So This is Fatherhood


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Life With a Threenager

Until I saw some pictures tonight, there’s certainly a few things about the first year of my child’s life that I had forgotten.

Like the fact that she had no hair until well after her first birthday. Or the types of pacifiers she had. Or a set of clothes. Or how small she was.

And that was less than three years ago.

Screen-Shot-2015-09-15-at-20.41.24So it only stands to reason that when she hits her high school years I am going to forget how she is already hormonal at three years old.

Yes. It’s true. I am dealing with a threenager.

It’s not so much the attitude. I can mostly handle that. Mainly because I know I could totally take her in a feat of strength, or throw down in an arm wrestling competition and take her out. So, if she wants attitude, I’ll defeat her with strength. Or some of my own attitude. I can out-attitude with the best of them. Problem solved.

And it’s not so much the lying. Kids are going to lie to their parents. It’s just how it goes. Quick confession: Mom, I forged your signature once to get out of detention. Pretty sure the teacher knew, but it worked.

It’s the wild mood swings and the selective listening.

That’s some ish I cannot handle.

The mood swings kill me. How can someone be so excited and pleased to feed ducks old, stale bread and then cry 30 seconds later because they want to go home? In what world is that normal?

How can we be riding bikes and cracking jokes about what’s for dinner (Daddy, do you want to eat rice and cars for dinner? How about rice and grass?) and then turn on the water works because the idea of trees and beans is not as appealing?

I was building up my preparation for uncontrollable mood swings … but 12 years from now! Why do you think I’ve been watching so many John Hughes films?!

143-120957-tantrum-1444892568

Daily occurrence. 

But, Lord. The listening. Or lack thereof. Egads. It kills me.

Half the time I wonder if my child’s ears are painted on.

I remember selectively listening my mom, or my teachers. I distinctly remember this. But I was 16 and it was a phase of “Leave me alone” which I presume all teenagers go through – or else pop culture and my own experiences just lied to me.

To have it happen at three years old is mind bending.

The worst part of it is actively looking your child in the eye, telling her something, and then having her completely ignore you.

And so many people say this is “the fun age.” It gets worse?

Imagine, in your adult life, your boss asks you to do something. You nod, agree and go your separate ways to handle business. When your boss returns you have one shoe off, there are crayons all over the floor and part of your shirt is above your head.

Sounds like Friday night to me.

But this is how it is … in a blink of an eye you go from Please put your shoes away to complete anarchy.

Holy moly.

I keep thinking that this blog space is going to be a nice reminder and some sort of gift to my daughter one day. See all the funny things you did to make daddy prematurely gray?

But I think that this one is more for me. A time capsule, so I can remember when we actually hit the teenage years that I already dealt with this once.

 


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Sticks and Stones and Bro’s

There was an evening recently where, for a moment, my daughter was upset.

She has bypassed the Terrible Two’s and is smack dab in the middle of the Terrible Three’s, crying when she doesn’t get her way, talking back, ignoring some of our words – in general acting like a miniature teenager. Therefore her being upset didn’t really cause a ruffle in either of her parents’ lives.

Plus, she’s stopped taking naps at daycare, so she has been overly cranky and tired in the afternoon and evenings. Which fits perfectly in our family dynamic because now all three of us have the same general feeling.

This minor meltdown and teary-eyed response, though, was different.

She was telling my wife that some girls at her school were calling her names. She’s three years old. This shouldn’t happen.

My heart immediately went into my stomach. How could toddlers insult each other? This sort of crap wasn’t supposed to be something that we dealt with as parents until she was seven or eight – at the earliest. I thought we were still in the coloring, playground, puzzle stages.

What in the world could kids be calling each other these days?

They called me “a bro” she spit out.

As ridiculous as name-calling can be, especially something as innocuous as that, I wanted to cry.

