Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pancakes, Poop, and Other Items

Saturdays are sacred. After a week toiling at a horrible, soul-robbing job, and the full-time dad duties when I get home, I really, really look forward to Saturday. There's also a standing rule on Saturdays that Dad can open a beer at any point in the day without any guilt, eye-rolling, or 'oh, so you're drinking' commentary from the wife. This rule doesn't apply during the week. It's a great day. Full of opportunity and promise, and it's the farthest point from having to go back to work. Like any other day though, the morning sets the tone for the whole day.
 Today started off like any other…

6:58 a.m. I wake up to dog whining. He does this to wake me up. Between that and the constant pacing back and forth in and out of the bedroom, you might as well ring a gong over my head. I'm up. It's still dark out and after back-to-back-to-back nights of post midnight bed times, I'm freaking tired and may or may not be swearing at the dog. The savage gang of neighborhood raccoons visited us again last night, teasing and torturing him until he finally passed out. I suspect he woke up and remembered they may still be outside the window the same way a kid who wakes up and realizes its Christmas morning.

7:10 a.m. Moderately dressed. Dog let out and I talk myself into some DVR catch-up time on the couch. I'm distracted by the clock as I watch the minutes tick by. I could do this all day, but know it won't happen.

7:28 a.m. The first coo's, grunts, and "da-da, da-da's" are heard through the baby monitor. Uh, oh. Please, just a few more minutes. Need to finish this South Park episode.

7:44 a.m. The cute baby sounds have escalated into what imagine to be loosely translated as "I'm awake folks. Now someone get their ass in here and get me out! Now!"

7:48 a.m. Baby up. Diaper changed. We peek into the bedroom to check on the wife. We quickly leave as she's still asleep. I secretly try and let my wife sleep in on the weekends whenever possible to gain favors. I then try and cash those in later in the day when the game's on, I want to go to Best Buy, or it's time to make happy-time with Dad. Don't judge me. Not that it would matter much. The wife sleeps like she's dead. She looks like she's auditioning to be in a crime scene on C.S.I.

8:00 a.m. I squeeze in a few minutes more of T.V. time but interrupted by distant grunting. That would be the tell-tale sign of the daughter taking a poop. A trait she established long ago. Stand in the corner and grunt, poop. Stop in mid-stride and grunt, poop. Grab the coffee table and double over and grunt, big poop. I'm not talking little baby grunts either. These are aggressive, aspiring tennis player grunts that would be disconcerting if you didn't know what was going on. Guess I'll be changing this one.

8:05 a.m. Baby girl is apparently hungry as she begins to climb into her high chair as if it's Mt. Everest. As the personal chef for the wife and now eating adult food baby girl, I start breakfast. Pancakes.

8:27 a.m. Pancakes made, baby fed, and the clanging of pans and dishes has aroused the wife. She gives the usual "Oh, I didn't know you guys were up, thanks for letting me sleep" spiel that I will cash in later.

8:35 a.m. Wife has sequestered herself into the office. She's in grad school and spends her weekends mostly studying. So she gets a hall pass. I feel sorry for her but it also means Saturdays I turn into a rodeo clown trying to distract, entertain, and otherwise keep baby girl from destroying things and away from the wife.

9:35 a.m. For the past hour of dancing, book reading and block stacking, I've managed to hold serve. But for a few minutes (Cool Hand Luke is on!) I'm distracted and fail to notice she has disappeared. I get up to investigate and find baby girl emerging from our bedroom with a pair of panties around her neck. Yup, panties. For whatever reason, she has a new fetish of putting things over her head and around her neck. Belts, shopping bag handles, the dog's leash, and now apparently panties.

Awesome. I make a mental note to double check where the nearest emergency room is.

10:19 The near strangulation-by-panties episode has repeated itself twice more. Each time with a different pair. In my defense, the wife puts her thingy's in weird places and I can't possibly anticipate them all. Cool Hand Luke is almost done and she has spent the past hour treating me like her own personal jungle gym. My neck feels like its bleeding and I haven't been to the bathroom in three hours. I notice the clock and realize we're still two hours from nap time and the earliest chance to do anything that doesn't involve an 18 month old attached to your leg.

