He fishes his pipe from his pocket and inserts some tobacco, never lighting it.
The baby coos.
Mister Phlegmatic raises a skeptical eyebrow. “Not impressed so far,” he mumbles to himself.
The baby lets out a startling cry. It continues for over a minute, increasing in volume with each passing second. The glass pane behind Mister Phlegmatic starts to shake, then the glass shatters in a million pieces. This amuses the baby, who stops screaming to stare at the night sky outside.
“Not too bad,” Mister Phlegmatic says as he pries a large piece of glass embedded in his forearm. Blood gushes out, but he ignores it. “Just a flesh wound,” he mutters. He flicks the stained piece outside the broken window. “That the best you can do?”
The baby scrunches up its face, then lets out a relieved sigh as a horrid stench fills the small room.
Mister Phlegmatic raises a hand to his face and takes a step back, towards the shattered window. His brow creases. “I thought the Geneva Convention had banned chemical weapons.” The words come out an incomprehensible mumble, as his fingers pinch his nose. He waits until the cool night breeze from the window dispels the foul cloud hanging in the air like a mummy’s fart. Then, he releases his nose and takes a couple of apprehensive whiffs. Satisfied that the stench is gone, he sucks defiantly at the end of his pipe. “That all, then?”
A second cry causes his ears to pop out of their sockets and land on the floor with a soft plop. “They’ll grow back, no doubt.”
A stream of pale yellow liquid shoots upwards into the air. It splashes against the ceiling, like a mini fountain. It lasts for a minute or two, then the pressure diminishes and the fountain disappears.
“Sorry, old bean,” Mister Phlegmatic says. “There is a statue in Belgium that can do that for far longer.” He shakes his head. “Not terribly impressed so far, I have to say. Looks like all this baby malarkey is nothing more than the usual hype.”
The baby’s lips break into a toothless grin. Silver and gold light fills the room and surrounds them. The sun and the stars play on the ceiling and in the baby’s eyes. A chorus of singing angels descends from above. They play on their harps a melody that almost draws a single tear to Mister Phlegmatic’s eyes, for the first time in decades.
“Not bad,” he says, munching the end of his pipe. “Not bad indeed.”
Exhausted, the baby coos and falls asleep.
Mister Phlegmatic picks it up and heads into the bathroom, while an army of flying monkeys storms into the room. Half of them hold buckets; the rest carry a new window. “Maybe there is something to you after all,” Mister Phlegmatic says, surprise lacing his voice. “Who knew?”
Click here for some more flattering photos of Mary Natalie.
I absolutely loved this! Mary Natalie is a beautiful name for such a darling baby. Nicholaas, you have to put your posts about Mary Natalie in a book for her to read when she is older. Through thick and thin, there is nothing better than being a parent.
Aw, thank you so much, Michelle 🙂
Oh, I just love this! I think with just a little marketing, Mister Phlegmatic could be a top professional babysitter.
He certainly has the right attitude!
Very funny, and all true. I was shocked the first time I heard a baby fart. .. especially as I was in public and everyone looked round at me, as if I was the culprit!
Oh no! 😀
Oh yes! Embarrassing. Just you wait. Its usually the daddies who get the blame…
Ah you’ve done it again! Brilliant writing sir- I hope one day I can write as well as you! (Omg that sounded so cheese I’m sorry, I’m terrible at this commenting thing- but I did genuinely mean it!)
Not only was it a great story, BUT ALSO YOU INCLUDED “Just a flesh wound,”- which yeah, pretty much makes you awesome.
Now I want to hear how Mr Melancholic will handle things…
Lol- I’ll be sure to ask Mr. Melancholic for his thoughts on the matter. And thank you – that was not cheesy at all. It was real sweet 🙂
Lovely post, and what sounds like not such a lovely word, is a lovely compliment for you. Congrats again, daddy. 🙂
Aw, you! Thank you 🙂
Down through the ages phlegmatic in literature is somewhat a kin to sedentary. The key word in your chart is passive.
I always thought of it more along the lines of “Rule Britannia” 🙂
Adorable post, photos, and story!
Congratulations for the little one! Many blessings for all of you!
Good research on “Phlegmatic.”
Quite surprised with the types that fit in that category, especially since the Thesaurus has a different idea for synonyms:unfeeling, passionless, listless, cold, lethargic, sluggish, slow, lazy.
By the way, I too am an introvert and very much stable. The word “phlegmatic” describes me totally.
Happy New Year, Nicholas!
Na sas zisei i mikroula!
Thank you so much, Kate! I suspect that quite a few writers are introverted. I mean, we have to be, right? 🙂
Oh, I think you are phlegmatic (had to check how to spell that). It’s a great quadrant and he’s not nearly as droll as you make him out to be. It’s the opposite of the choleric drama queen – which you are not 🙂 New babies are always a little funny looking – the parts don’t work well and just think about the environmental adjustmenat! She will be the cutest baby in the world in no time!
