Posts tagged Fatherhood
Yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr Day. My office was closed, as was day care. Monica was not as lucky as she still had to work. This meant I was on my own with both kids. All I really want to do on a day like that is hang out and watch TV, but that’s frowned upon when raising kids apparently so I had to find something to do throughout the day to occupy them. It’s cold so any outdoor activities were ruled out. I ended up taking them to the mall for a bit to run a few errands. That’s usually good for killing some time and wearing them out because they run around a bunch. I kept them in line with the promise of McDonald’s. Since the local restaurant has an indoor playground, it’s a good form of cheap entertainment. This is where I found myself at around 12:30.
The playground is simple in its setup. It’s a few tubes that lead up to a slide. My deal with the kids is that they have to eat a bite of their cheeseburger and then they can run through the playground once, then repeat. This way they still get to go play and they’re eating. It’s worked over and over again. After this time, I have some second thoughts about my approach.
Things started out well. The kids were behaving and actually eating their food. Oliver finished his cheeseburger and Parker was almost done. In hindsight, I recognize that Parker had a couple of odd sounding burps. These should have been warning signs. I told the kids that if they finished their food, I would get them some ice cream. Oliver was impatiently waiting for Parker to finish. I picked up Parker and put him on my lap, holding the small piece of cheeseburger he had left in my other hand. I had already finished my food. I told Parker again that if he ate one more bite, he’d get ice cream. He took a bit of the burger…then began to throw up.
Now, I don’t know how to fully explain what happened next or why. I can only point to the strange set of instincts that come from being a parent. You think differently and react in a moment’s notice when it involves your kid. The moment I saw what was happening, instincts kicked in and, left with no real options in the immediate vicinity, put my hand under Parker’s mouth. My two-and-a-half-year old son proceeded to throw up most of the cheeseburger he had just ate into the open palm of my right hand. After the initial outpouring was finished, I threw the vomit onto the tray which was thankfully empty. Then, before even cleaning up my hand, I grabbed the empty Happy Meal box that was on the floor near my feet. I placed this in front of Parker and he proceeded to vomit quietly into the box. Oliver was somewhat oblivious to this whole thing and while thinking about it now, it probably lasted maybe thirty seconds.
I want to take a second here to explain the setting. The playground area of this McDonald’s houses about six or seven small tables. They’re built for children so they’re low to the ground. Each has two to four stools around them. Since it was lunchtime on a holiday, the place was packed. There were at least a dozen kids running around and probably seven to nine adults. Our table was located in the corner. Since everything happened so quickly and quietly, I don’t think anyone really noticed, especially since I had Parker throw up into the Happy Meal box. I’ve been to this place when a kid blows chunks all over the floor. It has a tendency to clear the room out pretty fast. If anyone saw this go down, they did not let on.
At this point, my right hand is covered in vomit which I’m cleaning up with the last of the napkins we had. There’s a little bit on my pants and on Parker’s shirt. I wipe that up with whatever we have left and quietly tell Oliver to get his shoes. Proving once again that he’s my son, his response is “What about ice cream?” I tell him that I’ll give him ice cream at home. I explain that Parker threw up and we have to go now. Oliver is now at an age where he has little to no control over the volume of his voice. He responds to this by practically shouting “Parker threw up!?!” to which I shush him and tell him again to get his shoes. He was a trooper and complied. I grabbed our coats, got everyone dressed, and threw out the evidence in the nearby garbage can, hoping and praying that Parker didn’t throw up again. I was all out of Happy Meal boxes.
As I was walking my children out of the playground area, I saw a woman swoop in on the now empty table, claiming it as her own. She was completely unaware that moments before, my kid threw up into my outstretched hand. Fortunately, there was nothing on the floor or table that I could see. We managed to get home without further incident. Parker didn’t throw up again. Oliver got his ice cream.
As my son gets older, I’m discovering all kinds of things that people just don’t tell you about being a parent. These are things that are not shown in movies or TV shows. No one talks about them. They’re not bad. It’s just not something that I was necessarily prepared for. One such thing is snot. The fact that my kid was going to have a runny nose some time in his life was an inevitability. What I didn’t think of was what he would do when he was three months old and had a stuffy nose. He can’t speak and can only communicate via crying when he’s hungry, tired, wet, or in some sort of distress. He can’t even hold himself upright just yet. How can I teach him how to blow his nose into a tissue?