No parent wants their kid to be upset. And you feel helpless on something like this, even though it doesn’t even compare to the names she will probably be called by other girls as she gets older. In the grand scheme of things “a bro” is eons better than B or C or W or whatever other insults girls hurl at each other.

My wife handled this first foray into insults very adeptly, telling our daughter to just ask these girls very nicely not to call her that anymore. For now, that approach will work. We’ll definitely have to call an audible on that in about 10 years.

51Y-Q1Gg4BL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_When I checked in with the kiddo a few days later, apparently these girls have moved on from “a bro” to calling my kid “too serious.”

How can a three-year-old be serious? I wondered, thinking of this child who begs for me to “act silly” with her.

This episode came as I was finishing my good friend Josh Suchon’s book, “Murder in Pleasanton,” which details a 14-year-old girl’s murder in 1984. On the day she died, Tina Faelz was harassed and called names. One of the girls who harassed her was quoted in the book, 30 years after the death feeling tremendous amounts of guilt every day and making this girl’s final day of her life miserable. It was something that haunted her.

We never think of these things in the moment. I was no saint as a child and upon reflection, probably owe some kids an apology. Not to the extend Adam Sandler does with Steve Buschemi in Billy Madison, but I definitely ruffled some feathers. (Note: except you, Ashley Levine. You deserved everything that came your way. I maintain that forever.)

As I’ve gotten older and smarter and more accepting, I hope to instill this ideal in my kid – that it’s actually not that hard to be nice to people.

The way we pay our rent for taking up space on this earth is by serving others.

So whether my kid ends up being a too serious bro or develops into a goofy girly I hope that the lessons I’ve learned will find their way into her ethos and she’ll incorporate them in her life’s path.

I tell my daughter every day to be a leader. It’s a hard thing to do, to put your arm around a kid who’s being made fun of and show solidarity with the outcast, but that’s what leaders do. And I hope that if someone in my daughter’s life is being teased she will throw an arm around that child and protect them the same way I do to her.


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It’s My Dad-iversary!

Our first family photo. Feb. 20, 2013.

Our first family photo. Feb. 20, 2013.

Today, my daughter turned one.

I made it.

I didn’t kill her.

Not in the Jeffrey Dahmer or the Dexter matter of murder. In the sense that she relies on me – at least partly – to keep her alive.

And I did.

This is a big deal.

It’s not so much about us celebrating that she’s a year old. We lit a candle on a cupcake. She didn’t know how to blow it out. She didn’t care much for the cupcake either. I attribute that to it being her first time tasting sugar. It would be like putting Paul Revere in a Ferrari. Eventually he’d think it was awesome, but he’d be so confused at first.

We’re having a small family gathering on Saturday to celebrate her first birthday. I really think we should be celebrating my wife and myself.

We made it. We have made it a full year as parents. And we didn’t kill her. We also didn’t kill each other. That’s got to count for something too, right?

On Saturday I plan on having some champagne with my wife. The focus, as it should be, will be on our daughter. But we deserve a small, quiet moment of celebration as well. Just the two of us. Just to be able to exhale, roll our shoulders in a sign of relaxation and look back and think that we haven’t totally screwed up. Yet.

It’s interesting to me, as I continue to go through RCIA classes in my Catholic confirmation, since we’re focusing on the Ten Commandments right now. One of the Commandments is to honor your mother and father. I want to think I did a decent job of that. On a scale of 1-10, I would be around a seven or eight.

However, parents don’t get as much credit as they should. My parents kept me alive. (Wouldn’t you know it, though, four days into my life out of the house I almost killed myself. Another story for another time with a stiffer drink.) I’ve never thanked them for that. I also have never thanked my mom for not allowing me to grow a mullet (not that I knew what it was in the 1980s, but I’m pretty sure I wanted to party in the back).

The thing is, my kid turned one and I feel like it’s a bigger accomplishment for my wife and myself. Not because we’re selfish people, but because how do you know how you’re going to react as parents? You’ve never done it before and then all of a sudden you’re doing it all the time? You’re learning how to do things without any education, no courses, no practice. All with a human life relying on you.