The choleric drama queen; I’m already dreading that 😀
She’s already changing on a daily basis, which is amazing to watch 🙂
Too funny. She was complimenting you. I hate when somebody compliments me with words I don’t fully understand. I have to complacently smile, as if I wasn’t offended, then go home and read their definition as I sigh with relief. You little one is gorgeous, poop and all.
Lol – thanks 😀
LOL, how adorable a post and baby photo. Glad to see the sleepless nights haven’t deprived you of your wicked sense of humor. Love it!
The trick is to write these at the very early days and schedule them 😉
I giggled and cooed reading this. Babies light up your life like nothing in the world. Congratulations. She’ll love this story when she’s old enough. I can see proud paper writing stories just for her. 🙂 What joy you will have together.
Oh! It never occurred to me that she might actually enjoyed the story. I was too busy thinking of where to hide away when she read it… 🙂
I’m sure you’ll be up nights writing for you darling just because you can and she’ll wait for the next story or chapter tingling with anticipation. 🙂
Lol – I’m sure you’re right, at least about the writing part. Will she await eagerly the next chapter? Well, right now she’s literally a captive audience, but I don’t know what’ll happen once she starts walking 🙂
Little girls worship their dads. You’ll see.
At least until we ask to meet ‘that boy’ and she realizes that yes, we *will* be cleaning our gun at the time. The fact that it’s a plastic toy somehow only makes it worse.
*grin* Guns make too much noise and take too much work…even plastic ones. How about a baseball bat?
I like the way you think! 😀
😀 😀 😀
They always find them! 🙂
Lol – I believe that. The odds of them finding out something you’re trying to hide are directly related to the degree of embarrassment involved 🙂
For some reason, I really want to know where he got the baby from. Sounds like somebody gave it to him as a holiday gift. As for the picture, I think you’re safe for a while. I’ve heard that it’s teenagers that get embarrassed at the slightest provocation. Then it’s like you’re working with an entirely different species.
He got her from Walmart. She was a blue light special.
I’m already dreading her teen years. I hope she never discovers this blog! 😀
What’s the worst that she’ll find? 🙂 I suggest stocking up on explanations now.
I can just hear her now. DAAADDYYYYY!!!!
Don’t worry. The way society is going, she’ll send it in a text that you won’t get for a few hours. 😉
Lol – and maybe I can pretend I never did 😀
Even Mr. Phlegmatic can’t withstand the force of nature known as a baby. Congratulations on the New Addition!! She’s absolutely adorable!!
Aw, thank you! 🙂
Great post and spot on about how a baby’s smile can transform our world.
Thanks, Mary 🙂
A friend once told me that all newborns look alike…and all look like Winston Churchill ?? I have a pic like that of my first born, a baby girl, all scrunched, frowning, eyes closed…she grew to be a real beauty. It happens. ☺ And she will look back at you with love, but she won’t appreciate the photo. Trust me.
I have to agree. All babies are Churchillian at birth, and only develop non-Churchill characteristics once the creases iron out!
Good to know I have something to look forward to 😀
You have summed up the attitude of most parents, Nicholas. One beaming smile, and every and any transgression is immediately forgiven. (Wait until she’s seventeen, see if that still works…)
Best wishes, Pete.
Lol – I can’t wait… he lied. 😀
Oh, I do 😀
Every author puts something of himself into their writing. Shall I start calling you Nicholas Phlegmatic?
Well… My friend would certainly suggest so!
Loved the story. Mary-Natalie’s picture even more. You will include this in a short-story collection, right?
Lol – wasn’t planning to, but if you think I should, I might 🙂
Great post and you dedicated it to me!! Yay!!
I’m a man of my word, aren’t I? 😀
You have made my morning coffee 🙂
Aw, you! Then my work here is done 😀
You look at your adorable daughter as I look at my adorable granddaughter. I dare say both of us wonder how such a pungent anti-personnel weapon can be created from just milk.?
Ha ha – yes, it’s quite the feat, isn’t it? 😀
Nicholas, Mary Natalie is adorable & full of expression. Mister Phlegmatic seemed to dip down into Melancholic a few times…reserved, sober, rigid. Amazing, fun story you created out of one word! Loved it! I’d say save it for the baby’s memory book. ?? Chryssa
Aw, you! That’s so sweet of you to say. But adorable, with that photo? Hmm…
Fun post, but the best part….. seeing your adorable and oh so cute baby girl 😀
That is so sweet of you to say, but really? Cute? That face?? 😀
You better believe she’s cute – you and Electra made her, so it stands to reason she’s cute 😀
Aw, you! I just posted a post for the 16th with some proper photos so you can judge for yourself 🙂
She’s adorable! I was waiting to see photos of your baby.
Oh my! I’ll be sure to post some proper ones, then 😀