Sunday, November 24, 2019

How Not To Dad: Episode 11 - I Thought It Was Something Good But It's Snot

Yesterday morning began as one of those perfect golden moments between my daughter and I.  Like many mornings I was the first one awake.  I took care of my morning routine (Okay okay, I had to pee.  Peeing is my morning routine.) and laid back down in bed for a little while.  Soon enough, our baby monitor blasts the voice of our daughter into the room.  She sobs for a couple of seconds and then stops.  I look past my wife to the video feed and see Abby begin to stir in her crib.  Eventually she sits up and looks around her room with sleepy eyes.  That's my cue.

I get up, walk into her room, she smiles at me as I pick her up, and we head to the kitchen to get her morning cup of milk.  Once the lid to the sippy cup has been secured we amble back to the bedroom where I sit her on the bed beside me and we chill out.  It's the weekend, after all.

She babbles, I babble back.  She drinks her milk and pats the bed sheets and looks around.  Her mom lies asleep beside us.  Every now and then Abby slaps at her mom's back to wake her up, but it doesn't work.

The sun creeps through the bedroom window, casting a subtle golden light into the room.  As it climbs higher the light gets stronger, and ignites the fine fibers of corn silk hair on my daughter's head.  Her chubby cheeks are crested with sunlight from the window behind her.  She looks up at me with a content smile.  She leans back to drink more of her milk, and I cup my hand around the back of her head to keep her from leaning too far back and falling.  She pulls the sippy cup out of her mouth and looks at me.  I smile at her.

"I love you Abs."  I say.

Kind of a sweet moment, right?

Have you ever used one of those hand-held misters?  The spray bottles with the little fan attached to it?  You pull the trigger and the fan spits a cloud of vaporized water into your face, coating you with a cool sheen that is refreshing on a hot summer day.  Well, it's slightly less refreshing when you're in your bedroom, and the liquid that is scattered across your cheeks isn't water but baby snot.

I caught the look in her eyes less than a second before the sneeze hit.  The first wave misted my face with globules of mucus.  The second wave shot an earthworm-sized snot rocket from my daughter's right nostril that flopped over her mouth and began oozing its way toward her chin.  The third and final wave pushed the booger rope further out of her nose, and she smiled that adorable OPEN MOUTHED smile at me once the sneezing fit had ceased.  The slime from her nose sagged into her mouth.

"Oh no!  No no no..."  I say as I look for any available napkin or tissue.  Normally my nightstand is a Swiss army knife of useless junk: books, remotes, earphones, mail, a cup or two.  I take a quick stock of items near me.  There are no absorbent materials. Finally I accept what I already knew was the answer the minute I saw the goop hanging from her nose: I would have to sacrifice my shirt.

I keep hold of the back of her head, work my hand beneath my shirt, and make a sort of puppet out of my thumb and pointer finger.  I clamp my shirt-covered fingers onto Abby's nose before she even knows what hit her, squeeze, and swipe.  It gets about half of it, so I have to do it again.  This time, though, my daughter is ready.  She takes evasive action as I struggle to hold the mouth of my shirt puppet - now smeared with boogers - open.  After she jukes me a few times I catch her nose with my hand puppet (let's just call him Booger McSnottersen) over her nose and mouth and make a quick sweep across the bottom half of her face.  I get it all that time, for the most part.  Later there will probably be a crusted coat across her mouth, nose, and chin, like the cracked ground of Death Valley, but the hard part is over.  All it costed was a perfectly good t-shirt.  Booger McSnottersen is a mess, to say the least.

Moral of the Story:

"Tissues are your friend.  Keep them everywhere.

(with menacing eyes and deep voice) EVERYWHERE."
                         - Booger McSnottersen

Friday, November 8, 2019

How Not To Dad: Episode 10 - Prey At Dawn

    My wife and I lay in bed facing each other.  It’s just past 4 a.m.  Our eyes are mostly closed.  We peek at each other from time to time. 
    A line from Jurassic Park is rolling through my head, and I will the thought towards my wife.  I hope she has the psychic ability to pick up on the message.  
    She can’t see us if we don’t move.
    That’s the line from the movie, as the T-Rex is sweeping the scene for hints of the presence of Dr. Alan Grant, Lex, and Tim after it has destroyed the Jeep.  
    On this night a fourteen month old baby is the roving monster.  She’d awakened screaming in the middle of the night, her nose running and her chest slightly congested.  My wife volunteered me to go get her so I crept through the house to her room, opened her door, and lifted her out of the crib.  
    Nikki had whispered to me as I’d exited our room “Don’t talk to her when you go in.  Just pick her up and bring her in here.”  That may sound mean, but it’s the only way to hold on to the thin veil of sleepiness that the baby is still clinging to.  If we were to talk to her or turn on the light everything would be ruined.  Once we were in bed and she had been laid comfortably between us, we couldn’t open our eyes. She had to believe we’d gone back to sleep or she’d be awake, and nothing would stop her from keeping us awake.  The illusion would be destroyed.   
    That was the theory, anyway, and a damn good one it was.  It has worked in the past.  This morning, though, Abby didn’t want to go back to sleep.  It seems she’s gotten smarter.
    Clever girl…
    I crack my eyelids to take a peek.  The room is dark, but my eyes have adjusted and indirect light has softened the shadows just enough so I can see the silhouette of my daughter.  She sits on the bed, looking from me to her mom, waiting on one of us to break.  
    We’re being hunted…
    She leans in towards her mom, her face mere inches away.  I can see Nikki’s eyelids twitching.  Hold it, I think.  Be strong.
    The baby raises her hand and swings.  It connects with Nikki’s cheek, and a little smack! breaks the silence of the room.  Nikki flinches slightly, but her eyes remain closed.  
    I stifle a laugh and that draws attention to me.  I might as well be waving a road flare.
    The dark silhouette shifts, and is now hovering over my face.  
    “Dah!” The baby blurts, and slaps my face.
    I bite my lip.  The slap doesn’t hurt, but it’s funny as hell that we’ve come to this.  
    Go to sleep! 
    This time I’m trying to psychically link up to my daughter.  As expected, it works about as well as a squirt gun putting out a house fire.
    In the end it took about thirty minutes of pretending to sleep (and, indeed, being half asleep) to get the baby to give up.  She eventually eased her head down onto the pillow between us and grew still.  It didn’t exactly stop there, though.  There was one last act of defiance left in her, performed while she was asleep. She wormed her way around and ended up sleeping horizontally across the bed, her feet in my back and her head pushing Nikki’s back.  We clung to the cliff edges for the remainder of the night, balancing precariously on the edges of the bed, while our daughter slept comfortably between us.

How Not To Dad: Episode 2 - Speedbag

How Not To Dad: Episode 2 - The Speed bag       There are two problems I have with furniture at my home right now.  Two things that have ...