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The General Is Missing.

On the weekends I have to step back a little bit and I'm not sure I can be mature about that. Monica moves back into her Mama role. I get a little jealous. Seeing Violet in her arms makes me want to bark out that she's holding her wrong, that her thumb is going to pop through the soft spot. But, I'd be lying. She's holding her fine.

I get nasty. Yesterday we headed over to Dog Canyon together, the whole gang. That's a thing I am not used to. Lately I've gotten adjusted to being the expedition's leader by default: my brain being the fattest, therefore I lead. And, at first, it was scary as shit. Getting Violet into the chest carrier I was certain I would move to connect one of the locks and she would tumble from my arms and smack into the parking lot. Or I would secure her so snug that I would get down into the woods to find her smooshed and blue. Really, that's the tip of the iceberg. There were so many mistakes I felt certain I would make. Of course, nothing came to pass.

And so slowly, I became the Chief. The General. Fling across my chest, boys! Follow me down into hell! Walk where I walk and be damned their guns! I'm not going to downplay the size of this stuff in my life. It is gargantuan. I became in charge of a little human life. And she was still alive.

So, yesterday we get over to the place and Milo's barking in the back without control, his effervescence gushing through his heart and veins at such a rate that the poor little guy simply crosses over to the Dark Side. The windows in the truck rolled down means he can smell when we roll within a mile of the creek and the woods. When that happens a thug is born. He loses his shit. Barks explode at perfectly spaced single second intervals; someone squeezing off rifle shots, cutting down dozens of distant enemies methodically, cool, one at a time. By the time we pull into the lot I feel different about this then usual. Every other day I might tell Milo to shut the fuck up, but that's it. Violet is so used to it she ignores it completely. But today, with Monica/Mama along for a rare family outing, I think I become embarrassed. I holler bad at Milo. Return a few shots toward the back even though I'm driving.

Uh-oh. Backfire. Monica looks at me with glaring disgust. She hates my temper circus and she should. It's dumb.I know the look she's wearing well. Now I get more pissed off. Once again my profound love for my family and soaring pride in my fatherly skills has hidden itself well deep back in the thickets of my common sense. Once again, I have fucked up.

This of course leads to shame on my part. Not a conscious realization of my jealousy/determination to make my wife see how badass I am with the kid and the dogs all at once. No. Instead I fumble my emotion, get confused where I dropped the damn thing, and just end up hitting and tackling others out of shame. Stuff snowballs. I yank on Max's chain too hard. Monica is wearing Violet on her chest. All of this is far from Sunday family relaxing, I'll tell you that.

Later, I pick every single weed out of the driveway at our house. Every grass blade coming through every crack. I pick until the sun sets low. And in my head, I pick apart the wasted afternoon. I wonder how I managed to spray hot piss all over our one day together.

The control was mine to lose and I lost it. Again. I tried to impress her and instead I depressed her. Goddamn it.

Reader Comments (11)

That stuff is hard to negotiate. You'll do better next time--or the time after that!

May 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Hey man, I'm sure the wife is, understandably, also going through the same thing. Probably a little tough for her that you get to be at home, with the girl all the time and, therefore, sensitive to being in control (and others trying to be in control).

I get something similar but different. I come home on the weekend and my wife, understandably, expects me to take over so she can finally run, hit the computer, etc. I forget sometimes and get a little pissy as I'm tired on the weekends and want to do some stuff. Lately, I've been just embracing it (mostly, with a few pop offs here and there) as it means more time with my little guys and is definitely all good.

May 18, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterfellowdad

also meant to post this yesterday per music. We (wife and kids) love this guy Justin Roberts. One of favorites, after TMBG. Check out video below for "Stay at Home Dad" song (ignore stupid intro for Land of Nod).

May 18, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterfellowdad

What you have described happens to me all the time.. I act smug and arrogant, have a go at my husband for no reason and then it snowballs because he reacts in a shitty way and I react even worse.. At times like this I try to remind myself what I told you the other day "He is not the enemy" and stop it before it gets out of control.

We really have no reason whatsoever to be depressed or unhappy...we are so lucky to have a wonderful person to share our life with.

Life is what you make of it..we should all try to enjoy the present and make it a happy time to remember.

May 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPaula

wow. this scares the crap out of me. i wonder if this sorta thing will happen if my husband and i have a kiddie. yikes! i mean, it's obviously not the kinda thing that marriages end over, but nevertheless an undesireable experience.

it's crazy how quickly a day with great aspiration can snowball into a series of shitty moments.

my husband gets all loud and "yelly" in debates and arguments and the only thing that has worked is when i say something like "um, are you losing your shit?" interspersed in between my rebuttals on the topic at hand or "calm down" over and over again.

i can't explain it, but there is something incredibly unacceptable about men and their yelling, to us ladies. maybe it's because women have been oppressed (or just institutionally humbled) for so damn long that we resent a man who is so damn free with his anger and emotions.

May 18, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterleyla

I don't think its strictly a male thing. Women get very loud and yelly, too. I would cut Serge some slack. He's made huge sacrifices on his way to this fatherhood thing. Losing one's temper is not a major crime. Both parties need to be flexible and understanding.

May 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Hang in there

May 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

true - i guess it isn't just a male thing. i should have been more clear in my comments. it's just that it seems scary a bit (but mostly annoying) when MY husband yells. and perhaps not literally scary as if I am actually frightened, but more like enacting the PERFORMANCE of what it is (the veins, loud testosterony vocal acrobatics) to be scary.

both parties do need to be flexible.. sure. i was just thinking of when someone (not to imply author of this blog) does it repeatedly, that's all. um, MY husband.. ahaha ;)

anyway, am going to stop.. don't want to go overboard with my thoughts here. it's not my place, really.

May 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterleyla

No, I don't think you are going overboard at all. Its relevant to Serge's post, I think. Scarier than a man (or woman) who screams and yells, in my humble opinion, is a person who avoids conflict altogether. A person that walks away and/or shuts the proverbial door during important or difficult conversations, or who simply disconnects emotionally. It feels like getting punched in the gut. I'll take screaming over apathy any day. Obviously both emotions should be kept in check, but artistic types generally have a lot of passion to contend with.

May 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

My wife and I have a 3 1/2-month-old at home, and find ourselves growling at each other much more often.

In sane moments, we chalk it up to the fact that we're maybe getting two hours of sleep per night and that has somehow shortened our tempers.

Bottom line is having a kid, even one you planned and wanted, is so much freaking harder than anticipated.

May 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPete

Be yourself. Even if you don't know remember what that is anymore.
Keep doing good-hearted things.
You are morphing into something else that is really the same thing as what you've always been at the deepest level.
It is going to be end up totally cool!
Ride it.
East Blessings

May 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

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