I love you just the way you are, but you can grow up any time now

The other day, my wife started going on about wanting a baby.  I pointed out that there was a seven-month-old boy somewhere in the house and that if anybody wanted to take the time to locate him, he could be counted as a baby.

“But he’s old and stinky,” she replied. “I want a clean, fresh baby.”

I pointed out that, even though he is eating a lot of “people food” these days, and is therefore stinkier than he used to be, he is, on balance, a relatively clean baby. Then I realized it wasn’t about how stinky he is. The important point was that he wouldn’t be a baby much longer.

My wife has a perpetual craving for an infant in her life.

This is trouble.

Of all the people who see our baby and comment, “Enjoy it while you can; they grow up so fast,” 99% of them are women. The 1% who are men feel pressure to say something and so they repeat what they’ve heard women say, thinking that women must know appropriate comments about babies.

Most men avoid commenting on babies, because, “Won’t it be great when he grows up?” just has that feel of a statement that might not go over well with baby’s mama.

I don’t get the need for constant babies that some mothers have. I have three children whom I love dearly. Two of them are no longer babies and I’m fine with that. The third is a baby, and he and I are counting the days until he can walk and talk and heat up his own milk.

admiring baby

“How long before he can cook his own meals?”

Apparently, mothers spend a fair amount of time looking back and pining for the helpless days of their children. I have no wish to return to the infancy of either of my older boys. I like the generally drool-free children they’ve grown into.

To be honest, I might develop a little nostalgia for Buster’s toddlerhood when he grows out of it. Buster makes such an awesome toddler I sometimes worry that, at two-and-a-half, he’s peaked. If his jokes are half as good when he’s a schoolboy, I’ll probably be all right with his aging.

It’s not that fathers don’t like their babies. They’re just not in our favorite stage. We adore our babies, but look to the future in the same way that a lot of mothers adore their big kids, but regret the lost past.

A father works through the baby period, sustained by the dream that his little bundle of fuss will grow into someone with whom to watch football games and go on battlefield tours. Since we can’t seem to interest the baby in those things now, we bide our time.

I have sympathy for my wife’s feelings, but I can’t keep giving her babies as a pick-me-up. Also, I can’t afford to ply her with roses or expensive candy because three children. But she’s always welcome to sit down and watch football with her boys.

sleepless baby

“There now. Don’t cry. It’s a complicated sport. You’ll pick it up by and by.”

What the cat heard us say

We’ve fallen into an evening routine with New Baby. Mommy feeds him and goes to bed while I stay up with him until he’s ready to sleep. This can take a while, so we have plenty of time for pleasant conversation:

New Baby (NB): “WHAAAA! I want Mommy.”

ME: “Mommy’s getting some rest. Play with me for a while.”

NB: “Got milk?”

ME: “No. Mommy’s got the milk.”

NB: “Ergo, I want her.”

ME: “You just ate.”

NB: “Yeah, but I like keeping a supply handy, just in case.”

ME: “Mommy needs her rest to make more milk. Sit with me and watch the hockey game.”

NB: “Your team sucks.”

ME: “You don’t even know which is my team.”

NB: “Which is your team?”

ME: “The Penguins.”

NB: “Ha! Penguins suck!”

ME: “Don’t be that way. What are you, a Rangers fan?”

NB: “I really don’t care who wins this dumb game . . . as long as it’s not the Penguins. Ha! They suck!”

ME: “Really? Well, guess what? I think it might be time for a diaper change.”

looking with my baby eyes

Looking at incredible images, such as beige walls, with his baby eyes.

NB: “Okay. I get it. No more sucking Penguins.”

ME: “Good. Let’s be friends.”

NB: “Hey, what’s that?”

ME: “What?”

NB: “Up in the corner, above the light.”

ME: “I don’t see anything. It’s just the wall.”

NB: “No. I’m serious. It’s incredible. I’m just gonna stare at it a while with my baby eyes.”

ME: “I don’t see anything.”

NB: “Shhhh! I’m trying to focus. These things aren’t turned on all the way yet. Now look what you made me do! It’s a pain in the ass to un-cross them.”

ME: “I still don’t see anything.”

NB: “I don’t know what’s wrong with you. Look, the cat sees it too.”

ME: “The cat’s 100 years old. He’s probably seeing his life pass before his eyes.”

NB: “Okay, never mind. Turns out it was just a wall. Your cat’s messed up. I think I’ll cry for a while.”

ME: “Don’t cry. It’s okay. Daddy’s here.”

NB: “Gurgle, gurgle, sploot! Ha! I bet you didn’t know I could spit milk that far.”

ME: “You kids teach me something every day. Feel better now?”

NB: “In a sec. Wait for it . . . Pfffffrrt. Ah! That’s better. Sometimes, ya gotta release the valve at both ends, ya know?”

ME: “Now it really is time for a new diaper.”

one good kick

There will be kicking and screaming involved.

NB: “No, seriously, I’m fine.”

ME: “You’re not gonna wallow in that.”

NB: “Suit yourself, but you do realize there will be kicking and screaming involved.”

ME: “We’ll do this one real quick.”

Ten minutes later . . .

ME: “Quick kicking my hand. These snaps are hard enough to line up as it is.”

NB: “I believe I warned you about this very thing.”

ME: “Got it! We’re done! Now why don’t you settle down to sleep?”

NB: “Sleep? I did that all day. I’m hungry.”

ME: “You can’t be hungry again. It hasn’t been that long.”

NB: “Dude! Did you not just witness me making more room?”

ME: “Let’s let Mommy sleep a while longer.”

NB: “Hey, I think I see a nipple on your cheek.”

ME: “Suck all you want, you’re not gonna find any milk.”

NB: “I just need to peck at it. I know I saw a nipple.”

ME: “Your baby eyes aren’t turned all the way on yet. It was an illusion.”

NB: “See? I’m so hungry I’m delusional. Maybe I’ll just scream my head off non-stop until the end of time. Like so. WHAAAA . . .”

Thirty seconds later . . .

ME: “I hope Mommy enjoyed her nap.”

In Hell everybody wears a onesie

They sure do make some awfully cute onesies these days. It’s almost a shame that I hate onesies so much. Specifically, I hate the little metal snaps at the bottom of every onesie. I could do diaper changes in my sleep, which is when I am often called upon to do them, if not for those little, metal blood pressure spikes at tail of the onesie.

onesie

Cute, in a soul-crushing sort of way.

Usually, I reserve my disdain for objects that are ineffective. I hate onesie snaps exactly because of their maddening effectiveness. Or maybe I’m tugging at them all wrong, because I often struggle to get those little bastards to come apart. We have numerous onesies with tears in the cloth around the snaps caused by my incompetent tugging.

This alone would inspire only a moderate hatred, but the snaps aren’t done taunting me. Having finally unsnapped them and handled the diaper business, I have one hell of a time snapping them together again. My toils are exasperated because we’re blessed with yet another baby who hates diaper changes. As a service to him, and to me, I try to complete the procedure as quickly as possible. They say haste makes waste, but in reality it was the baby who made the waste, and he did it in a very deliberate fashion. Haste makes me fumble with those damned snaps until the baby is whipped into a frenzy of bicycle kicks. Dodging a windmill of feet doesn’t simplify the task.

The other night, my wife’s lovely voice called me out of my sleep. She was nursing New Baby in the rocking chair. “Sorry. I forgot to change him before I started to feed him,” she said. “Can you change him while he’s eating so he can go right to sleep when he’s done?”

You shouldn’t have to apologize for forgetting anything at 3 a.m. But you shouldn’t have to deal with the snaps from hell either.

We have a video monitor in our room that we once used to keep an eye on the other boys at night. We’ve lost interest in what they do in the dark, so we use it only as a soft light source when we get up with New Baby.

