Although Bacon Hoss has the mental capacity of a chimp at the moment, I am sure he knows that his mother is gone and senses that now is the time to strike. He is trying to display his dominance over me, to break me. My other children have tried and failed but they may have put a crack in the armor. They may have softened me up so that Bacon Hoss can strike the death blows.
His behavior changes when she is gone. Or perhaps mine does. Perhaps I become less patient, more tired by day number 3 of solo parenting. I'm not sure but I know that when she is gone, that's when he's at his worst.
Dinner time. He doesn't want to eat. He wants to scream. I assumed he was screaming initially because he was hungry. I made him nuggets and gave him some slices of cheese. A little amuse bouche prior to the main course that my daughter describes as "gross." I don't think he was hungry so he entertained himself by feeding every god damn thing in front of him to the dogs. He did this while screaming.
Little Hoss is running around me in the kitchen. She's a blur as she goes from one side of me to the next. I have told her to hang back a sec, that dad needs to drain the noodles for the spaghetti. She did hang back, counted to one, and then came right back in. She has questions, she always has questions. And she wants me to see stuff. She wants me to see everything. It can be a bit distracting. Then she stands on my toes the minute I lean back to survey what else I have to do to get dinner ready.
Bubba Hoss is standing at the table. He never sits at the table, his constitution will not allow him to do so. I spend a good 1/3 of my time during dinner putting him back in his chair. Then I lecture everyone on manners and proper etiquette. They nod like they understand me. They repeat what I say back to me that makes me believe that they know what I expect of them. This of course, is bullshit. They have discovered if they just nod along eventually I'll shut up.
I sit Little Hoss down while answering her latest question: Why are there houses, why were they built and why were they built where they were. Can I build a house? Did I ever build a house with my Daddy? I answer as I pour the milk. One day she'll know that I'm just making shit up as I go along but right now she believes me. Or maybe she doesn't and just wants someone to talk to.
Bubba Hoss has discovered the very interesting fact that you can put your fork in the milk and then take the fork out. Yup, that's what he's doing.
I serve dinner. I cool some off for Bacon Hoss. He doesn't want it. He wants to throw it. He does and it leaves his little munchkin hands before I can stop him. Little bastard got quick over the last month. I see the spaghetti sail through the air and hit the back cushion of my chair then roll down into the cushion, between the back of the chair the pillow. I haven't even had a chance to sit down yet.
I get a wash cloth and head to my chair. Silently I'm impressed on the distance he got on it. I remove the cushion to clean up the thrown spaghetti. That's when I see the smashed banana clinging to the back of the chair, out of sight and out of mind. When the holy hell did he do this? How long as that banana slice been there? I have to practically pry it off and it leaves a nice dark circle that I know I'll never be able to get out. The chair isn't that old. It's my chair, it's the chair that I relax in. Now it's my banana chair.
I give up on Bacon Hoss after this. He'll eat when he'll eat. I put some colored cereal in front of him. I think the colors will distract him and at least give me a moments peace.
Bubba Hoss spilled his milk. I make him clean it up as I hear the dogs lapping up whatever hit the floor. This is how the dogs earn their keep around the house and it's a job they do well. Although apparently they don't like bananas. Bacon Hoss doesn't want the cereal I gave him. He throws them at the chair. I'm sure some get in the cushions but I'm to tired to care.
Bedtime is here, finally here. We do stories, we play a bit, I put Bacon Hoss down in his crib. He doesn't want to go to sleep and starts crying. I'll spend the next hour getting him to go down. When my wife is here, he goes down fine. Now that she's not he knows that this is the most opportune time to break me. But at the end of it I give him a bit of a shocker. He starts to cry again. I wish him the best of luck with that and shut the door. If he's crying 2 hours from now I'll go back in there but not a second before.
I spend the next hour of my night dealing with the other two. I do tuck ins twice, I read 30 stories and I check for monsters constantly.
I head off down stairs and sit in my chair and on cereal. I'm beat. I should go to bed but I don't because when the wife is gone I think of all the horrible things that could happen while she is away. I think that a tree will fall outside, come through my bedroom and crush me. No one will know of course because no one is checking up on me. Little Hoss will find me in the morning and ask me why the tree hit me. Hopefully she'll have enough sense to go to school because that's still important.