Sure, we read books, but reading a book about how to drive a car is nothing like sitting in the driver’s seat.

Obviously we’re not the only ones who have been in this situation. There’s six billion other people on Earth whose parents made it past the first year, too.

So, in honor of my child turning a year old, be sure to thank your parents, or whoever raised you. Just call them and say “Thank you for not killing me.”


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Eggs & Bacon > Steak & Potatoes

So, I started a new job this week. The first days on the job is like you’re on a first date with a bunch of your co-workers. Everyone is on their best behavior and they want to get to know you.

learn_to_love_breakfastOne question that has come up a few times is when people ask what are my favorite restaurants since several of us live in the same city.

I hem. I haw. I dig my toe on the carpet.

Umm, like do you mean, for breakfast?

This throws people for a loop.

When folks ask you about restaurants, they typically talk about dinner. If they want to know about breakfast, they will use that term – “breakfast” – in their inquiry. Lunch is never used, but Where can I get a good sandwich? usually does the trick.

My wife and I love going out to eat. We love trying new restaurants and the experience, choosing items we couldn’t make at home or being a little luxurious in something we’d order. We love the atmosphere, the cocktails, the time we get to just sit there and talk and not be distracted by our phones or the TV.

But … there’s this whole baby thing.

We’re not one of those weird shut-in couples who has a kid and then stays anchored to their house. Not at all.

But it’s kind of hard to go to dinner with a 10-month old who goes to bed around 7 pm. I’m not casting stones here, but I don’t want to be eating the early bird special dinner at 5:30 just to try a new restaurant.

It was easier when she was tethered to her car seat. We could go out and she could sleep in her car seat. When we needed to go, she was mobile.

Now? Well, it’s kind of difficult to have your baby catch some Zzzz’s in a high chair.

So … we do breakfast.

Which, come to think of it, is actually nicer. Depending on the time you arrive you can have coffee or a Bloody Mary. A huge lumberjack special, or just some scrambled eggs. The kid is awake and not screaming. The wife is enjoying her mimosa. The bill is cheaper than dinner.

So, yeah. I’ll happily indulge you in my favorite restaurants. Just be prepared to discuss whether they serve hash browns or homestyle potatoes.


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All We Need is Just a Little Patience

Sometimes I hate the way that I’m wired. I don’t know if it’s a ginger thing that has crept into my DNA or if it’s a male thing that I just happen to have or maybe it’s just part of my personality — maybe it’s a trifecta of them all.

cartoon-man-looking-his-watch-23759215 But I am not a patient person.

This is an awful trait to possess if you are a new parent.

I’m the kind of person who will hand out his Christmas list on Dec. 5 and by Dec. 8 will have bought the things myself. When I send a movie back through Netflix, I can barely stand the 36 hours until I get a new one. I detest golf because for those four hours I am on the course, I am thinking of what I’m going to do when I’m done rather than focusing on each shot. When I want something done, I usually do it myself because I don’t like waiting.

I didn’t realize how impatient I was until our daughter was born.

Cherish every moment, people will tell you.

I’m the person who wants her to be three years old so that she can understand when I tell her to hold still or just sit in her chair for a minute so I can fix something to eat. You think that’s cherishing every moment? You think when she actually is three, you know, in three years, that I won’t want her to be 10 or 20 or some other older age so she can better relate to me? It’s ridiculous how I think.

When I’m feeding her, which is a slow, painful task sometimes because she’ll spot something shiny and turn her attention away, I oftentimes exhale like I’m completely exasperated and these are my final moments on earth. As if my life is so important that an extra 10 minutes is going to affect how I live.

