Last night Violet wakes up from a nap in the swing while I'm half-watching American Idol. OK...full watching; what's the difference? So, she wakes up and begins the slow ascent into poop cry. It starts low: she is awaken from what must certainly be a precious baby dream. There she is riding a Fluffy Unicorn through a hillside kingdom of dandelions and butterflies when all of the sudden SHAZZZAM! The poor peanut has a damn summer storm go off in her pants. God, the humanity. I picture her there waving at me from her pink cotton saddle; 'Hi Papa..I love You!'...her chubby cheeks puffed with pride; her smile sparkling like broken glass in the sun. Then the joy simply drains from her face and her wave to me collapses. I watch in horror, crippled with helplessness. The Fluffy Unicorn shrivels his nose and gags. I want to reach out to my baby and save her from this swift fall into graceless shame. I want to poop my own pants for her. To somehow show her I love her still....
Actually, Violet woke up with the poop cry, nothing major; her dreams were probably of taking a teeny dump, to be honest. So, I rise up away from my stir-fry on the coffee table: an important 'copter needed at the scene of the crash, and head over to the swing. A few calm words, I rub her marzipan hands, she's mine. The crying slacks off. Half cries turn to tired sighs. And then those turn into sleepy smiles. Lately that's how it mostly goes and its magical. From a quivering Poltergeist baby to this one who sees shining promise in my whispers and touch. I never dreamed it would actually happen, even though everyone said it would.
So, I'm not a complete failure at Daddy-ing. And let me tell you something. I walk tall around here. Sure there's no one here to see it ever. No one to say, "Hey man, I have never seen a man become a daddy so naturally, with such elegance and subtle machismo."
No one to tell me, "Fella...you are really raising that little girl right. Just look at the way you mix her cocktails....shaken, NOT STIRRED. That's how we did it in the forties. In the Great War. For the babies we found in the smoldering villages."
No pats on the back. No doe eyes from hotties-in-the-know who are blown away by my rugged tenderness. So, yeah, no casual sex with strangers.
So I have to remind myself, as I lift Violet up and carry her back to the changing table, that I am that rare breed. I am the man who loves his daughter enough to spend all day with her. To show her the world. Or the dog park and Sportsman's Warehouse at least. Feed her. Change her. Hold her and love her.
By the time we pull up to the diapers I have once again gotten myself high on my achievements. Whassup Supa Dad, as I glide by the mirror. I am flushed with confidence when I lay my daughter down. I change the old and make it new. The dirty I make clean. The crappy monkey on her back: I slay it with ease and slide its now still body into the Diaper Champ.
Then. I decide to plow on. I will clip her long sharp fingernails for her. I pick up the small clippers specially designed for baby fingers.
A master of the child-rearing universe, I move in to operate.
Violet's face explodes. Her cries tell of real hard Old Testament pain.
I crash through the ceiling and slam into the floor. The universe has spoken. Back to Earth...boy.