My wife calls and I tell her about my day. She asks me how I'm going to spend the rest of my night. I tell her that I'm going to watch Frozen and sing along. It's a lie and I think we both know it. I like though giving her little sugar plum images in her head though before she goes to bed in strange place with no kids screaming at her. I wonder how good she is at throwing banana slices.
What I'm really doing is watching some god awful horror flick that is terrible, not even one shower scene. I'm also messing around on the computer thinking that I will probably write some of this down for future generations. I pull the computer a bit closer and I see a flash of light to my right and then the lamp pops. The downstairs goes dead. In my head I'm wondering if a tree is about to fall.
Crap. House stuff like this also happens when she is gone. I think the universe is conspiring to kill me. Hossmom was gone for a bit when we had a water pipe break to. I can't even hide from the world in my own house.
I have to go into the cold, dark garage and check the breakers and discover one has been tripped. I flip it back on and we have power once again. I go back to my computer to figure out what new booby trap is waiting for me. I look at my computer cord, it's exposed and practically in half. Somewhere in this house is a very lucky cat I think, a lucky cat that perhaps chewed on a cord when it wasn't plugged in.
Or Bacon Hoss, maybe this is just the beginning.
Can I make it another two days with no breaks? Probably but what comes out the other side may not be a sane man.
That's what you have to write so there is no confusion when you plan on writing a small little story about how he is also a dick.
How can he be a complete peckerhead at 1 year old? Easy, apparently.
Again, I love Bacon Hoss very, very much.
He apparently loves computer cords, especially the ones that are plugged in. He loves them so very much. He loves them so much that he wants to chew on them. Then he wants to pull them out of the wall. Then he wants to love the wall socket. You wouldn't think that this little person could fit behind a couch that even the cat can't but you would be wrong.
As much as he loves the computer cords, he hates the actual computer. He can't stand that such a thing exists. He hates email, he hates banking websites, he hates this very blog. If I ever try to get on the computer while he is awake, anywhere in the house, he immediately makes a beeline for me. If the computer is in my lap, he grabs whatever toy is available and attempts to break the key board. The little man has quite a swing. If the computer is on the counter, away from his fists of fury, he runs and grabs my pants legs and screams. He wants to know why I am not plugging the computer in to where he can chew on it. He doesn't think I am very accommodating.
Sure, if you see him out and about, he's all smiles. He's cute, he'll melt you with his little blue eyes and blond hair. He may laugh a little bit at you. He seems like he is so well behaved. You'll see him walking in the store and not pulling on the shelves. You will not see him scream and throw a fit. You will not see him attempt to headbutt his father while he sits on my lap.
But at home, he's a dick. Away from public view he commonly tries to break my nose to the point where I wonder if I am in an abusive relationship. He laughs as his head screams forward like a little maniacal Aryan. Stupid blond hair. He's drawn blood more than once. There's never any warning just a blond flash of hair and wham, you're bleeding.
If it's not my nose he's trying to break or a computer cord he wants to chew on, it's either the toilet or the stairs. I have many other father friends with kids my son's age. None try to climb stairs. Dad says no, they look and then walk away. My son, on the other hand, is pulling a little baby screw driver from his diaper and trying to pry lose the screws that hold our baby gate in place. Yup, I've had to screw it right into the rails because he pulls himself up on it and screams like he's in a little baby Attica. Unfortunately, the world does not come with baby gates in front of stairs. If we are out and about, and no one is watching but me, he makes for the stairs. Any stairs. I'll stop him, he'll throw a fit unless someone is watching. How does he know how to do this? How can he play public opinion like a seasoned politician? I have no idea and frankly, I'm kind of impressed.
I'm less impressed when he tries to get into the toilet. I wonder if he has some sort of death wish? He loves toilets, he loves throwing things in toilets, he loves to put his hands in the toilet, he loves to watch me on the toilet. It's creeping me out. If the door is shut when I'm in the bathroom he throws a fit like you've never heard. It's louder than he's ever screamed for anyone else but me. He saves his good fits when we are just alone. Half my day is spent peeing while standing on one leg and fending him off with the other. I've tried to sneak around but he knows, good god somehow he knows. And he knows that our downstairs bathroom door doesn't latch that well so if just a little bit of pressure is applied, the door pops open, stupid house. He ninja strikes me so much that now I just naturally pee with one leg hanging in the air waiting to fight off the inevitable attack that I know is coming from someone that is about a foot tall.
