There were about two minutes from the moment I walked in the door until I laid my daughter down for bed when she wasn’t crying tonight. Two minutes. Total.
The moment I took over spoon feeding her so my wife could go to the gym, she was crying. The door closed, she cried harder. It didn’t bother me so much because I read that around this age (almost nine months) a baby will start preferring one parent over the other. It was a 50-50 shot. I lost.
Before leaving, my wife asked if I could bathe our child, then put her to bed immediately since she hadn’t napped at daycare today. No sweat. I had some work to do and this would allow me to get to it quicker.
I started machine-gunning food into my baby’s mouth like Jim Carrey with the old woman from an SNL skit back in the day (skip to 3:15).
Then came the bath. Midway through my daughter’s tears went from a trickle to full-blown Superstorm Sandy. I kind of giggled because when she cries she reminds me of the old Bitter Beer Face commercials as her cheeks hang over her face because she hasn’t got a full set of choppers yet.
So there I am giggling and my daughter is crying. Yeah, you can send the Father of the Year award anytime.
Then she looks up at me and its not tears anymore. Her chin is quivering. She’s cold. Freezing perhaps.
Even though the house temperature was 73 degrees according to our thermostat and even though the bath temp was spot on, her chin was shaking and her bright blue eyes were looking at me like a puppy dog’s. If she could say more than “dadadadadada” she might have uttered something to the tune of “Hey, jerkoff, quit laughing. I’m freezing my non-existent tits off.”
I scooped her up, and wrapped her in a towel and tried to dress her as quickly as possible. Of course, a full-buttoned onesie with buttons down both legs was the choice I mistakenly made for pajamas this evening since it was at the top of the drawer, and it took me two tries to get it right. Then I held her tight and told her I was sorry. At least 13,000 times.
I prepared her bottle and sat in her room and soothed her as part of her bedtime routine and we sat in silence. Usually I’ll tell her stories of how cool I used to be. I held her tiny hands in mine to try to warm them up.
It was at this point I started thinking that maybe it’s in a father’s DNA to make up for his shortcomings by buying gifts to overreact to situations. My father usually took my sister and I to a toy store when we saw him every other weekend. I see a lot of ice cream in my daughter’s future.
But my flailing wasn’t complete. Not only had I forgotten to grab a pacifier to immediately pop into her mouth as she went into a food coma (bottle coma?) after eating, I ended up putting her sleep sack on inside out. Even after making amends – somewhat – I had to take her out of the sleep sack and disrupt her sleepy state and then I still had to run to the kitchen to grab a pacifier.
Fortunately the little crying she did ceased once I popped the pacifier in and then I stood over the crib and watched her fall into sleep. Hopefully she doesn’t have a nightmare starring me.