Mr. Mom – day friggin’ 18

At last I am compelled to write.  18 days ago my wife had surgery – a hernia repair with an “abdominoplasty incision.”  That translates to stitches traversing the bottom of her abdomen from hip to hip.  And for the first few weeks she had a couple of nifty surgical drains that needed to be drained, measured, and otherwise cared for several times a day.  She’s still not to the point where she can lift anything over 10 pounds or sleep in a normal bed.   So basically what I am doing is caring for 3 children on my own, one of which tends to be exceptionally well behaved, but largely immobile.

Everyone’s been a trooper, and I, remarkably, have until today stayed healthy.  I say this because the 21 month old  is suffering from a cold and waking up at 2:30 am, almost on the dot, just about every night.  She will cry herself ragged until I take her in to bed with me.  If I’m really lucky, she just crashes and all I have to worry about is waking up with a start about every 3 minutes worrying about her rolling off the bed.  If I’m not lucky, she’ll be frisky and will take pleasure in dissecting my face with her little razor fingernails, trying to put her fingers as deeply down my throat or under my eyelids as possible.  In either case I am a zombie the next day when I pack everyone up for various activities – mostly school/pre-k oriented things.  But once the kids are in class/sibling care and the parents meet, I am among fellow zombies – some in significantly deeper than myself.

The things coming out of these kid’s mouths is amazing – although maybe only to other parents.  Check out the conversation with our four year old that I had today:

Child: “Daddy, are you really, really, really strong?”

Me: “Oh, strong enough I guess.  What would I have to pick up to be really, really, really strong?”

Child (without hesitation): “A piano.”

Meanwhile the 21 month has her finger jammed up her nose and exclaims joyously:  “I got it!”

Really there are so many worthwhile quotes that I don’t know where to start.  But I definitely feel the need to record them somewhere, so I guess this blog is as good a place as any.  Here are a few more… I’m too lazy for any transitional language.

“Do trees sleep?”

“When the world started, were we all babies?”

“You’re the only daddy that doesn’t know everything!”

“Do mashed potatoes turn into ice cream?”

“Does chocolate milk come from brown cows?”

“Be sure to talk to your doctor before having sex.”

Okay, okay, I’ll wrap this up.  Although the house looks very much like we went through an earthquake, the wheels of the family processes are still turning.  I’m frazzled to the point of silliness – and although I look forward to a projected 2 hour opportunity without kids days in advance, when the time comes all I really want to do is sit and drool.  And I think I might be growing soccer mom breasts.

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Being disassembled by a baby

Okay, so we have this seven month old, Abby. She has a couple of things going on that are making me progressively uncomfortable.

First, she doesn’t treat my face with respect. I.e., all my facial parts, to her, are disposable items attached to my head with velcro. The fact that they haven’t come off yet she attributes to her own lack of strength. Mind you, that doesn’t keep her from trying. She figures with a few good yanks on my nose every day, it will eventually come off either from structural fatigue or an eventual increase in strength on her part. My nose isn’t really a good example because I can handle that without crying. Eyelids and mustaches are another matter.

Ever wonder why babies hands are so chunky? It’s because they have a brain in them. Abby has the ability to be totally engrossed in, say, what her big sister is doing while her hands are on autonomous missions of their own. The are generally engaged in the afore mentioned facial disfigurement experiments, but can at times be assigned the task of seizing tiny objects for the immediate ingestion of the mother ship. Sometimes that’s an M&M that’s been on the floor for 2 weeks, other times that’s a dried up dog fece that happened to blend well with our living room rug. Not an optimum situation no matter how you cut it. Her little hands are capable, independently, of patiently assessing and countering any obstacle to mission completion. I.e., the nose hair is going to get yanked – maybe not now, maybe not in 5 minutes, but at some point after you either lose heart in your defensive measures or become complacent.

Unfortunately counterpunching is one of those things that will land you at odds with your wife, if not in jail. So preserving my dignity becomes an exercise in learning how not to cry in the throws of Guantanamo like pain. It would really help if someone would just tell me that it’s okay to cry like a little girl sometimes.

Tails from the Checkout Line: Caught Between Planets

We’re on a budget trip – herding kids at the Super 8 in Decorah, Iowa.  Upon our arrival, to our horror, we realized that we’d forgotten our 4 month old‘s nookie.  Being in a budget frame of mind, the local Walmart seemed like just the ticket.  I found the relevant mouth attachments without much problem, then parked myself in the checkout line behind a mountain of a woman with countless 8-packs of toilet paper heaped precariously in her shopping cart.  The cashier was staring off into space, quite catatonic while the woman in front of me pawed noisily at the dried skin on her heel.  As usual, I selected the checkout line with some form of price check in progress.

I never found the google maps client to be of much use on my blackberry – it always seems so self assured, but is almost almost terribly wrong unless I’m building a route from points of interest so popular no one needs directions to or from them anyway.  But still it’s fun to watch the thing spin it’s wheels and bravely declare where it believes you are.  That’s what I did to kill the time while our price check ensued.

What I didn’t notice was what must have been a certain degree of gravitational pull generated by the Zeppelin of a woman gliding in behind me in line.  Kudos – her cart was filled almost entirely with vegetables.  My admiration for her dietary preference notwithstanding, the practical side of me began to fathom the ramifications of 1300 feet of vegetable eating colon.  I didn’t have to fathom long – I was enveloped in a toxic cloud faster than you could say f-r-o-m-p.  The cashier awoke from her coma with a furrowed brow and frenzied motions for a manager.  Suddenly she seemed inspired to move this line along.