I try to remember if I've seen this kind of dickishness in my other children and I'm not sure. Have I just forgotten it all? Little Hoss could be tough, she would cry unless I was constantly moving around. And she loves to break stuff, even as a baby. Bacon does that too. Bubba Hoss though was a pleasure, we would snuggle all day and all he wanted to do was play with Dad. Bacon wants to play with dad, for blood.
Which brings me to my last reason why my youngest is kind of a dick. He woke up from his nap a bit early. I was knee deep in dishes, ya know, so the family wouldn't live in filth and all that. So I didn't immediately didn't run upstairs to get him from his crib. 5 minutes go by and I head up to get him. He didn't sleep much, only an hour or so. I open the door and I am greeted with my little blond boy. My little blond boy with tons of blood running out of his mouth.
Of course, I freak out. He's screaming loud, very loud. He's crying. What the hell happened? Why is he bleeding in his crib. I rush to his side to pick him up. He stops crying but the blood and spit are now mixed together and dripping on me. I don't much care, I'm worried like hell.
He trys to headbutt me. Again. Then it clicks with what happened. I open his mouth and check all his teeth, remembering which one's he has and which ones he doesn't. I'm looking to see if he's knocked out a tooth. He threw a fit in his crib. When he throws fits he headbutts. He's tall enough now that the edge of the crib is right at the level of his mouth. He headbutted the crib edge with his mouth and I'm worried he's lost a tooth. He's got them all, I think. And then I find where the blood is coming from. He cut the inside of his upper lip. That had to hurt.
This is his punishment for me. Since I didn't come running immediately, he is trying to give me a heart attack. I was pretty close. I don't like to see my kids bleed. I can handle blood but I have a tougher time handling when my kids are in pain.
We sit on the couch, we turn on a little music which he loves. He's quiet now and is lightly bouncing his head on my chest. It's ok. I would rather him headbutt me then something else, like the oven, while it's on, disconnecting it from the gas and then lighting a match. He would do it. I can take the headbutting, I can heal and isn't that what fathers are supposed to do? Aren't we supposed to take the pain so our little ones don't have to? He's my son and I love him.
But I don't love going to the toilet anymore. I'm just going to start using his diapers.
But I'm not letting any of them go until I've said my piece. As a Dad, we have to do certain things. We have to be strong, we have to offer that sense of safety and security that they won't have as adults. We have to provide discipline and rules and the flexibility for them to challenge them as they get older. And sometimes by God we have to give lectures about important shit because one day they will appreciate this and if they don't then I've screwed up.
To them, this is just a wall with a few grafitti marks on it. One has a spray painted shark, the other has some weird looking words that they don't understand. If I wouldn't ahve made them stop in their blinding race down the exhibit hall, they wouldn't even have noticed it. Maybe that's a good thing, to not notice oppression. Maybe it's bad because how will they know it?
To me and many others, these two sections of wall are symbols of a very scary time. It's the symbol of a divided city, surely, but much more. The pieces of the Berlin Wall that I am staring at are symbols of a cold war that is hopefully gone forever. They are the symbol of nuclear destruction, of a red army that none of us really knew how big it was. It's the symbol of two superpowers playing other nations like pawns as we squared off on each other for pretty much world domination.
My kids don't care. To the them, the spray painted shark is not good, not good at all. They have declared that it is something that they could do easily, Jackson Pollock was a pussy. Little Hoss wants some spray paint so she can show the artist what a really awesome shark looks like. Bubba Hoss is just turning in circles, he's not even listening.
This is when I lose my shit. I like to think that I don't often lose it but I would know that's probably a lie.
I grab some necks and knell down beside them. We look at the wall. I try to compress the history of the last 50 years that the wall represents into under a minute. Their attention spans are that of gophers. If I put some ice cream on the wall, perhaps they would pay attention. I can feel my son squirming. "This is important!" I tell them.
I tell them about the red scare, of the weapons pointed at our very country. I tell them of geopolitics and of unwitting nations used as chess pieces. I tell them of a culture of fear and from that fear, greed that came with it. I get tripped up on myself. I'm not really sure how to convey the cold war in such small terms, in a way that they will understand.
The baby is now trying to pull down my pants. He's got a thing right now for my pants, I have no idea why. Maybe they offend his tiny sensibilities in some way. Maybe he thinks denim isn't the right fashion choice for a man of my stature. I'm not sure really. He's just yanking really hard on my waist as I am kneeling talking to the other two.