Instead, my infant son just kind of grunts and snorts a lot. He’s trying so desperately to breath out of his nose but it’s filled with boogers. He hasn’t quite mastered the switch to breathing out of his mouth. Instead I hear him making all these weird noises as he pushes the snot back and forth within his nostrils. To combat this, we attempted to use a nasal aspirator. It’s this little ball thing with a point at the end. It looks like this:
You squeeze the bulb and stick the pointy thing in a nostril. Then you release the bulb and it’s supposed to suck the snot out. It’s a great idea in theory but it doesn’t do shit. It just kind of blows air back and forth. My wife did some reading and found a bunch of moms giving rave reviews for a device called the Nosefrida. At the time of this writing, the Nosefrida has 1,314 five star reviews on Amazon. This is a patented object designed specifically to suck boogers out of a kid’s nose. After hearing her talk about it, I was expecting a battery operated vacuum that would not only allow my son to breath normally again, but clean up around his nose and possibly prevent further clogs. Instead this thing is really just a tube. That’s about it really. You stick one end in a nostril and the other end in your mouth then you suck. You are literally sucking boogers out of your kid’s nose. Here’s a picture of it in action:
Now, it’s not like there’s a ton of gooey substance up there in the first place. The kid’s got a small nose. He’s got a small everything really. He’s a baby. There’s no fear of the snot making its way up the tube and into my mouth. That being said, I’m a little weirded out by this. Sure, I’ve changed diapers and I’ve gotten poop on my hands that was not my own, (Side note: I have avoided getting peed on so far though.) but this seems like a whole new level. When discussing it with the lady at day care, she said she couldn’t do that if she had kids. She could watch a child being born and take care of all of those things, but this was the point that was over the line for her.
So, Oliver, my son, this is how much your father loves you. I stuck a tube up your nose when you were three months old and I sucked the snot right out of your face. Please remember this when you’re a teenager and I don’t let you do something and you get pissed at me. You’re welcome.
One month ago today, I became a father. I wish I could tell you that it was a sweeping change that immediately altered my entire way of life, but that’s not how it happened. In fact, the feeling of being a dad didn’t really hit me until almost three weeks after my kid was born. It wasn’t that I was neglecting my child or forgetting he was around. It’s just that I didn’t think of myself as a father for a little while. The things that went through my mind were the same ones that I had before my son came around. I was still thinking of what comics I was going to read later or what video game to play this weekend.
So anyway, here’s Oliver Rhys Ferguson. He’s now one month old and he’s pretty great. I know that Egon Raphael was a cool name, but we weren’t really going to call him that.
The one thing that people said a lot when they found out Monica was pregnant was “Enjoy your sleep now.” That’s not really a piece of advice and it’s kind of annoying. I understand that newborns don’t sleep through the night, just as I understand that they’re not going to have a job or use the toilet. Although people tried to warn me that I would be incredibly sleep deprived, it hasn’t been nearly as bad as they made it out to be. (Side note: Not a single person offered any suggestions as to how to get the kid to sleep longer.) Monica and I split the night up into shifts. I take the first feeding that happens between 10 PM and midnight and she handles the next one. Then I take care of him in the morning as I’m getting ready for work. This allows us each to have long stretches of rest and it’s helped a great deal.
In preparation for Oliver’s arrival, I read Dad’s Pregnant Too, which wasn’t a bad book but it was written in a very hokey style that I couldn’t get into. It offered some good tips but many were incredibly basic. If you seriously need to be told not to call your pregnant wife “fat”, you’re a friggin’ moron. As a follow up to this, I’ve been reading The Happiest Baby on the Block. It was referenced a few times in Dad’s Pregnant Too and elsewhere so I figured I’d give it a whirl. This one reads like an informercial in many ways, with the author talking about ancient baby-calming secrets that he’s going to share with you. The stuff I’ve learned from the book has been helpful so it was worth my time to read it.
The past few posts I’ve made on this site have been about how I’d like to write more. I don’t intend to turn this into a Daddy Blog, constantly posting about my kid, but he’s obviously a big part of my life now. There will be many more posts about Oliver and the various things he does or does not do. I’d love to show him these posts one day and show him all the stupid things he’s done when he’s older. “Yes, Oliver, you once peed on your own face. Apparently this is something that all guys do when they’re babies. The President probably did it too.” So, I’ve created a new category on the blog called Son of the Ferg that will house all posts made about my child. That’s where those will live for the time being.