November 15, 2005

Solo Parenting (As Mixtape)

As many of you may recall, if you were paying attention and visited the DadCentric site late last week, Beth attended a wedding on Sunday, leaving me with Sole Parenting Duties. Here now, are my reflections on that day, complete with musical accompaniment.

She Dropped Me The Bomb by Kix
When the hand off was made and Beth was out the door, everything seemed like it was going to go fine. I was happy and, more importantly, Mia was happy. Little did I know, things were going to change. Actually, I did know it was going to change. I'm no pessimist. I'm a realist. Which is an optimistic term for a pessimist.

New Slang by The Shins
I'm not a guy who fills silences well. In fact, I dig silence. But that doesn't work with an infant. So I had to talk. And, as wonderful as she is, Mia's not yet a startling conversationalist. It was slightly one-sided. But maybe silence would have been better than some of the crap coming out of my mouth. Note to self: when you ask your daughter if she pooped, try to avoid using crass terminology once she's old enough to repeat it.
Correct: Did you poop?
Incorrect: Hey Mia, did you drop a deuce?

Songs For A Blue Guitar by Red House Painters
I'm no good at math but I found the following equation worked out pretty well for me - bouncy seat + guitar = good. My guitar playing? A hit. If Mia were making record deals, I'd be on the charts. Well, it was important that ever word of ever song I played was Mia. I'm sure that didn't hurt.

Hungry Like The Wolf by Duran Duran
It had to happen. Mia would, inevitably, get hungry. And want boobs. But me? I have no boobs. Or, to be more accurate, the boobs I have are purely ornamental. For display purposes only. Mia's cute and all but when she's hungry, you know it.

Bottle of Smoke by The Pogues
To say that the bottle was well-received would be like would be like telling a complete and utter lie. Of epic proportions. A Richard Nixon I am not a crook kinda lie. An I don't know where she picked it up because never in my life have I ever used a phrase like 'dropping a deuce' kinda lie. And then...

I Guess I'll Have to Cry, Cry, Cry by James Brown
...the crying began. And kept going, like the Energizer Bunny. Mia’s got endurance. Lucky for me the three-hour marathon Scream For Boobie Fest 2005 was interrupted by a few little naps when the poor thing wore herself down.

Under Pressure by Queen
When she wasn’t sleeping, she was screaming and, while I pretty much kept my cool, I felt like I had to do something. I mean, here was my daughter, bitching at me for not satisfying her every need and, more specifically, not having a good, productive pair of tits. I read books, I sang, I broke out the guitar again (but that ship had sailed), I made funny noises and the requisite funny faces to go along with them and I danced around with rattles. But very little worked. And by very little, I mean nothing.

Swing On This by Alice In Chains
Finally, the swing. Once maligned, the swing was my savior. After hours of screaming and intermittent napping, the swing did the trick. Sure, I tried to bottle feed again afterwards and sure, I was rejected like a bottle of Boone’s at a French wine tasting event. But at least she smiled at me while she did it.

Thumbing My Way by Pearl Jam
The one thing I tried that did, eventually, catch on was the swing. That, and reintroducing Mia to her thumb. For some odd reason, the digit seemed to have slipped her mind. Once introductions were made and they started making nice, things got a little better. Not inordinately better, but at least quieter.

Napoleon by Ani DiFranco
Whilst changing Mia and getting her ready for bed I think I heard Mia say her first word. It started as just a random noise but she gradually worked up to it. eh…eh…eh…eb…ebb…ebba….el…elb…elbuhhh…Elba. That’s it, people. She said Elba, the island where Napoleon was first exiled. I told her as much. Never in my life did I think I’d ask my daughter if she just referred to Napoleon’s first place of exile. Mia looked justifiably mystified when her father asked Elba? Did you say Elba? The island on which Napoleon was first exiled? I shit you not. Now, did you know Napoleon’s brother ended up living in New Jersey?

Emotional Rescue by The Rolling Stones
At long last, Beth called. She was on her way. There was rejoicing in the streets. And by streets, I mean the living room. Mia was happy. Mom, not to mention the accompanying boobies, were on the way. After all, she’s spent a good part of the day rejecting a bottle and, instead, sucking on my neck. I’ve got the hickies to prove it.