Then he drops a cheerio down my butt crack. It gets lodged in there.
I think it's about time for my lecture to come to an end. I tell them to turn around more time and look at the pieces of the Berlin Wall that are displayed. I pick up Bacon and point him at the wall too. He'll have no memory of this but at least I will. I tell my kids that they won't know why until much later in life but what they are seeing is actually very important.
No, it doesn't move. No, It's never been in space. Yes, it's just a wall. An ordinary wall and that right now, that's pretty much the point. It's just an ordinary wall.
I feel that sometimes I overestemate my abilities as a parent.
When my end comes, I'm pretty sure that the words "over confident" will be mentioned in some accident report somewhere.
But we went mostly on the urging of Hossmom. She talked me into it. Although in hindsight, I think that I was manipulated into giving her a free night of wine drinking and watching sappy movies. I suppose there is only so much Spy Kids a person can take and she gladly encouraged me to take the kids to the space museum in the middle of no where Kansas.
I came to this relization as I was sitting on the floor of the hotel bathroom, the cold hard floor. It was the only moment I could get a thought to myself, a little time away from the constant questions and the 1 year old baby/toddler that has decided that sleep sucks, hotels suck, dad sucks, let's scream when I put you down and scream even louder when I pick you up.
The trip down was great. With a whole hour to plan this trip we were on the road right at Bacon's nap time. He slept almost the entire way. I through red box movies at Little Hoss and Bubba Hoss. I listened to old 60 minute shows on my phone. The trip down was freaking awesome. I am super dad, I need no planning.
But I do need diapers. Had to make a stop for those. Rookie mistake but we power on.
We get to the hotel. It looks nice on the outside, it looks awesome in fact. I got a deal on it, I prepaid. I can adventure like no one's business. In my wife's words, in convincing me to go when I brought up the idea several hours ago, "It's what you do Hoss. Take them. Go." She's wiley and played right into my ego there.
The reason I picked this particular hotel was because of the awesome pool. It was huge, it was indoors, it had a space theme. On line it looked perfect. Any seasoned Dad adventurer knows that you always pick a hotel that has a pool and I picked the one with the freaking awesome pool. Majesticically awesome is how I would describe myself.
Then we went in and discovered that the pool was closed for two more months but we were free to look at how awesome it would have been from the locked glass doors that my children are currently drooling on. The check in lady, no fault of hers I'm sure, says that she is sorry that the pool is closed and she agrees that I should have been told this when I made the reservation and paid. I ask her for suggestions for kid activities that I can do after 5pm, the current time. She has none. She should get out more.
We get our room and I ask for a luggage cart. They don't have one. Well, they have one but they can't find it. They have maintence men looking for it though so I'm sure they will find it soon. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to move all the baby gear plus our own luggage in without it, but it's ok. Super dad.
We go to our room while they look for a cart. The key card doesn't work. We try it again. And again. And again. On the tenth time and about when I'm going to give up, it finally works. This does not bode well. The room is nice enough but it does have a distinctive dead stripper smell. But hey, you get what you already paid for. 3 seconds in the room though and I know that this isn't going to work. I'm not spending the night with three car tired kids in a room watching bad cable for the next 5 hours.
I google nearby hotels. I call. The first one that has a room and a pool that is open gets our vote. I tell them we'll be there in ten minutes. The front desk at our current hotel is understanding when I tell them that we can't stay. I explain that I promised my kids a pool and that if I had known, I wouldn't have made the reservation. She understands and checks me out. She promises that my money will be refunded on my card. In a week or two. Fuck it, good enough. On our way out, the luggage cart magically appears because of course it does.
We get to our other hotel and they indeed have a pool. It's quite small, about the size of a good living room. And the water appears a little yellowish. No problem, I can work with yellow water. And they have a working luggage cart. I put all three kids on the luggage cart and our baby gear. I'm just happy we are checked in with a pool. I had to make two trips, 3 kids take up a lot of luggage space but that's ok, they thought it was part of the adventure not Dad trying to find a way to cope.
Dinner is next. I pick a buffet thinking it will have something for everyone. It does but again, my lack of planning and reasoning is where I mess up. Have you ever tried plating food from a buffet with one hand? Let me tell you, it's not simple. You get burned alot as you try to magically flip a piece of pizza on a poorly balanced plate that you have put on a non-exsistant counter. I couldn't put Bacon down, he would start screaming. I don't want to cause a scene. But what I do want to do is put on a show. So with the plate wedged against my fat roll and metal bar holding up the sneeze guard, I plate what ever is infront of me. Bacon and I are having some sort of chicken, some pasta thingy and I was able to grab the last two slices of pizza. Suck it world.
Bubba Hoss is doing well and is taking very slow steps with his food that his sister helped him get. He has a knack for dropping everything so he doesn't want to do it here, he's a good boy. It takes him 15 minutes to get to our table. I go back to get drinks and realize that I have forgotten a sippy cup. It's time to teach Bacon how to drink out of a straw. He's 1, can't stay a baby forever.
Dinner is finally done and I leave a genrous tip for whoever as I'm sure they will survey the amount of food on the floor and begin crying. Look, Bacon likes to chunk food when he's tired and right now, he's a bit tired. 5 bucks says I'm sorry, 10 says I'm really sorry and 15 bucks says please don't look at me when I quickly leave.
Back at the hotel, swimming goes well. No one gets hurt, no one pukes or craps in the pool and Dad is everyone's favorite pool toy. I think we have rebounded well to our early misfortune. Super dad.
And then at bed time, it all goes to shit. Little and Bubba are in their PJ's. They are playing and it's getting late now, around 10. Bacon however decides that he doesn't want to sleep. He doesn't want to play either. Nor does he want to lay on me, or the bed or in his pack and play that I brought. What he wants to do is to break my will. He's doing a pretty good job of it. For over an hour I fight this.
I know that he is tired, that he is in fact overtired and that is why he is being such a butthole. We hash it out with me saying "duck it" (that's parent code for Fuck it.) I put him in his pack and play and head to the bathroom to sit on the floor and finally cal Hossmom and congratualte her on a well played manipulation.
Eventually everyone does go to sleep. I come out of the bathroom and greatfully head towards the bed. In an hour, Bacon wakes up. He screams. I pick him up. I soothe him. I put him back down. This continues every hour until 4:30 and again I say duck it.
I wheel his pack and play into the bathroom and shut the door. I figure that the acustics in there will at least entertain him for a while. He immediatly falls asleep knowing that he has triumphed over me. I am not super dad, or majestic dad. I am over confident dad and he pays a price.
That price of course is paying for one hotel room that I don't use and for 3 all day passes to the space museum because it was the best deal. After I buy the tickets they inform me that the two special shows we want to see begin at 2 and 4 pm only. It's currently 9am. We need to leave by 1.
Over confident Dad, I like that guy, he gets shit done.
Duck it, let's have fun while we are here.
Hossmom looked at me after I have finished shaving. She had a disappointed look, a look that tells me something is wrong but she is not going to tell me what it is. She doesn't want to tell me, she wants me to figure it out. I want Denise Richards from the movie Wild Things. She looks into the sink and then looks back up at me.
Dear God what have I done?
With a beard: Women mistook me for the "bad boy". The rebel that surely has some sort of motorcycle around the corner. It's not street legal of course because fuck you that's why. Yeah, I'm a bad ass.
Without a beard: Hi! I'm Mr. Suburban Dad! I like to wear brown things and eat green things. I drive a sensible minivan and I would like fries with that.
With a beard: Black is the color of my soul and my t-shirts. The blackness hides my pain, my deep scars. I'm complicated, I struggle with feelings in a world not designed to handle them. Feel my muscles.
Without a beard: Black is icky and so depressing. I like sunshine yellow and rule following!
With a beard: No, you can't come into the bouncy house. The PTA lady said you have a wrist band, you have no wrist band. But you do have a problem and that problem is the bearded man in a black t-shirt guarding the bouncy house doors. How you want to handle this problem? Feel my muscles.
Without a beard: Hey kid, come back here! You have no wrist band, you can't go in! Don't ignore me kid! I'm going to tell your mom! Kid! Kid! Screw it, where's my words with friends so I can spell the word muscles.
With a beard: I'm going to sit on this park bench watching my children play. What am I thinking? Deep thoughts, thoughts that ordinary individuals can't handle, they are to deep. The Depth of these thoughts are deep. You know that they are deep thoughts because I am stroking my beard.
Without a beard: I'm going to sit on this park bench watching my children play. What am I thinking? About my next kidney stone. Also, I have to poop.
With a beard: Hey man, love your beard! Looks good brah! Cool t-shirt with the beard, buddy. Here, have some money and some honeys.
Without a beard: You have a baby face, lose some weight. No, you can't have any money.
With a beard: I didn't even know that you are bald, I was to distracted by the awesome face hair. Who needs head hair, you obviously don't. Can I touch it? Can I clip off a bit, put it in a scrap book and show it to my grandchildren one day?
Without a beard: Fuck all you're bald man, look into some Rogaine and for god sakes don't polish that thing, we are going blind over here.
With a beard: I will shovel the driveway in -10 degree weather. It will not effect me, I am immune to the wind. My beard freezes showing my determination to my family, to my minions. I squint in the blowing snow. Bring it mother nature, I own you.
Without a beard: AHHAHAHAHHAHAHHHHAHAHAAAAAAA, screw this it's cold. Good luck getting out of the house honey. Make me a sandwhich. Honey? Sweetpea?
With a beard: There is always something to stroke.
Without a beard: There is nothing to stroke, NOTHING. Nothing gets stroked. Not even a little bit. Honey? Sweetpea?
I know who I am. I'm Mr. Suburban dad. I am the rule follower, I do not speed. I coach kids teams, I help when the PTA lady asks me. I drive a minivan and make peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches. I sell girl scout cookies and plan safe family vacations. I like to wear brown pants and eat green things. But sometimes I get to be the rebel but only when it's cold, like his heart.
That and the beard is freaking hot in the summer.
I meant to go up sooner but I was enjoying my free time and watching an X-Files marathon. Scully does it for me, don't know why, but she does. I'll admit that I often stay up later than I probably should. But that's ok, sometimes I just need to be alone. And sometimes, like tonight, I don't need to be. Wink wink.
I take off my boots when the first kid comes down stairs. Ok, cool. I got this, my mojo is still good and I've still got my moves. Bubba Hoss wants a drink of water. Fine, I get him a drink of water. 11 pm and the kid has a dying thirst. So does his father. I get his drink of water. But apparently he wants a little chit chat with his beverage. My wife says that I could talk to anyone at anytime and about anything. I chit chat. It would appear that my second-born takes after his old man. He wants to remind me about the promise I made to play Skylanders tomorrow. I tell him that I remember. He then feels the need to tell me the Skylanders story again. I nod and say yes as I usher him upstairs. He wants to be tucked in again, I do that to. When I get to the door he stops me and asks another question. He asks me what are ghosts. Dammit, this is going to take a bit longer conversation than my libido planned. Can't let the kid go to bed thinking about ghosts, though. I tell him that there are no such things as ghosts because the Power Rangers got them all. Boom. No more ghosts. Let's think about Care Bears instead, little guy. I tuck him in and make it to the door. I'm about to take off my shirt, it's almost game time.
I hear my daughter crying in her room. Yup, have to check this out.
She says that she just had a nightmare about the books and series Goosebumps. She's been reading and watching that for a while. She likes the scary nature of it. It's like X-Files for kids. I've let her and have read and watched with her, too. It was a bit father/daughter time. She likes to scare herself a bit sometimes. She can normally be ok. Either that or I'm raising some sadistic killer. If that's the case, then I'll introduce her to the series Dexter. Not now though, she's only 8. I'll give it a couple of years.
It's backfiring me now though. She had a nightmare and needs her dad. This always gets me, probably gets all of us. "Needs her Daddy." When your little girl says that, yup, we all melt and not even a comet of death would make me turn away. Your god damn right Daddy can stop all the bad things in the world. It's what we all say because sometimes we even believe it ourselves and we need them to believe that more than anything.
She says she can't sleep in her room. She asks if she can go to our room. Nope, nope nope. Daddy has plans but I do take her to the couch down stairs. I put on Care Bears on the TV. If it's good enough to handle ghosts, Care Bears can handle Goosebumps. I snuggle with my daughter as she calms down. She isn't watching the show but she knows that it's on. The little voices and the nice music soothe her and thus soothes me. It takes about 30 minutes for her to go back down again. I try to get up to carry her back upstairs but it's no good. She somehow wakes up when I move and her claws somehow grab chest hair through a my still-on T-shirt. It was supposed to be on the floor an hour ago along with the rest of my clothes. I sit back down and continue to snuggle her. Another 30 minutes goes by and a second episode of Care Bears finishes. I pick her up and take her upstairs.