10:26 a.m. Grunt and poop episode number two for the day. I announce, "I got this one!" to no one in particular. Starting to itch for the first beer of the day which is not a good sign, rule or no rule.

Good times. Saturdays.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

No One Told Me This!

This is the first. That is a blog post for a 'blog' that started awhile ago, at least in my head. It was right about the time my wife called me upstairs a few years back and said "I have something to tell you…" and informed me the puppy vs. baby debate was officially over. From then on it's been a strange, incredible, and unintentionally comedic hike. One I'm sure I wasn't the only one unprepared for. Right? Sure, I read the books. I went to the classes. I asked questions. I observed and reacted to the wife's changing body, moods, and overall decision making that swung, creaked, and threatened to snap like a county fair amusement ride. But no one tells you the delivery actually happens and it might span three days. They don't tell you the things we see can't be unseen. They don't tell you you're just getting started after you leave the hospital. They don't tell you the only thing open at the time you can go to eat during those three days is a McDonald's. They don't tell you what three straight days of McDonald's and "Is everything okay?" phone calls does to a man. I'd complain more about the McD's but my wife would just remind me again I didn't leave with stitches in sensitive places or digest anything that resembled a medium-sized watermelon. Whatever. I wasn't right for days.

Moving on. As a parting gift for an extended stay at the New Parenthood Inn (as a bonus, ours was in the neighborhood known as Crack Alley!), they send you home with a real baby. A real purple, screaming, pooping, I need to eat every two hours baby that's presumably yours and not one of the dozen others they show you through the glass window of the indoor infant green house. Yes, I was proud. This was my child. My daughter. I was Dad. Wonderful, but no one tells you that baby could care less about you though. Unless you present boob or some sort of boob substitute at consistent and frequent intervals, what purpose do you serve? Are you ready for this? At least that's what her beaming brown eyes bored into me. Crap. Will I ever be a good enough father for her? Do I need to go back to school, get a second job, go the gym more often, join Greenpeace, ring the Salvation Army bell at Christmas, start helping senior citizens more? WHERE WAS THIS IN THE BOOKS???

No one tells you a baby and the corresponding sleep deprivation brings out the strange, the unknown, the WTF? in you and mom. Kind of like the office party where uptight, by-the-book, turtleneck-sweatered Stacy in HR has a few and starts table dancing and hooks up with Gary in accounting. You're shocked and uncomfortable to the point you just don't want to talk about it the next day and pretend it never happened. When that baby cries for the umpteenth time, its 3:27 a.m., you're exhausted, like you just crammed for five straight days for college finals exhausted, and you don't want to get up. Neither does she. So much so she may say things directed at you so perverse, you wonder if you're dreaming or if you left the TV on and you are hearing an episode of The Wire. Out of fear, you don't ask. You just get up and tell yourself it's your turn.

Now my wife is the smartest person I know. She has the job, degree, and resume to prove it. I married well. The books though, don't tell you even the brightest, most gifted among us will be subject to questionable decision making when a baby is introduced in the equation. One afternoon after work shortly after baby girl arrived, I took Junior, the much-maligned, bi-polar canine my wife inherited when she married me, for a short walk. Upon our return I find the wife on the couch holding the kid with a painfully obvious, guilty, I just went through your wallet while you were away and found something I should have look that implied something was ah, up. This was made quite obvious by the indescribable state of my child's cranium. Wet and greasy with what looked like flour in a thick coat on top. It appeared as if the wife had initiated some sort of strange primitive tribal ritual while I was gone.

"Um, so, about that…" I asked. "What happened?"

"Nothing." She replied with the same demeanor I imagine my kids using when I find a broken lamp on the floor someday real soon.

"Her head. What happened?"

Like a criminal relieved at finally copping to their crime, she confessed. As a side note, my wife is terrible at poker.

"Her scalp was really dry and it bothered me. So I rubbed it. With Vaseline. I may have put on too much so ….

"I put baby powder on it. I may have put too much on."

Take a second and imagine what that might look like on anything. Now imagine it on a six week old newborn that wasn't exactly the Gerber Baby when she arrived.

"Oh. Okay. Um, yeah. What would you like for dinner…" What else could I say?

Until next time... Keep your diapers dry. The car warmed up. And make sure they will have beer.