While Malcolm may very well be the World's Most Awesome Baby™, and while we have many days of awesomeness, not every day is fun-filled moments of golden rays of sunshine, magic unicorns and giant cupcakes. Some are plenty stressful. Last Wednesday was pretty much full-on fussy baby day. None of the usual suspects (tired, diaper, food) were really working to calm him. When it gets like this and you've tried everything and none of it has worked and he keeps crying, those cries turn into nails on chalkboard. And Pam's got a standing event on Wednesday nights, so I fly solo for 3 hours. I've got no problem flying solo with the kid; I've done it many times for more than 3 hours. But when it gets to be 3 hours of non-stop fussing... nails on chalkboard. And add into that the fact that he's a growing boy getting stronger and more active, it's not just dealing with his noise and the mental stress but physical stress, too. (He has gotten so squirmy lately it's ridiculous.) About the only thing that will soothe him is going outside to see what's happening. Of course, living in central Texas it's not comfortable to stay outside for any extended period of time.

So by the time Pam got home, I needed a break. Some me time, whatever you want to call it, because I was in one hell of a bad mood. And nothing makes a bad mood worse than to know that the cause of your bad mood is a helpless little baby who's only fussing because something is wrong and he can't tell you what it is and you've failed to figure it out. Woo-hoo, I'm already failing as a parent. Hooray me! Not really, but in the moment... it sucks.

I let Pam take over on Malcolm duty and went about cleaning out the cat box, taking out the trash, and throwing a pizza in the oven, all with one hand because the other was holding a freshly-opened beer. She jacks him up on the boob and he gets almost instantly content; some things only a mother can do.

Then it's time for bed and the goodnight routine. He gets a diaper change and his teeth/gums brushed, a change of clothes if he needs it. The current parent/DJ turns on some tunes and he gets a relaxing dance leaning on a shoulder. Then it's goodnight to the robots, the elephantes, the dragon, the John Deere tractor, the big blue marble, the relatives and Mommy and Daddy. Some nights we're both in there for this routine and sometimes it's just one of us. Pam, being the excellent mindreader that she is, made sure I came in to say goodnight.

They're slowly turning in the middle of the room to some Rockabye Baby. The lights are off but it's still twilight outside. She's got him on one shoulder and with her other arm pulls me in so we're a dancing family triangle and he's got us on both sides. She lets out a couple of long, deep breaths to help calm me down. She says things like, "Yes, you're a tired little boy" and "Mommy and Daddy love you so much" and such in a quiet, soothing voice.

He reaches out his arms to the side of her face and touches her forehead with his own. Then he turns and holds his arms out to me. I lean in and we touch foreheads. It's a brief touch, a second at most, but it might as well have been a lifetime. In an instant my bad mood is gone, the stress of the last 3 hours is gone, the stress of life is gone, and my body, mind, and soul are nothing but vessels overflowing with love, peace and happiness. He's given us little hugs before but nothing like this. Nothing. I don't need the golden rays of sunshine or the magic unicorns or the giant cupcakes when I have a connection like that with my boy.


Conmare said...

Damn Stephen. That is one sweet story. Awww sweet. Not 'Dude Where's My Car' sweet.

Jen said...

That is so awesome Stephen. I'm glad I read it- yesterday was one of those days for me.

FLIPed said...

Very very nice. I can relate.

U1ahBme said...

Damnit man, you made me get all teary eyed and chills at work! This is a really awesome post!

fuzz said...

Awesome post... man I remember those days. Let me know if you need some moral support and beer on Wednesdays!