I used to get upset, more so at myself than anything, when changing a diaper and she’s just being a baby and squirming around and it would take an extra 30 seconds to finish the job. I would get pissed at how long it was taking rather than the act of diaper changing, but that was because I just didn’t want to get peed on. Think about that: I’m angry at 30 extra seconds of my life. I’m such a dick.

I’ve gotten a lot better at being patient — at nights I really like feeding her the nighttime bottle as we sit in the chair in her room because time kind of slows down — but I’m worried about when she’s toddling around. Surely she will want to look at a flower, or watch a snail crawl along, or just sit on the grass and watch the clouds float by. And I’ll want to shout: “Honey! Dane Cook! Pay per view! Twenty minutes! Let’s go!” Or I’ll grab her by the hand and just drag her into the car because kickoff is in 20 minutes.

You know it's bad when you take advice from this idiot.

You know it’s bad when you take advice from this idiot.

You know what? Fuck kickoff.

That’s the attitude I need to take.

It was Axl Rose who whistled and melodized that all we need is just a little patience. He also said “Feel my, my, my serpentine” in “Welcome to the Jungle” too, so maybe he’s not the best example. But the whistle from the beginning of “Patience” does creep into my head whenever I catch myself being an irascible asshole.

One of the best quotes from “To Kill a Mockingbird” was when Atticus Finch told his kids about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes. A nine-month old doesn’t know much and she certainly doesn’t understand about fitting into someone else’s life. So, every day that I develop a little more patience is better for all of us.


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Survival of the Fittest

One of the earliest things that hit me when my wife was breast-feeding was far from what I expected.

Same thing goes for dads, too.

Same thing goes for dads, too.

Instead of being a normal, pervy-kind of guy my instincts had adjusted. I don’t know if that is what happens with fatherhood or not – it’s far too early to tell.

While staring at a shot of side boob, I found myself thinking It is our job as parents to keep this child alive.

Unlike the rest of the animal kingdom we don’t have to worry about carnivorous predators lurking around every corner, wanting to turn our child into a meal. Although, with a daughter now, you’re damned right I am worried about Predators … that’s a scary 80’s movie for a child.

The whole point of parenthood is to keep your baby alive. Continue reading


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Creating a Bond With Baseball

It was the eighth inning and the game was in hand. A blistering hot Sunday afternoon and the $10 beers were only cooling down our wallets, so I asked my wife if she had enough.

If the Dodgers go on an extended playoff run, I'm going to have to squeeze my kid to fit into this in a month.

If the Dodgers go on an extended playoff run, I’m going to have to squeeze my kid to fit into this in a month.

See, she likes baseball and enjoys the competition aspect of sports in general. Whereas I can watch almost any baseball game anytime. And sometimes do.

On our way out, I said, “Hang on a sec. I want to go in here.”

“You don’t need another Dodgers shirt.”

“Oh … it’s not for me.”

Suzanne isn’t a Dodgers fan so she cringed as I bought a Dodgers onesie for my daughter.

“You can’t make her a Dodgers fan.”

“I know. But I can heavily influence her.”

“When she’s old enough,” Suzanne said, “she can choose whether she likes them or not. Or whether she likes baseball or not.”

“OK, first off, she’s my kid, so she’ll probably like baseball,” was my obvious retort. “And, second, she can like whatever team she wants. Except the Giants. Then I will cut her off. Or the Yankees. Or the Red Sox. Actually, she can like only about seven teams and it’ll be OK.”

Shortly after I purchased the new baby item, the Dodgers went on a 42-8 run that was one of the best 50-game stretches in baseball history. When they hit a skid and hadn’t clinched a playoff spot yet, I put the onesie on Ella and they won that night, the first team in baseball to secure a postseason berth.

Somewhere in the back of my head I keep thinking “Maybe this special little girl is the good luck charm the team has needed.” But, knowing sports I can’t get ahead of myself or even think of jinxing anything yet. After all, when she’s sleeping or doing well during one of our training runs, Suzanne and I will start to comment on it and the other will say “Dude, no talking to the pitcher during a no hitter.”

