Blog Archives

The Nap, or The Child Crying in the Other Room as I Try to Be a Good Parent

So I’m sitting in my office at 3:25 PM on a Tuesday. Baby G is in her playpen. She needs a nap. Daddy stopped being nice. You see, Baby G has taken every nap this summer that she’s been with me on me. I’ve made reference to this on Facebook and Twitter, calling myself a hostage. I shouldn’t complain, I guess. I love her dearly and I get to read. But still, there are other things I’d like to do. Dishes. Go to the bathroom. Whatever. So, today is the day that she needs to be able to nap on her own…like she does at day care.

Yes, no one rocks her to sleep at day care, and they sure as hell don’t let her sleep on them. So today, Daddy becomes the official Bad Guy. It was a good run. I nearly made it to 9 months.

I’m not going to lie. This is not easy. Hearing her in the other room crying, crying, crying, for about 10 minutes now, is really hard. But I think it’s important. She has to be able to be independent in some way, and I need to be able to do things, whether it’s housework or write a stupid blog post. Still, a large piece of my heart is breaking right now. Honestly, I feel like I could start crying. The only thing that’s stopping me is the knowledge that I’m right. I’ve done it before.

My teenager, Courtney, didn’t have this problem as much, if I recall correctly. Either way, I was able to get her to nap with fairly little issue. As a matter of fact, she still naps fairly well. Getting her to stop sleeping is my biggest problem.

But life isn’t a comparison of horrors and parenting isn’t a comparison of children. What works with one may not work with the other. In this case, I know it will work because our day care provider told me that’s how it worked with Baby G and her, so….

And now I’m going to go, not to Baby G (who will stop crying for a few minutes, only to begin again at a higher decibel), who will continue to break my heart by crying today. And tomorrow, and the next day, until she’ll eventually stop. And I will tell myself that I’m not actually the Bad Guy but a Good Parent.

I have to tell myself that. It’ll stop me from crying.

***

Just so you know, this is my 100th post on WordPress. I don’t know why this means anything, but why not mention it? Share this and get me more followers. Whee!

Advertisements

There Will Be No Stacking, or The Baby’s 1st Decree

Last week Pamela and I were sitting on the floor watching Genevieve play. In case you’re slow on the uptake, Genevieve is the baby, not the teenager (who is named Courtney). The teenager was at her mom’s house. As I sat there, I’d stack some blocks up and Pamela would put the Fisher-Price rings on the stand. The baby would roll (she seems to be bypassing crawling, like her sister did) to one of our nice new stacks and knock it over. Take the rings from their stand and then roll away, destruction in her wake. It was then that we realized that she’d silently decreed that There Will Be No Stacking.

Now we run into trouble. Because what’s stacking? To you and I, rational adults, stacking is placing one thing on top of the other:

DSC02459

A stack.

But we’re not dealing with a rational adult, oh no. This is a very smart, but very rascally, baby. So to her, not only is this a stack:

DSC02463

And this:

DSC02461

And this, and this:

DSC02470 DSC02473

But so is this:

DSC02462

And this:

DSC02469

And even this:

DSC02467

Now, granted, that last is kind of a stack. I mean, the bottles, stupidphone, remote controls, and glass bowl are all on the coffee table which makes it kind of stacking. I think it would be admissible in court should we ever have to sue her for damages. What really worries me is what happens when she starts walking next week?

But, Bill, I hear you say to your smartphone, tablet, or (ha!) computer screen. How, pray tell, can you know that she’ll be walking next week?

Because she’s just like that. Last Friday (July 12th), she couldn’t sit up without help. By Monday she was sitting up like a pro. And pulling herself up on the side of her playpen. I also know that she’ll be walking next week because her mother and I aren’t ready for it. Look at that last picture. Besides the stupidphone, bottles, remote controls, glass coasters, and expensive glass bowl, you can see: a couch with lots of cushions; an end table with another glass bowl, the baby monitor, a picture of Courtney, and a lamp; and a plant on (out of frame) a stone pedestal that could easily cause damage to anyone it falls on. Never mind the TV, the drawers, everything on the floor (technically, stacked on the Earth)(and she’s strong), the building we live in…. Where will it end?

DSC02464

It’s blurry because she’s quick. Gone! Just like that.

DSC02465 DSC02468

Not happy with just knocking the blocks down, she decided to eat/make-out with a plastic frog. Will she know any bounds?!

DSC02471

Well…I guess that stack isn’t so bad to knock down.

The decree has been issued, the law laid. There will be no stacking. Of anything. For a long, long time.

The Happiness My Girls Bring Me

I’d done this before.

The first time was fifteen years ago, when I was twenty. Back then, things were different. The idea of my having a child was hilarious, terrifying, and exciting at the same time. I didn’t know that I would soon leave college to take care of the baby and to pursue a writing career, something that I thought would take off if only I could sell my first story. My girlfriend, nineteen, lay on the table. We looked at the screen in the small room in a house that had been turned into the ultrasound office. We needed to know the sex of the baby. We were poor, to put it mildly. We wanted to know what we were having so we could plan. Even then I suspected my relationship with my girlfriend wouldn’t last, but upon seeing the baby on the monitor, I knew the love I felt for my daughter, Courtney, would always remain.

A few days ago, I found myself in a different small room. The woman lying on the table was my wife Pamela. I didn’t know she existed fifteen years ago, nor did she know I existed. Things are different. I’m thirty-four (with a -five waiting for me in August). I have a career now, two, actually. I like to say that by day, I’m a high school teacher, by night, I’m a writer. It doesn’t exactly work that way but it’s close enough. My first publication, a short story called “Icarus Falling” is thirteen years behind me. It didn’t light up my fledgling writing career. Actually, few people even noticed. My writing career wouldn’t really begin until 2003 with my fifth published short story, a little diddy called “The Growth of Alan Ashley.” I still like “Icarus Falling.” I still love “The Growth of Alan Ashley.” I’ve been teaching for five years and have been publishing for thirteen. I have three books under my belt, one of them dedicated to my daughter Courtney. Her mother and I were married in 2000. We were separated by 2004 and divorced a year later. We were still in high school when we started dating. It happens. We’re a cliché. I met Pamela in January 2007. Somehow, it’s worked better than I could ever have imagined.

As I stood near Pamela looking at the new baby on the screen, my heart melted, just as it had the day before when I watched my fourteen-year-old go up to get trophies at a bowling banquet. The ultrasound lady asked me and Pamela if we wanted to know the sex. We looked at each other with dopey grins. “Yes,” we said.

“It’s a girl.”

I’ve heard those words before. It brought joyful tears fifteen years ago and it brought joyful tears the other day.

This is Pamela’s first child. I’m happy to be the one who gets to share this with her. I’m happy I have Courtney to share this with, too. It’s strange. For a long time, I didn’t think I’d ever have another child. For a long time I didn’t want one. Courtney is beautiful, intelligent, funny, and truly someone I adore and admire. I have done–and will continue to do–the best job possible for her. Now to know that there will be another young woman who I can be there for, to retell stories, to share first times with, is amazing to me. How’d I get here?

This is great. This is wonderful. I’ll always find something to bitch about in this life, but I’ll also always relish in the happiness my girls bring me.

%d bloggers like this: