Temper and patience. There was a line for them in heaven, right? Or Pre-Heaven. Wherever that hot spot where they hand out the chiseled cheekbones to the left, triple ripple necks to the right.
Brains over here, darling...
Asswipe-in-the-passing-lane level smarts?, ....over there son.
You heard of the place. Anyhow, when they were handing out the even tempers and the patience and the chilled beach bum aura....I was over in the man tits line, all excited, thinking I'd beaten everyone to the front. Christ. Now, I am tested like never before. And I knew all along that it was coming. Every single thing you read about being a new dad, they all say the same stuff: If she's crying, make sure she isn't hungry. Check that diaper....babies don't wanna baste in their own piss, cowboy! Is she on fire?....babies HATE being aflame. Make's 'em weep every time.
What the fuck? What kind of racket is this whole new parent market? What wisdom exactly are they really selling me, besides the basic shit that you could learn from a crusty pamphlet in the pediatrician's waiting room. I have like 16 books. Last night, while thumbing through one of them (this one's supposed to let you in on all the minutiae of each week of your baby's entire first year)
I was in the middle of week 12, about where Violet is hanging out. And honest to God, I came across this sentence.
"To keep her from swallowing too much air make sure she doesn't cry for too long."
I read it again. I looked at the back of the book where the price was. $16.99. I read it again. Make sure she doesn't cry for too long? Did I miss that bit on voodoo? Did I just skip over the section on making tiny miracles happen?
What a douche, I thought. Whoever wrote this book simply copied all the other shit from the trillion other books; not that different from getting paid to write a Chinese take-out menu.
Who is going to teach me then? I was pissed. How am I going to pick up tips on controlling my mind when Violet is deep into that second hour of death-rattle bawling? Where is the secret wisdom, for fuck's sake???!!! When that "fussytime" hits in the evening and time slows and then rushes and then slows like when I used to have too much blow in my face and everything was frentic and uncool and my temples squirting open like busted jalepeno poppers was not at all far fetched....when all that wackness hits so hard what do I do, what do I do, what do I do?
Sigh. It ain't in the books, huh? I wasted my cash. Last night, I just held on for dear life, kept touching her tender face skin with my nose, kept whispering through the tempest. It didn't really do much. She freaked for a long long couple of hours. Finally she drifted off. I was proud and shaking. My mind was goose fat but I'd hung in there.
I bit into a taco. Crying came from the crib. Dear Jesus. I picked her up and we walked to the changing table. I undid the Winnie the Pooh diaper and there was a poop the size of a Yugo. Oh sweetheart, I said. Oh dollgirl, no wonder you were so sad. Some got on my finger.
I thought about eating it in some primative ritual of love triumphs over all daddy's defects. But I had cold tacos out in front of the tv just sitting there, you know?