While I might not be as good looking or as wealthy as David Beckham, I can take my daughter to a Dodgers game. And you're damn right she'll be rocking a Dodgers pacifier.

While I might not be as good looking or as wealthy as David Beckham, I can take my daughter to a Dodgers game. And you’re damn right she’ll be rocking a Dodgers pacifier.

Yes, we have worked sports superstition into our daily lives.

So it is with great anticipation that I get to dress my kid up in a Dodgers onesie on Thursday and sit down with her and watch the Dodgers’ playoff game. Like so many before her, my daughter has been transfixed by Vin Scully’s voice. She loves watching baseball. Or, maybe she just likes the colors and moving pictures of a TV screen.

No, no, it can’t be that. She loves baseball. Yep, that’s it.

While I know she is going to crawl all over me and drool all over her Dodgers onesie and cry for food at some point, I’m excited to sit and relish the experience of father-daughter bonding over a sports event. Even if Suzanne will have to take pictures of it to prove it to her in a few years that it actually happened.

And whether or not we continue to watch sports together or end up having pinked-out tea parties every Sunday during fall so there is no way to watch football, it’s all about spending time together. Maybe, just maybe, she’ll be the one dragging me to games one day, or texting me about the latest score.

And if not, maybe I’ll have to be the one texting her about ice dancing or the latest Enya album. It’s just all about creating that bond.

That’s what I’m most looking forward to.


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Running Against The Wind

My wife and I are crazy. We don’t do anything half-assed, which I like about us and our relationship.

It's not us ... but it's close.

It’s not us … but it’s close.

For example, since we found out Suzanne was pregnant in June 2012, this is how our life went as we squeezed about every milestone you can think of in a nine-month span:

June 2012: Yay! We’re having a baby!

July 2012: Wow … we both got new jobs. Let’s move to Southern California.

August 2012: Let’s find a place to live between Los Angeles and Orange County. Matt, you crash on your friends couches. Suzanne, you stay with your parents.

Sept. 1, 2012: Find, and rent an apartment, that’s about equi-distant to our respective careers.

Mid-September 2012: Buy a new car.

December 2012: Start getting serious about buying a house.

Late January 2013: Offer on a house is accepted.

February 15, 2013: Escrow closes. This is Suzanne’s due date.

February 15-18, 2013: Move in to new house.

February 20, 2013: Ella is born.

So, yeah, when it comes to living life, we don’t mess around.

This jerk is having too much fun.

This jerk is having too much fun.

Which is why neither of us blinked when we decided we would run our first half-marathon together, beginning training about six months after Ella was born. Initially Ella was a good sleeper. When she hit four months she decided that waking up every three hours was the way to go.

Imagine running four to five days a week, training for something you’ve never done before, and averaging six hours of sleep. Interrupted sleep, that is. And, then, going to work, coming home and finding the energy to knock out four miles or six or whatever the day calls for. Then on your weekends, your “rest days” you get to perform your longest runs.

Sunday was an 11-mile day. After waking up at 5:30 — doesn’t this kid know that Sunday is the day of rest?! — Ella decided that 7 am was a good time to take a nap. Sure, you just lay there for a few hours while the day heats up and then we’ll start our run at 10 am and be done at 12:30. Great thinking, kid!

Which is what happened. Trying to finish the longest run of your life while it’s about 80 degrees is terrible. Don’t be fooled. Pushing a baby stroller for 11 miles isn’t a treat, either.

The kicker, though — and this is where it gets good — is when Ella decided that she’d had enough of being in the stroller and decided that the final 2.5 miles was a good time to scream her freakin’ head off.

So there I am, not winning the Father of the Year award, pushing a crying baby in the heat past people trying to enjoy their Sunday … walking, biking, enjoying the beauty of the day near the beach … only to hear this damned baby turning her crying up to unprecedented levels. Because of this, I had told Suzanne “I’m going to run ahead and try and finish faster so I can get to the car and calm her down.”

