I can’t expect him to articulate a response, but I bet if Baby Silas could tell me his favorite song by hair metal band Slaughter, it would be “Up All Night.” This kid is sleeping the hours of a rock star lately, and it’s probably my fault. The parenting books and magazines tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps. Great advice, if you disregard the fact that, in the first few months of their lives, babies sleep up to sixteen hours a day.
I’ve had body-clock problems that have left me on the Slaughter sleep cycle myself. I think Little Guy is just following my lead. My wife Tiffany said, “That’s an easy one. Just force yourself to stay awake all day so you can sleep at night.” Great advice, if you disregard the fact that I have a broken ankle and live in the bed. I can’t always resist the temptation to get unconscious. It’s like telling a polar bear to stay out of the snow.
I thought the silver lining of this arrangement would be that I’d be madly productive. No job to go to, no one around really. And I have gotten some good writing in, but I’m with this baby basically 24 hours a day. That actually does require a lot of work. Then, during my downtime, I have a hard time finding a fresh creative angle on, “We drank another bottle. He cried some. Just got the diaper changed.”
Well, okay, this is a semi-interesting diaper story. I had Silas on the bed today, out of his diaper, and realized I had no Pampers handy. I had to sprint-crutch out to the living room, and all I could find was one of Sarah’s Size 4 diapers. It turned out to be surprisingly effective, although when I put that oversize diaper on his infant body, I was reminded of those weight-loss commercial “after” shots where the newly thin person stands in their old fat pants to offer up stark contrast. (The Formula Diet, right?)
Same topic – lack of preparedness leaving you caught literally with your pants down. Minutes after the giant diaper, I sat down to use the bathroom and realized too late that there was no toilet paper. Bad feeling under ordinary circumstances, and ten times worse when on crutches in a largely unfamiliar house. Kleenex to the rescue, thankfully. My only other options would have been the white, downy bath towel with the high thread count and the shower itself. And you know what happens when you get the cast wet.
Slept all day, took care of Little Guy, encountered the above difficulties, then wrote about it extensively on Facebook. This brings us to dinnertime. My mom went on an epic grocery shopping trip before I got here for my five-day stay that’s now mid-Week 2. She hasn’t been grocery shopping since. The best groceries are long gone, the mediocre groceries are just about gone, and the Caffeine-Free Diet Schnucks Super Cola two-liter is bound to be cracked open any second now. After that? *shudder* Water.
My dead-of-night meal is assembled purely from scavenger-hunted odds and ends. For example: 1 can Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup + 4 ounces diced deli turkey + 1 can Rotel + 1 diced tomato + 2 Taco Bell mild sauce packets + shredded cheese + 12 crushed Saltines + cracked black pepper = not half bad.
My mom, ever the MVP, has twice allowed me to spring on her at the last minute that I’m going out for a couple hours and need her to watch the baby. Terrific old friends I barely get to see have driven to my mom’s house and helped my temporarily disabled ass into their cars. Then, well aware of the ticking clock, we went somewhere close and quiet and found a dark corner where I could prop up the cast leg. And the laughter, fellowship and beer flowed – ever briefly – like it was 2002 again.
The first night, I grabbed an NTN trivia box, logged on as user Goiter, and butted heads with a trio of middle-aged men who were playing under a total of four screen names. Each had customized NTN avatars and brought their own reference material. My companions performed better than I did, but it was a fun time. I alone knew that Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald’s adult-contemporary duet “On My Own” came out in 1986.
I stayed out a little late the first time, but I was at home promptly at 10 pm the second time. It’s like being a kid again in a few respects. I can’t see the girl I love when I want to, for starters. She was texting me a couple nights ago about how she wanted me to watch the new “Dancing With the Stars” with her. She’s lonely watching TV, I’m a hundred miles away caring for a screaming baby. Both of us are longing for mundane normalcy. Tell me that doesn’t sound like a montage from “Teen Mom” with a tender Taylor Swift song playing in the background. All that’s missing is me having to do my geometry homework or something.
BABY PICTURE OF THE DAY