I take a misstep on one of Bacon Hoss's toys and almost stumble. I almost lose it but regain my balance. In the process I twerk my back a bit. A sharp pain, lower right side. Ouch, I was going to need that muscle tonight. I'll pop some aspirin and work through it in a couple of minutes. I realize that I'm much older now and that I should really stretch before any strenuous exercise. Old man sex stretches, it's very hot.
I put her in bed and start to head to my bedroom. No stopping me now. I might even brush my teeth before coming to bed and making some magic. I hear the baby crying. God. Dammit.
He does this from time to time, wakes up randomly in the middle of the night. The best thing to do is to just go ahead and snuggle him down for 20 minutes. I usually sleep in the rocking chair while I do it. But I don't want to do it tonight. Well, I want to do it but the "it" is something else entirely. I know for me to have any success tonight that the baby cannot be screaming in the background. Hossmom has this whole "good mother" thing going on and apparently 'screaming baby' is not considered foreplay.
I head into his room and he's in full-on meltdown mode. He's banging his head on the side of the crib, hard. I have no earthly idea why he does it. One day I'm going to let him continue to do it and give himself a concussion. Teach the boy a lesson. Not tonight though, I don't have time for an emergency room visit. That would surely kill my mojo because hospitals don't do it for me.
I grab his blankie and take him to the rocking chair. I pull out my phone and play his bedtime music, a mix of Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson. I sing to him while I do it. He farts on me. If he crapped his pants, I'm going to let him sit in it. I don't want to be stinky before I go to my bedroom. He'll just have to take this for his old man, take one for the team.
It does take me about another 20 minutes. It's a little bit past 1AM now. I have wasted too much time, I'm actually tired myself now and my back aches a bit. My shoulder has gone numb from where I was holding Bacon. Ok, I admit to myself that this might not be the adventurous sexy times I had planned. This will be more of a 'marriage maintenance' time. Enjoyable and needed but perhaps combined with the smell of Icy Hot.
I head into the bedroom and yawn. I can still do this, I've still got this in me. I've dealt with kids for about the last 2 hours, I've earned a little treat. As I arrange the pillows my daughter opens the door. She doesn't say anything and actually scares me a bit. The silhouette of a quiet child framed in a door is the stuff of horror movies. If she asks me if I want to play a game, I'm going to freak.
She runs over to her mom's side and vaults over, landing right in between us. She snuggles in and in a period of less than 3 seconds is under the covers and snoring. No more nightmares.
Welp, that does it for me. I'm done, the magic whisper will in no way work now. I have been officially blocked from martial relations by my own children. I lay my head down on my pillow and think that I will probably write about this tomorrow.
Yup, I'll write about it so that it is forever a part of the Hossman story. And I know full well that my children will one day read my stories, the story of our family and their childhood. They'll read them when they are in their 20's probably, maybe show them to their significant other.
And they will come to this one, a story about their dad trying to get laid, a story called Care Bears. What is more safe and comforting than Care Bears? They will scream, they will be grossed out, they will close their eyes and just try to get that visual out of their head. But it won't go out of their head because they had to read this, my wonderful little bastards. The visual will be playing right along to the theme music of caring and sharing. Care bears will be ruined for them. Forever.
And they will be traumatized, a scar will form in their psyche.
My vengeance will be complete.
This is not a post bashing children. This is also not a post claiming that being a stay at home dad is the hardest job in the world. It's not. Most times, it's down right awesome. It's fun, it's rewarding. I am my own boss. I am the master of the house. I am the Captain to my own group of mangHoms. See what I did there? I wrote Klingon. I don't do it often, but it comes out of me at times. I'm bilingual in a made up alien language. I might write the rest of this blog in Elvish. I could do it. I'm not a proud man.
That is not to say that the being a stay at home dad does not have it's challenges. I usually don't speak of it so much because the good far out weighs the bad. The biggest one is that you are always "on". You are always "at work." Imagine that for a minute, you working stiffs, or what I call "weekenders." I call you that because you fuck up my weekend grocery store runs. I never wait in line until the weekend comes and you people flock to the store with your bad manners and poor parking. You don't even know the name of your check out lady do you? Mine is named Danielle and she has a coworker named Linda. They are very nice. We chat. Weekenders don't chat unless it's in the middle of the aisle and you have forgotten that everyone around you still needs to get by but no, you must make a Les Mis style barricade. If you bust into song I'm going to punch you. I kind of hate you people.
