When I saw that the St. Louis Post Dispatch was having a contest to find a new daddy columnist, my thought process went like this:
1) Awwwww I wish I could enter.
2) Maybe Batman could enter! He's pretty creative.
3) Batman can't enter. He's in the midst of law school finals and there is no way he'd feel up to writing it.
4) Maybe I'll ghost write for him!
write write write write write write
5) Awwwwww crap. I can't enter this. Batman is going to be a lawyer and he could be disbarred for this sort of thing. grumble grumble responsibility grumble being a grown-up grumble grumble
Would you like to read my columns written in the persona of my husband? Sure you do. I actually used a lot of his own commentary and ideas to create them. I wrote three columns but the third one was kind of lame so I'm ripping it up and eating it to destroy all the evidence of its existence.
The Exorcism of Mo-mo Grace
There comes a point in every man’s life where he becomes convinced that his daughter is possessed.
For me, the first time was when my daughter, Mo-Mo, was six weeks old. She took her normal bottle of milk and kept fussing as if she were still hungry. As she was finishing her second bottle, she burped and transformed from my sweet, sleepy baby into a projectile-puking banshee. I think her head must have spun completely around. She managed to shoot milk in a 3-foot radius around her.
It was epic, as in steam-clean-the-carpet-afterwards epic. It was also over quickly, leaving only the memory and the faint smell of old milk.
We are currently battling the Teething Demon. If it were up to me, she would go through life with the four teeth she already has. My easygoing little girl has turned into a fussy drool-monster. We combat this phase with teething rings, baby Tylenol, and wet washcloths—we have not yet had to call in an old priest and a young priest.
As I look ahead, I know that there will be times when I no longer recognize my baby girl. When she hits her terrible twos and learns to word “no.” When she no longer thinks that balancing things on my head is the height of humor (trust me, this bit is wildly popular with the six months through two years old demographic). When she fearlessly walks away from me and into the classroom for the first time.
I don’t even want to think about the dreaded Puberty Demon. During the entire period from age thirteen to eighteen, somehow I will transform into the meanest and least cool person in the world. There will be fights about curfew, clothing, make-up, and dare I say? Fights about boys. I get a headache by just typing the words.
Tylenol and toys are no match against this formidable beastie called Puberty. There is no known cure for this affliction except for time—and even then, they can never become a little girl again.
In comparison, this Teething Demon doesn’t sound half bad.
It’s amazing how fast your world can change. Yesterday our house was cozy, comfortable and inviting. Today it’s a death trap, filled with sharp edges, choking hazards, and dangerously unstable furniture.
What has changed since yesterday? My daughter has begun to walk.
I suppose “walk” is a bit of an exaggeration. She pulled herself up to standing position. But I can already see the determined look in her eyes as she reaches forward for things just out of her reach: the remote control, a can of soda.
It doesn’t help that my wife reads all of the newspaper articles about freak accidents. She’s normally a level-headed person but this whole mommy thing brings out a streak of paranoia. I admit it, I’m effected too: I’d like nothing more than to wrap either my daughter or our entire house in bubble wrap.
For example, take the rocking chair and ottoman that we purchased before Mo-mo was born. Before, it was where we rocked her to sleep, read her stories, sang her lullabies, and calmed her when she was crying. Now it’s a gliding smasher of tiny fingers, an unstable surface to make her fall.
We’ve done minimal child-proofing so far, instead choosing create a baby-friendly zone in the middle of our living room. Of course, Mo-mo would much rather play with the rocking chair, pull on my X-box cables, play drums on the trashcan, and generally touch with every single thing in our house that is either dangerous or unsanitary. I follow her around in the perpetual state of heart failure, telling her “no” and redirecting her to less scary but less interesting objects.
Standing up by herself is a small step in her development. It will lead to more small steps, then big steps, then running. And as much as I wish I could, I can’t cushion the entire world for her. I won’t be there to catch her every time she falls.
Today, holding onto the coffee table. Tomorrow, she’ll conquer the world. Somehow we’ll both survive.