My accusatory glance at what I believed to be the source organism behind me confirmed my suspicions – she quickly averted her eyes and feigned interest in the Joli twins, prominently depicted in some rag on the magazine rack.  Mountain lady in front of me stopped servicing her dried up heel and began to pat her brow with what appeared to be a heavily used kleenex tissue.  It’s amazing the noxious fumes didn’t set off some form of Homeland Security alarm.

The odor was penetrating and tenacious, and induced a doomsday torpor over all the  customers and cashiers in about a 40 foot radius.  I no longer took pleasure in tinkering with my blackberry, but instead prepared myself to ride out passage of the collective kidney stone that bound, we the damned, in a wretched fellowship of lost souls.

The sun rises, the sun sets.  And so too passed the rank shroud in due course.  I emerged from Walmart today a wiser but a sadder man.

Baby down but talking, talking…

So here I lay, dazed with exhaustion over having spent the entire weekend within the immediate vicinity of our two year old.  I thought lying down beside my peacefully sleeping wife might afford me the luxury of a few moments rest, but alas, I’m writhing beneath the boot of the tyrannical baby monitor.   Here we have a child barely able to keep her eyes open after a brisk morning of Easter Bunny activities, church and demolition derby-like interactions with her cousins… still babbling in her room by herself after two straight hours of lying flat on her back.  Under these conditions she normally falls asleep approximately 30 seconds before we give up on trying to make her do so, at which point we are confronted with the following options:1.)  wake her up and risk suffering the full brunt of waking a two year old just after REM entry.2.) let sleep run it’s course, and experience an electric baby at 7 pm that doesn’t wind down until about midnight – and the wind down will not be a pretty one.Right on queue, she’s just fallen asleep – having finally played her hand, the entire household hunkers down into energy conservation mode – knowing full well that whichever of the two options above are exercised, the ultimate victor will be he or she with the most energy units to burn. The playing field is not exactly level in this regard.  I’m 51 years old.  She’s 28 months old.  And my wife, her child bride status notwithstanding, is 7 months pregnant.  You do the math.  Then, take a look at my profile photo/avatar and reconsider your initial assessment of my being a mere nutjob.  Think about what you might look like after 28 months of being in my shoes. Link to Facebook.

Baby down but talking, talking…

So here I lay, dazed with exhaustion over having spent the entire weekend within the immediate vicinity of our two year old.  I thought lying down beside my peacefully sleeping wife might afford me the luxury of a few moments rest, but alas, I’m writhing beneath the boot of the tyrannical baby monitor.   Here we have a child barely able to keep her eyes open after a brisk morning of Easter Bunny activities, church and demolition derby-like interactions with her cousins… still babbling in her room by herself after two straight hours of lying flat on her back.  Under these conditions she normally falls asleep approximately 30 seconds before we give up on trying to make her do so, at which point we are confronted with the following options:1.)  wake her up and risk suffering the full brunt of waking a two year old just after REM entry.2.) let sleep run it’s course, and experience an electric baby at 7 pm that doesn’t wind down until about midnight – and the wind down will not be a pretty one.Right on queue, she’s just fallen asleep – having finally played her hand, the entire household hunkers down into energy conservation mode – knowing full well that whichever of the two options above are exercised, the ultimate victor will be he or she with the most energy units to burn. The playing field is not exactly level in this regard.  I’m 51 years old.  She’s 28 months old.  And my wife, her child bride status notwithstanding, is 7 months pregnant.  You do the math.  Then, take a look at my profile photo/avatar and reconsider your initial assessment of my being a mere nutjob.  Think about what you might look like after 28 months of being in my shoes. Link to Facebook.

Initial burst of flatulence

Pardon me while I fend of my 19 month old, joyfully engaged in trying to yank my blackberry out of it’s holster.  Here’s what she looks like:

Ava

If you feel compelled to comment that I (header guy) am much more attractive than my daughter, you wouldn’t be the first to say so.  But that makes her that much more loveable.

 She’s given up on trying to get my blackberry… something about my having broken a beer bottle and waved it menacingly in her face I suppose.  She’s now occupied with attempting to yank large chunks of fur out of our docile little Shih Tzu, Jesse.  He needs to learn a little aggression, so I’ll let them work it out. 

Yeah, I’m getting older.  I tried to capture a rumination I recently had on the subject thusly:

            Sitting before this window, I see myself before a similar window in 30 years time.  Marinating in my own bodily fluids, blessed with a singularity of thought that precludes a pre-occupation with the wretched nature of my physical state, my hobbled mind tills the soil of years gone by.  Forever fertile, this field of memories, with nuance gained and lost with each pass of the plow. 

The wonders of science provide for the possibility that I will become living detritus well before my ultimate passing, maintained to the very end by those paid to do so.  Those being they who will have never sampled the opiate of a dysfunctional consciousness, or grimaced in the face of searing realities laid bare by unfortunate forays into lucidity.

I’ll have become a stationary target indeed, for that mysterious force of nature for which I am being fattened. 

Geeze, I can’t control this html editor to save my life. I’m not against random formatting, though… random thoughts either, as you may have gathered by now.  Be forwarned that I stand poised to comment on the controversies of the day.  I would ask that my readers understand that I don’t have a research staff, nor any particular inclination to be informed of the facts pertaining to whatever I choose to comment on.  It’s all about process, and the willingness to blurt out semi congealed thoughts, independent of the baggage familiar to writers that are hung up on tired old concepts like voracity and (my favorite) “TRUTH IN JOURNALISM.”  We’ll see how things shape up from here.

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