Archive for September, 2010

Wait…I have to entertain this baby?

September 3, 2010

I remember writing on this very blog that my life as a dad was hardly any different from my childless one. I take it all back. If it hadn’t fully hit home yet, it now has: I have a baby. Babies require attention (more than a blog), persistence (more than my fantasy football prep), and sacrifice (more than my…you fill in the blank).

So sometimes, though you feel I’ve lined up the timing perfectly, your baby won’t let you enjoy my cold beverage peacefully in front of a Vikings game. Sometimes you won’t eat dinner until 9, and it might consist of Cheez Its and grapes. Sometimes your near-flawless tardiness record at work takes a blow.

Sometimes, as in every night, I arrive home fully intending to blog, and in one way or another, Blanche thwarts those intentions. Perhaps Kristie is working late, and I spend three hours trying to trick Blanche into believe she’s not hungry at all, and that mom will be home any minute, just so she’ll nurse successfully when Kristie finally does get home. Maybe I play with her for too long, and by the time she realizes she’s tired, she’s too upset to let herself fall asleep. Of course, Blanche is responsible for many happier scenarios that prevent me from blogging too.

But let me paint a picture of a typical night alone with dad. Blanche is at a transitional stage now, and one that requires some adjustment for me. She now wants to be awake all the time, but can only entertain herself for short spurts of time. Thus, she needs constant, active attention. Every parent knows what I’m talking about, and I bet exactly none have any sympathy for me. I’m not asking for it anyway: she’s not a burden, you know. Of course not.

So, each night in which her responsibility is solely mine, I set up the baby amusement park in our living room…and all adjacent rooms. Our house is a giant baby playland. “Blanche,” I present to her, “for your entertainment, I have set out for you…”

Your swing, which rocks both sideways and back and forth, and plays either soothing nature sounds or lovely tunes that will stick in your head longer than the latest Gaga. Plenty of options. We have your Bumbo chair, which I can place to capture any of your favorite views: a clock, fan, light fixture or something yellow. I may be able to work them all into your sightline. Brag about me to your daycare friends. Over here, we have your play mat, complete with rings for grabbing and in turn sucking, a mirror, and a Spongebob-like cartoon man who makes the funniest sounds when you kick him!

When you tire of lying on your back, I’ll flip you over for some tummy time on your plush bear blanket. You’ll have access to an assortment of rattles, books and other things to put in your mouth during your stay here. If you’re lucky, I may even put you in front of the TV. The odds are better if the Twins are playing. You have your very own exer-saucer, a sort of baby command center where you can practice standing and spinning with a bevy of sensory experiences at your fingertips. Lastly, I’ve set up this gadgety door frame jumping harness, which, though you’re yet too short and light to fully operate, you seem to enjoy nonetheless. If you extend your toes, you can reach the floor enough to spin yourself uncontrollably.

Of course, when you lose interest in each of the obstacles of distraction, I’ll be here to hold you, bounce you, rock you or make noises with my mouth at you.

Atlas, please stop barking. I’ve given you a king’s buffet of dog treats already, and I know you’re not peeing when you go outside.

So you see, until I adjust to this new stage of fatherhood, blogging loses out more often than not. If a six-month baby can affect me so, how will I ever make it? Guess I’ll just keep adding distractions.

West Coast Action

September 1, 2010