The End by The Beatles
All-in-all, the day played out just as I'd assumed it would. What I underestimated, however, was he bond that seemed to form between us. And I'm not just talking about the bond between her lips and my neck. No, I loved Mia before and I'm pretty sure she felt reasonably fond of me but, somehow, being the sole provide, being the guy who had to change all of the diapers, wipe off drooly chins, rock her to sleep, attempt to feed and, hold her when she cried and wipe away the tears that were falling really did something to me. My daughter rocks, guys. And so does my wife, not that I ever doubted it. Being away was hard for her but she did it. Then she swooped in and saved the day, laughed at my hickies and flawlessly recited Goodnight Moon in its entirety while getting Mia to sleep. I love...and I am loved. And I've got the hickies to prove it.

Posted by Chris at November 15, 2005 7:32 AM

That's that really matters in the end isn't it? (the love, being loved and, of course, the hickey proof) Great post.

Posted by: wn at November 15, 2005 7:39 AM

Awww - I'm inspired by your courage! Cosmo Boy will only watch Sierra in the mornings - you know, when she's happiest.

Posted by: Marie at November 15, 2005 7:55 AM

I watched a friend's child a while back while the kid was going through a major colicky stage. All the little girl did was cry. Scratch that, scream. I vacillated between feeling sorry for her and all her troubles and being very frustrated and a little angry that I could do nothing to stop the screaming. Of course now she's nearly 3 and talking up a storm and telling me all sorts of stories about her adventure filled days at daycare so it's all good, but yeah, screaming babies, whew. They're no joke.

You know, next time, you could always try a car ride. There's something about a moving car that really helps calm babies down.

Posted by: pea at November 15, 2005 8:06 AM

Good Job Dad. You are making a hard copy of all your blog entries? Right? So that Mia has them to look back on. It would be a shame if she never got to read what her parents wrote about her, and how they wrote about her.

Posted by: Angelia at November 15, 2005 8:07 AM

Drop a deuce?

Why not pinch a loaf or drop the kids at the pool? You know, something with a little class!

Posted by: Jeff A at November 15, 2005 8:15 AM

Three Cheers for Dad! A crying baby can be one of the saddest sounds and it seems like you were able to soothe her in all the right ways - well except for the boobs - did you ever see - Meet the Fockers? Check it out...has to do with male boobs (fake) and breastfeeding.

Posted by: Michelle at November 15, 2005 8:20 AM

It sounds like you did a fantastic job, Chris. Yay you! And you should really make that mix tape.

Posted by: samantha at November 15, 2005 8:27 AM

did you know that some studies have proven that in times of crisis, the male body does in fact have the ability to lactate? we're talking like Ice Age type crisis though, not 'moms away for the day' crisis.

Posted by: steph at November 15, 2005 8:28 AM

Way to handle Mia! At least you expected it, so it couldn't have been too crazy. Ooh...another trick I heard was the washing machine..I mean, don't put her in it, but on top, the vibrating or something soothes them I heard. Yeah, putting baby in the washer would not be good. Clean, but not good.

Posted by: Michelle at November 15, 2005 8:34 AM

You tell THE best stories.


Posted by: Emily at November 15, 2005 8:43 AM

Awesome. Completely awesome. I am so proud of all of you.

Posted by: jen at November 15, 2005 9:09 AM

well done brave knight. what an awesome post! now, i need you to go reply to my audience participation post, because i'm dying to know what your reply will be... :)

Posted by: misifoota at November 15, 2005 9:16 AM

Wonderful story. Thanks for sharing.

"all's well that ends well"

Posted by: cassie-b at November 15, 2005 9:18 AM

one word for you: clinique. For the hickies.

Posted by: Heather B. at November 15, 2005 9:52 AM

Dropping a deuce is nothing my friend, NOTHING. Just wait... I love it when my husband says to the teachers, "I have no idea where he heard that!" Yeah, right buddy. The teachers saw you coming a mile away. Haha! Love it.

