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.



So my day starts off as usual, although I’m feeling a tad blue for inexplicable reasons.  The day  progresses and the blueness increases to the point that I’m having trouble concentrating on work, although I still can’t put my finger on anything that would qualify as a reason for feeling down.  I elect to mosey across the street to our company’s health club and do a little exercise, thinking that getting some bodily juices flowing might mitigate the problem.  But by the time I get over there, it’s all I can do to force myself to undress.  I elect to pamper myself rather than workout, so I hit the Jacuzzi – for like 35 or 40 minutes.  My state of mind isn’t improving.  I jump in the pool and splash around a little.  No improvement.  Given that the shower has been my tried and true sanctuary for various ills I’ve run across in my life, I figure there’s still hope.  Wrong.  It’s not long before I experience a somewhat controlled collapse on the shower floor.  Welcome to my panic attack.  

Although I can name a hundred little concerns and inconveniences in my life, I can certainly cite a greater number of joys.  So why am I collapsed on the shower floor, praying that the guy in the stall next to me doesn’t completely wig out if he sees me sitting there beneath the partition?  How can this feeling be so terrible and my ability to describe it be so hopeless?

I’m thinking in terms of how I want to be found.  Mostly how I don’t want to be found, actually, given that I feel an explosive bout of diarrhea coming on.   I have to get to a toilet, and walk in front of 10 or 15 other naked guys in doing so.  I hoist myself up and more or less lean in the direction I have to go, hoping for the best.    It works out better than I thought, and I make it to a stall in a sheet white, zombie kind of way.  Despite the toilet paper coming perilously close to rolling from beneath my stall to the adjoining one a couple of times, I manage to complete my business.  “Now I can be found…” I think to myself, but in that moment I also detected a hint of an improvement.   After a few more minutes I stand up and realize I have at least a 30% chance of making it to my locker, so I go for it.  A worst case scenario would involve my being resuscitated by a group of naked men, but at least I’ll present in a continent sort of way at this stage.

Things improve as I slowly and methodically clothe myself.  I call my wife, she takes me to the doctor, he gives me a bottle of Adivan and sends me off to be tested for the next couple of days.

I show up the next morning for the blood draws – we’re talking major quantities – to the point where I’m suspicious that all or part of it is being shipped off to a black market gravy factory in Central America.  On my agenda as well is a requirement that I collect my urine for 24 hours.  The bottle that the technician gives me looks big enough to function as the collective urinal at a frat party with plenty to spare.  It seems even larger when I take it into public places, and something about the bottle’s construction seems to amplify all the sloshing and gurgling sounds.  Despite the fact that it’s in a plastic bag, I would probably prefer people know that it’s urine as opposed to whatever else they might conjure in their heads.  “What is a guy doing sitting through American Gangster with a 20 gallon bottle of liquid in a plastic bag?” they must be asking themselves (and their friends, perhaps.)

The next day I deposit the bottle at the laboratory with a resounding thump – splash and ready myself for the next round of excitement.  I will be wearing a 24 hour heart recorder, or “Holter monitor.”  Turns out it’s about the size of a pager, with a gaggle of electrodes attached all around my upper torso.  The woman fitting me exclaims – “You’re lucky – I don’t have to shave too much” as she’s attaching the electrodes.  Later, she says “I’m going to have to sand you now.”  Sand me?  Indeed she did, and I leave shaven, sanded, and relentlessly attached.  Who says hairy guys have all the fun?

I’ve been aware that I was nuts for quite some time.  At times the ramifications of raising children so afflicted pop up.  A recent example is the fact that our two year old dances to music just like my man Klaus Nomi, the Charles Lindbergh of German operatic punk, used to.  That stuff ain’t normal, so I know it has to come from me.  But with AIDS education being what it is today, I’m confident our two year old will outlast poor uneducated Klaus.  If she’s got the Bonkers gene, I hope she learns to appreciate it – and doesn’t have to ever suffer through a panic attack.

In the end everything comes back normal except my blood sugar, which is up to the point of being pre diabetic.  So I’m a crazy fat boy, nothing I didn’t know already.  Only now I’m a cocky crazy fat boy since I’m equipped with Daddy’s Little Helper.