This is how people thought of my parenting skills.

This is how people thought of my parenting skills.

This made me look like more of an asshole. Now I am on the path pushing this crying baby and leaving my wife in the dust. People were giving me that Are you really fit to be a parent? Why don’t you stop and attend to her needs? sort of looks and all I wanted to do was run with both middle fingers in the air.

I mean, what could I do? I couldn’t stop because it would have taken us longer to get back to the car, and therefore a soothing bottle. I couldn’t slow down or else it would result in a longer amount of crying. I just had to look like an unfit, selfish parent.

Normally I don’t care how people view me, but when you’re pretty much running solo at near sprinting speeds after already putting eight-plus miles on your legs, you start becoming a little self-conscious. Except for the fact that I was dressed like I should have been exercising, people might have thought I had just stolen this kid and was making a break for it.

And here’s the best part: once I finished and was slowing down, she decided that walking was a more preferable pace than jogging. So she shut up. And then smiled at me.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?

My legs aching, my ears ringing and my head hurting (both of these from the crying) all I could think of was a cold beer to mollify all my troubles. It wasn’t the first time — and it won’t be the last — that Ella and I both dip ourselves into different bottles to calm down.


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Living Life On Fast Forward

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it. — Ferris Bueller.

What happened to my time?

Pretty much what my coffee table looks like.

Pretty much what my coffee table looks like.

I’m midway through a book I should have finished at least two months ago. I haven’t touched my PlayStation 3 in weeks and there are about six magazines I have barely flipped through that are piling up on my coffee table like a game of Jenga.

My life has become a blur. An hour feels like a minute. Except when it’s the middle of the night and your crying baby is semi-interested in the soothing pleasure of a bottle. Then it’s reversed.

To whit: I poured myself an end-of-the-day cocktail when I started this post and put the baby down for a nap. She just woke up. I’ve had one sip. And this is only the fourth paragraph.

I don’t know if it’s my baby or if it’s all babies, but there seems to be this inherent trait to start crying or need your attention the second you relax your shoulders and want to sit and have a drink and perhaps read a magazine.

It took us three days to get through an episode of Mad Men recently. Three fucking days. For a 47-minute program. Nevermind trying to watch a movie (just had to pick up the toy my daughter dropped) and that’s why we’ve seen one film off our Netflix (she just dropped it again; she’s gonna have to wait until this sentence is over) over the past month.

Obviously I’m still adjusting to this whole dad-ship and home ownership where parts of my Saturday are spent working in the yard or something and then making sure she doesn’t kill herself while I’m trying to get just 10 minutes of time to enjoy a “me” moment. (She just dropped that toy again. It’s staying on the floor.)

I enjoy my “me” moments. Always have. Some of those moments come when I’m pooping. I like to read the news or play a game on my iPhone and that’s why I usually don’t mind doing my biz at work during the week. But when I’m home, my kid has this innate sense rather than allowing me to take a little bit of time and maybe scroll through Twitter for 20 minutes to basically get all my news and info she’s going to start crying. Now even this most personal of moments is turned into a two-minute drill where you’re flexing your large intestine like it’s lifting weights with Vinny, Pauly D and The Situation.

We've pretty much given up trying to watch this show, so we can talk about it in three years. Please don't spoil it for us.

We’ve pretty much given up trying to watch this show for now, so we can talk about the plot in three years. Please don’t spoil it for us.

(This next paragraph was interrupted by at least 30 minutes of spoon feeding. Ella decided she was hungry despite having a bottle less than an hour ago. My cocktail is watery now. Worse, when I was feeding her, my music TV channel set to 80’s hits played “Wind Beneath My Wings.” I couldn’t change it because I was feeding my kid, so I had to wear it and listen to that ballad. Awesome.)