Posted by: Amy at November 15, 2005 10:01 AM

We all knew you could do it, even if you lack a "good, productive pair of tits". ;)

Posted by: Theresa at November 15, 2005 10:05 AM

ROFLMAO!! She said Elba??? I think maybe you hit some of the Boone's that the french wine tasters rejected.

Posted by: dragonlady474 at November 15, 2005 10:06 AM

Awww. And the song selections are perfect!

Posted by: Heather at November 15, 2005 10:06 AM

I can't wait until she starts preschool, and politely tells the teachers, "Excuse me, I have to go to the bathroom and drop a deuce."

Posted by: Dawnie at November 15, 2005 10:13 AM

Some of the times my son and I bonded the most have been times he, or I, have been sick. We lay on the couch and snuggle together, take naps together, and general just hold each other. Don't get me wrong - I hate that he would ever or has ever suffered, but those times are some of the sweetest.

Of course, that's also when he's too tired to remember he knows it all. Already. At 6.

Posted by: Queen Of Ass at November 15, 2005 10:24 AM

beautiful post. congrats on making it through your first solo parenting day.

Posted by: suze at November 15, 2005 10:35 AM

Pass the Kleenex please. That was one of the sweetest things I've ever read.

Posted by: VirgoJen at November 15, 2005 11:00 AM

Congratulations on being a "single parent" for the day. Sounds like you did I great job. I love the fact that you could relate everything to music.

Posted by: Krush at November 15, 2005 11:44 AM

hickies from your daughter.

Now I don't need to tell you that can't continue as she gets older, right?

Posted by: Autumn at November 15, 2005 11:53 AM

Awww that is so sweet! most guys i know would freak out being alone like that with a baby.

Posted by: angel at November 15, 2005 12:05 PM

Congrats on surviving your solo flight!

Posted by: A.K. at November 15, 2005 12:09 PM

good job, dad. it's tough when you don't have the right equipment to make them happy. but you made it through. and you taught mia to talk!

Posted by: jodi at November 15, 2005 12:18 PM

Reading the Songs for a Blue Guitar section made me think of Woody singing his "Kelly" birthday song on Cheers. :) Not quite a hit parade number, but from Dad, Mia would definitely take a "Mia" song and run with it, I bet!

Posted by: Keri at November 15, 2005 1:18 PM good of you to try, too. What a dad.

Posted by: kalisah at November 15, 2005 2:01 PM

I'm telling you.... moobs man, MOOBS!!!! Must... seee... picture of moobs... *giggle*

Posted by: Corinne at November 15, 2005 2:03 PM

God, I have had those days were you finally find the one thing that will keep the kid happy for more than two seconds, and you feel like Sylvester Freakin Stallone, at the top of the staircase... Gonna Fly Noooooow!

And then you collapse from exhaustion.

Aren't the neglect-o-matic swings the best invention EVER? Well, next to the baby sling.

Posted by: Jenny at November 15, 2005 2:16 PM

Awwwwww! Love the sappy ending. :oD

Posted by: Carrie Jo at November 15, 2005 2:25 PM

Way to go, pops!

But, I must say, you cracked my shit up with, "...the boobs I have are purely ornamental. For display purposes only." -- That is some funny stuff.

Thanks for the laughs and the warm-fuzzy of the day.

Posted by: ironic1 at November 15, 2005 2:35 PM

As always, thank you for the laughs and the warm fuzzy feeling I have right now after reading this.

Totally adorable and sweet!

Posted by: Kelly at November 15, 2005 4:00 PM

lovely use of the mixtape :)

Posted by: laura at November 15, 2005 4:10 PM

That was utterly charming.

Posted by: anita at November 15, 2005 5:03 PM

oh dear, that was exhausting just reading it. Glad you'll be easier and easier...uh, right?

Posted by: carrster at November 15, 2005 6:06 PM

When Ben was a baby I had only one sure fire, never miss, trick. I could lay him on our bed and play my acoustic guitar fingerstyle for him. He loved it and would watch both hands until he fell asleep. It never failed. Without the guitar I had nothing. It was sort of like a surrogate boob.

Posted by: Mayberry at November 15, 2005 8:54 PM