Semi-rant over: Starting this morning and extending through tomorrow night, I've been through and am going to experience two religious events. And as is the nature of this blog for expectant fathers, gentlemen, I shall attempt to prepare you for events to come.
The first experience has redefined for me the concept of Hell. Different movies have portrayed the subject in different and interesting fashions - What Dreams May Come has a particularly unusual and fascinating version, for example. There's almost always lots of fire and brimstone, dead bodies thrashing around, maybe some moaning and grasping hands. I'll take that any day (if I must, mind you) over what I got today. Kiddo went in for his first round of immunization shots. Now fellas, if you're like me, you probably ran into some rusty metal once or twice growing up, and probably got to experience a Tetanus booster shot. You may recall that aforementioned shot didn't feel particularly good, but the stiff and sore muscle was worse.
Yeah. Kiddo got FIVE shots today - three in one leg, two in the other. And I can tell you from experience when he accidentally headbutts ol' dad, my pain tolerance is a tanker-load greater than his. Mind you, I didn't actually see this event. Wife thought it best I not attend, and given how I handled the silver nitrate in his eyes moments after his birth, I went along with her thinking. So I missed out on round one, and the baby aspirin that dulled the pain thereafter. Kiddo came home, both wife and kiddo were sleepy, wife grabbed some shuteye. Kiddo grabbed shuteye and generally mellowed, as kiddo is likely to do.
Then kiddo's pain meds wore off, and dad didn't quite realize what was going on - or that more pain meds were an option. It took me thirty minutes of trying everything I could think of to calm kiddo down - and during that time, as the meds wore more and more off and his pain increased, the screaming just got worse...and worse...and worse. Red-faced wailing is a pretty fair description, and this from a baby whose idea of fussing tends to be a pouty lip and a louder-than-average whimper. Being new to the dad thing and not knowing many dads, I don't know how unusual I am in this regard, but it's safe to say I'd rather get dental surgery done with a crowbar and hammer than listen to my kid in pain. There are few sounds as debilitating and emasculating as that of your child, who it is your job to guard and protect. (YOUR job, bubba, she feeds it, you protect it - might well be in this modern era we share both jobs, but the ten-thousand-year-old-hardwiring doesn't give a damn.) Yes, I *know* the shots are good for him longterm. Yes, I *know* he won't remember any of it. I'm fully aware that nearly every baby in every first world country gets these shots. Guys, I'm telling you, when you're holding kiddo, who's looking at you with wide eyes, twisted face, and "WHY CANT YOU HELP ME" written all over his features... you don't give a sweet shit about anything other than making the pain stop. It's more than a little internally twisting. Make sure you get a VERY good night's sleep the night before the shots - because kiddo is going to be hard on you that day.
So finally, giving in and waking Amy - something I had to do, because her sleep is more precious than gold - she grabbed the meds and solved the problem. Minutes later, kid's calm and googling and grinning again. Simple fix, over and done. Score another point in the "Dad is a Cro-Magnon primitive jackass" column for not thinking to ask about that option before she went to bed. (Hey, stuff works eight hours or twelve hours at a time for me. That's the best excuse I got.) Make sure you know how to give the kid the meds and when it's okay to do so - don't learn my lesson the hard way.
And speaking of Cro-Magnon primitive jackass, Amy's birthday is tomorrow. (Here comes religious event number two!)
Or at least, I'm hoping another religious event occurs - because I'll need divine intercession to avoid being in deep and severe doggy doo for my complete lack of birthday preparation tomorrow. Historically, I've done one bang-up job with birthdays. Surprise party one year, specially delivered breakfast-birthday-surprise another year... I don't do too bad at this thing. I usually think over what I'm going to do, then about a week beforehand, I get things rolling. Problem is that this year, the week beforehand, I was on vacation in New Mexico with the wife and kid. (Which, by the by, did not suck. NM in the summer actually has some appeal to it, and I tend to prefer snowy climates.) That tended to disrupt my usual habits - and then coming back, kiddo here tends to do the same. I find myself with one present, and a lame plan: take the wife to dinner. She insists aforementioned plan is fine, but this does absolutely nothing to assuage my guilt at failing to live up to my own standard. Morale of the story: whatever your usual standard of "Do stuff for the wife on her birthday" is, make sure you get started on it a lot sooner than usual.
(And if you don't do anything, get off your hind end, you schmuck, that woman is/will be/just carried yer friggin kid around, for crying out loud.)
Not the easiest week. Not the most enjoyable blog to write. Really not looking forward to day two in "how to suck at being a dad/husband." I'm sure the wife will refute both things, but we guys know different about the standards we hold ourselves to when no one's watching. Meh. To end on a good note:
Lucas now is quite expressive a lot of the time - his vocabulary of random and varied sounds is extending rapidly. While none of the sounds resemble speech yet, certain sounds occur repeatedly and often on the same kinds of occasions: he's attempting to communicate via sound. In a way, you might even say he's succeeding. It's fascinating to watch his cognitive skills develop. I find myself wondering what his first words will be. As long as they're not "Cro-Magnon dumbass" I'll call it a win.