But imagine with me if you will, if you had no lunch break. That you had to consistently give orders, take orders, make conversation about things that are not intellectually stimulating. Imagine that day in and day out. Ok, a lot of you probably do that. Now imagine doing that while one of your dining companions just took a dump in his pants and the smell won't go away.
Imagine your work commute. Stressful? Hateful? Tiresome, annoying? Have I hit all the right words? What you fail to realize is that in that period of time, in your anger, you have freedom. You are listening to your music, your news radio. You are checking out the sports channel. You are mentally preparing your day. Imagine doing that while someone is headbutting you in the nuts. Say all you are trying to do is to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich while you mentally schedule your day. Bam, headbutt to the balls. You react but when you do, you smack your head on the counter. As you collect yourself, someone yells "stop hitting me!" You don't care, you just tell them to find their shoes and you know for a fact that they are not in the shoe basket because that would be too easy.
There is no alone time, there is no time to collect yourself. You have to wake up that way and have to stay that way all day.
Sure, you can take a break. But in my world taking a break means I sit on the floor while a one-year-old scales me like Mount Everest and only when he summits do you realize that he has crapped his pants again. You know this because he is now sitting on your head chirping like a monkey that has found a termite colony that is in your ear.
Like I said, this isn't the toughest job. I don't make decisions that will cost millions and I don't fire people and send them home to sad families. I no longer confront perpetrators and it is nice that no one has chased me with a crow bar in 6 years. But it is constant.
From 6 in the morning to about 8:30 at night (sometimes longer, sometimes earlier), I am on. It's a bit like Chinese water torture. The first 1000 drips are fine, no big deal, a day at the beach. But the 1001 you start to think, hey, this is kind of tough. This is kind of constant. This is always.
Now add to that that you control the future of three very little people and the things that you do over the next 18 years will determine their quality of life. They end up in therapy? Your fault. They end up in in a bell tower with a high powered rifle? Your fault. I find this true with all parenting, this constant sometimes over whelming responsibility of the future, not just at home parents. The difference is that I rarely get a chance to escape it. Some days I would kill for an hour long commute. I would love to be able to fire someone. That sounds horrible but think of it this way. When you fire someone, it's over, your responsibility to that person is over, done. It's thoughts like these, that I have in my late 30's that make me want to call my parents and thank them profusely. I get it, it just took me 30 years to get there.
I have done the working dad thing in the past. I have gone to work and did daycare. I have worked at home, late nights, etc. I must admit that I prefer the at home life much, much more. The perks are unimaginable. Yes, I go to the pool a lot, I take road trips with me and just the kids on a Tuesday. I see the wacky and stupid. I'm going to visit Monkey Island just because we can. And I can see my children grow up, first hand. I get to share in every single victory and fall in every single failure. Those experiences and feelings are amazing and unable to replicate. I realize that this is a gift that has been given to me and one that I am very sure that I will never take for granted.
But sometimes, you just need to hide, you just need to be by yourself and live for yourself, even if it's only for a short time in the evening when everyone has gone to bed. You need to be able to watch something stupid without anyone telling you about the gigantic turd they just laid and dear god come see this I don't think it's going to flush DAD DAD DAD DAD. And as much as I appreciate the ability to lay a giant poop sometimes Dad would just like a whiskey and some quiet.
On those days, and they are not often, I hide from my children. I go into my room and I lock the door. This does not reflect poorly on them, my family is pretty god damn awesome. But I just need a few minutes where I don't have to stitch a torn slipper or wonder about what we are going to have for breakfast. I just need to sit.
Then I realize that my daughter has a spelling test tomorrow and it's a bit tougher than the ones she has had before. We also have a birthday party at an indoor pool, I have to get swim trunks ready. I also have to go shopping for a gift. I think Bacon Hoss is teething and he's been waking up nights again, I need to have a back up pacifier ready. Two kids start soccer next week, need to get our gear ready and perhaps get some drills ready as well.
Breaks over. And gladly do I step back into their lives because without them I would be forced to go to work and make million dollar decisions and fire people. That would suck.