In the weak light, with one eye closed, I did battle with baby snaps on my wife’s lap. At the end, I couldn’t get them lined up right, but two one out of three would hold until morning. I went into the bathroom for two seconds to wash my hands.

good enough

That oughta hold ‘im.

On my way back to bed, I was startled by the most egregious report that ever issued from a baby’s bottom. (I would spell the sound phonetically, but there aren’t enough letter sounds in the English language to do it justice.) I jumped as if someone had fired a pistol beside my head.

Oh God! This one was bound to be nasty!

On the bright side, it was another chance to get all three snaps lined up.

Nobody knows where little brothers come from

This is a guest post. Our special guest poster is Buster: Age 2.

From the beginning, it’s always been me and my big brother – and Mommy and Daddy, of course, but that goes without saying.

I don’t know where I came from, but I know where I’m going. I’m going to wherever my brother is playing, and whatever he’s building I’m knocking down – Buster style. That’s his idea of fun, which is why I don’t understand how it makes him pout so much. For my part, I do what I’m supposed to do.

One day, I noticed that Mommy was getting a little extra round in the middle. At first, I thought she was just hitting McDonald’s extra hard. But she kept getting bigger. It looked like she swallowed a soccer ball, and I’ve never seen them serve soccer balls at McDonald’s. Eventually, it got to look like she had a basketball in her belly. That was okay with me; I like balls. They’re fun to throw at people. But who am I kidding? Anything you lift in your hand is fun to throw at people.

One day, Mommy pointed to her basketball and told me it was a baby. I was a little disappointed about losing the ball, but I like babies too. They’re small and cute, just like little, mini toddlers. It’s a shame they have to grow up. Also, baby is an easy word for me to pronounce.

After Mommy swallowed a basketball

Apparently, they start out as basketballs. Odd but true.

Anyhow, I worried for a minute that Mommy had eaten a baby, cause that doesn’t seem right. Upon mature reflection, I considered this physically improbable. For one thing, the baby stayed in her belly. Everything I eat ends up in my diaper.

Everybody liked the baby in Mommy’s belly. Sometimes Daddy would look at it and wink at Mommy, all smug and proud of himself. Really, Dude? Like you had something to do with it?

The one thing that confused me was how a baby got in there and how it was going to get out. I guess that’s two things, but somebody should probably send me to school if they want accurate math from me. That baby was only getting bigger and I didn’t want it to pop Mommy. She’s my favorite parent. I know, we’re not supposed to have favorites, but it is what it is.

There’s a lady who looks a lot like Mommy that we often talk to on Mommy’s iPad. I kind of know her name, but I can’t pronounce it yet. One day, she showed up at our house. We were hanging out, having some laughs, when it dawned on me that I hadn’t seen Mommy or Daddy in a while. I was a little worried, but that lady is nice, so I held it together. Later, she took me to get my brother from school. Then we went to this big hotel place.

I’ll be damned if Mommy and Daddy hadn’t checked themselves into their own room!

And BAMM! Mommy’s holding a little baby. And Mommy’s belly isn’t like a basketball anymore. So I’m looking at the baby, and I’m looking at her belly. Look at the baby; look at her belly. My eyes are bouncing back and forth. Baby; belly. Baby; belly. And I’ll be a son of gun if that’s not the baby from inside her belly!

By and by, everybody comes home, and this includes the little baby. I like him. He’s pretty cute – reminds me of somebody I know. Mommy lets me hold him on my lap and kiss him on the cheek. And one time when I was kissing him, it dawned on me. This kid might be my little brother. Ha! What a crazy world!

Baby pictures

Showing the little bro some of my baby pictures.

I hope he is my little brother. Then I’ll have somebody to knock down my toys for me when I’m playing. That will be awesome! Way better than just another basketball. I can’t wait.

But I still can’t figure out where he came from.