Old parents will tell you to enjoy every moment. But, honestly, I’m kind of ready for my kid to be three or older. Then when she needs attention she can say “Yo! Daddy-oh! Let’s go to the park!” and, yes, my kid will talk like that. But for right now I’m having a hard time trying to decipher baby crying. It’s not like I’m an archaeologist reading hieroglyphics.

My wife and I haven’t eaten dinner before 8 p.m. in at least two months because we both like cooking and just refuse to eat microwave crap meals. (Does this make us elitist? I don’t think so. It makes us normal, I think.) But even the simplest of meals have to wait until we’ve gotten home, fed the baby and maybe put her to bed. Or at least put some toys around her to entertain herself while we shovel food into our mouths like we’re Kobayashi during a hot dog eating contest.

Now it’s bath time, so I can’t finish this post like I’d like to. I’m being summoned to make sure we don’t create a tidal wave all over the kitchen. And it’s taken me over an hour to get this far. So, you get the point.


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I’ll Tumble For You

It’s become a little bit of a joke between Suzanne and myself that when our daughter starts going to playgrounds, Suzanne is going to either make her wear a helmet or be following after her with Neosporin and a Band-Aid.

I’m under the impression that kids need to get their bumps and bruises because it’s part of growing up. The way you bounce back from injury — whether it’s a raspberry or a broken arm — builds character.

You’re not really ready to have those thoughts fully developed when your daughter is three days past seven months.

We got a glimpse of Ella’s future this morning. She’s either going to be a skydiver or a rock star who is fond of stage diving.

Ella fell off the bed this morning. We have hardwood floors. This is not a good combination.

Now her forehead looks like Peyton Manning’s after he takes his helmet off.

Ella had a nice spot on her head like this guy.

Ella had a nice spot on her head like this guy.

I was on my way to work. Suzanne called and was in tears. This was after a text and a call to the doctor’s office.

You see, she did the right thing, putting a pillow around Ella while she was getting ready for work. On top of that Suzanne even put a pillow on the floor towards the side Ella favors as she rolls. Ahh, kids, they’ll throw you for a loop. This stinkin’ baby of ours rolled across the bed and then — boom! — onto the floor, testing Isaac Newton’s gravitational laws.

Newton 1, Ella 0.

Now I felt like the panicked parent two steps behind my kid at the playground, but I had to play it cool because I was already at work and was just getting information between texts and phone calls. Because a baby’s head is still so tender and soft I kept worrying that Ella basically fell on her brain.

But, because a baby’s skull is still like a soft shell crab’s at a sushi bar, she didn’t even have a knot on her head. Just a little scrape and a small bruise. Nature … isn’t it crazy?

Once I found out that she’d be OK, I had to turn my focus to my wife. Sarcastic humor, one of my fortes, was the wrong approach. Especially through a series of emails we exchanged during the day:

Suzanne: I just feel like such an a-hole.

Me: The good thing is she won’t remember.

Suzanne: Thanks honey…that makes me feel better.

Me: Serious?

Suzanne: No.

Me: We can have a strong cocktail together when we get home to ease your worries.

Suzanne: Just tell me I’m not a bad mom and that accidents happen.  Stiff cocktail wouldn’t hurt later.

I thought a bit of levity would help. Usually it does. This time it did not. (Although the stiff cocktail was nice.)

If you Google image search "baby falls off bed" this is like the fourth picture. Thankfully Ella's head is not nearly this bad.

If you Google image search “baby falls off bed” this is like the fourth picture. Thankfully Ella’s head is not nearly this bad.

Suzanne is a great mom. Who thinks to even put a pillow on the floor just in case the baby rolls out of bed? Problem was, Ella found the other side of the queen after a couple of gator rolls.

What we found out today tested my theory a little bit — Ella is still smiling and having fun and bouncing around, so the fall gave her a bruise, but she popped back up and built some character.

We also found out that she is going to be like both of her parents: a little hard-headed.