Observations on Fatherhood #16

My award-winning novelist wife has sold her second novel.

This is wonderful!

This is terrible!

This means she has to finish her edits this summer. Even with Augie in preschool three days a week, she’s left with an infant on her lap 24/7, which is not terribly conducive to productivity.

As a means to help her get a chunk of time alone, I have begun taking half-day Mondays at work. I go into work in the morning, then come home at lunchtime to take over child-rearing duties for the rest of the day, both for the weeks-old fetus and our 3 year old brute. The rule is “no disturbing Mommy” and for the most part, it’s been successful.

It’s great. On Monday morning I have only a half day at work. I’m more productive there, and look forward to a half day “off”. Then I’m a single dad for the next 8 hours.

I don’t think I’m ever as exhausted as I am on recent Monday nights. Wow.

Observations on Fatherhood #15

Our new spawn.

Light of my life.

Eater of sleep.

“Behold! For I am become Shiva, Shatterer of Worlds!”

He’s a good kid, for a fetus (and until they hit three months old, clearly humans are just fetuses outside of the womb, cursed to the airy-world due to their enlarged heads). But one foible of his that his elder brother did not have is his strong preference for warm, rather than room temperature, milk.

When making formula, this is not a major problem. I use warm water from the tap instead of cold. But when the formula’s been made, or the breast milk is coming from the fridge, this means warming it up for him, or else half of it will end up splayed across your body while, in shock and horror, you witness Lewie’s impression of a lawn sprinkler. Then a red-faced air raid siren.

The other night, he was handed off to me early in the evening so my suffering wife could actually get some shut-eye. Our diagnosis before I started a movie was that he was “about to wake up”, so I kept the bottle of milk warm underneath my armpit. For the entire, terrible, movie (Captain America: The First Avenger). After that, fetus was still asleep, so I went to bed with the milk in tow. I didn’t want to let it cool to room temperature and face his wrath.

I slept for three hours with a bottle of milk between my thighs; he just kept sleeping.

This has happened since. I now consider a bottle of milk uncomfortably kept warm as a talisman against the Sleep Eater.

Uncomfortable, yes.

Worth it.

Observations on Fatherhood #14

Always be bussing.

Thinking of Alec Baldwin’s “always be closing” speech, I think one key to sanity as a father is to always be bussing.

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Headed upstairs and there’s a basket of laundry? Grab it on the way.

Headed downstairs and there are some water glasses scattered on the bedroom side tables? Grab them on the way.

The kid brings an element of unending chaos. The only way to make a dent is to ALWAYS be bussing. If you wait until it’s time to clean, it’ll be an insurmountable pile.

FSM Misidentification

The Flying Spaghetti Monster costume made another appearance on State Street this Halloween.

While the FSM meme has faded into the mists of time, I still get strong positive reactions from those who recognize it. Those who don’t usually guess I’m spaghetti and meatballs. However, often, people have some crazy wild-ass guesses.

This year, I decided to record some.

All of these were actual guesses from people wondering what in the hell I was. I didn’t record them all, but these are all genuine:

  • Lady Gaga (what, really?)
  • Shit with eyes
  • Fallopian tubes
  • Intestines
  • Daniel Johnston (not bad! See here.)
  • Bug
  • Alien
  • Giant cumshot
  • Adam and Eve
  • Balls and spaghetti
  • Mos Eisley spaceport
  • Men in black
  • “Those are tits”
  • Coconuts
  • Balls
  • Sperm donor
  • Octopus
  • Ahh! Real monster
  • Pans Labyrinth
  • Sperm
  • Cock and Balls
  • “Sci-fi show from the 80s”
  • “I don’t know but you got big tits”
  • Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
  • Crab

Observations on Fatherhood #13

Why? Why? Why?

I appreciate that my son has a curious mind. However, surely any father gets sick of answering the same question over and over. Clearly it’s his first reaction to almost any statement, from “It’s time to eat” to “Please stop licking the chair”.

I’ve made it a policy I’ll always answer a question… but I make him formulate it in an actual sentence. “Why?” doesn’t count. I’ll respond “Why what?” and if he can articulate what he’s asking, I’ll gladly answer WHY until we’re talking about subatomic particles.

I’ve developed a new theory on the origin of religion. Just as it was a way to explain to ancient peoples to themselves what was going on in the world that (they didn’t yet have a real explanation for, like the sun rising, etc.), I think it also may have been a way to shut their kids up.

“Why?”

“Because God said so, and faith in his word is a virtue.”

“Why?”

“Don’t contradict God! Bad boy!”

… or something like that.

Observations on Fatherhood #12

Child labor.

That little thing is always in your house, eating your food, pulling your covers off you at 6:30am. Get some use out of him!

At 2.5 years, it’s too early for the lawnmower, or to send him on the roof to clean out the gutters.

But damnned if he’s not a champion garlic peeler.

When I’m making up a mess of garlic, I’ll smash each clove a bit to loosen up the skin, and then put a bowlful in front of him. He’ll sit there and meticulously peel each one, begging for more when they’re gone.

Perhaps having a kid is an expensive way to get peeled garlic, but at least it’s something.