At Least I Feel Better

I have to admit that lately the stress being caused by the baby’s new stage has started to get to me.

I’ve been angry.

I’ve been sullen.

I’ve been bitter.

I’ve started to act anxious  and paranoid.

Truth be told I’ve even been wondering if this whole having children thing is worth it.

Now on top of all this, these feeling have the audacity to make me feel guilty for feeling them.

Then, this morning, I ran across the movie There Will Be Blood on Netflix. I’d been meaning to watch it because it’s supposed to be a pretty good flick and I wanted to know for awhile now why so many of my friends threaten to drink my milkshake.

So I watched it.

If you haven’t seen it or know nothing about it, it is not, IS NOT, a feel good movie. But it made me feel better. It made me feel better because no matter how bitter, angry, paranoid and sullen I get, at least least I’ll never be as bad as the asshole that movie is about.

I mean… Just… That fucking guy. Wow.

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No Baby!

That title? That has been the most commonly used phrase in my home in the last month or so. Also, “No baby don’t…!”, “No! Put that down!” and my personal favorite, “That’s not yours! It doesn’t belong to you! Just stop! Stop! For the love of god why can’t you just… Just…! No, no, NO!”.

So what I’m saying is that the baby’s going through a stage. A “if I can reach it, I will take it” stage.

And he seems to be able to reach everything. I guess he’s tall for his age. He also has figured out how to drag chairs around and use them to climb on counter tops and tables.

Oh, and he also has decided that clothes and diapers were made to come off. That’s another fun stage he’s going through right now.

That’s how, just the other day, I had to quickly run into the bathroom for a few minutes due to an unfortunate encounter with some “Mexican” food, to come out and find a baby, who was previously completely dressed, naked, standing in his own bodily waste holding a large kitchen knife.

I was in there for maybe, maybe, two minutes. But it was enough time for him to strip naked, pull a chair to the counter, climb up onto that counter, pull a knife out of the block, climb back down and then poop in front of the bathroom door.

I’m not sure if either of us will survive this stage.

The Mind Of An Angry Dad

Sometimes in the middle of an especially trying week one of your children, who has been especially whiney as of late, will have a very small part of one of his toys broken. This part is not broken in a way that would affect the ability to play with this toy but the reaction to this broken part is equivalent to the reaction you would expect a child to have from seeing a beloved pet gunned down in the streets by an angry drug cartel. (I guess Fido was into some shady business…) You, being the parent of this overly distraught child, takes the toy and fixes it as best you can with what you have on hand. Your child looks at the toy and says, “I guess that’s better than nothing,” in their snottiest, most privileged tone, snatches the toy out of your hand and walks away…

(Before I continue I want to state again that it was a really rough week.)

When the above scenario happened to me not so long ago what I wanted to do to my child was grab him by the scruff of the neck like he was shady Fido up there and be like “LISTEN HERE YOU UNGRATEFUL LITTLE SHIT, IF IT WASN’T FOR ME AND YOUR MOTHER YOU WOULDN’T EVEN HAVE THAT TOY! YOU WOULDN’T HAVE A PLACE TO KEEP THAT TOY! YOU WOULDN’T HAVE FOOD! OR A ROOF OVER YOUR HEAD! FOR FUCK SAKE, YOU WOULDN’T EVEN BE ALIVE!!!!!!!!! DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT?!?!?!? YOU WOULD BE DEAD IF IT WASN’T FOR US!!! DEAD, DEAD, DEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

But that’s not what I did. No, I took a deep breath, reminded him that when someone does something nice for you the proper reaction is to say “thank you” and let him go and play with the toy.

It doesn’t always go this well but my reactions are never as bad as the things that go through my head when I get pushed just a touch too far. I’m really hoping this counts for something because if thoughts could make you a bad parent… Whew!

The Cupcake

“You really think it’s worth it for a cupcake?”

“Yes. Yes I do. It’s two dollar Tuesday. And this is my last chance to go.”

“Really? I mean ‘really you want to leave the house’ not about the last chance, two dollar thing. I don’t think he wants to go. And he can’t eat a cupcake because of the surgery this morning.”

“He feels better now and if he tears it into little pieces he can probably eat one. If that doesn’t work we can get him ice cream or a milkshake. And they’re really good cupcakes. The bakery won Cupcake Wars. We need to get out of the house anyway. A drive will do us good.”

“Whatever… I’ll go if you pick out their clothes.”

“Quit worrying. It’ll be fine.”

……………………

“What took so long?”

“He was freaking out, screaming and throwing himself to the floor because he didn’t want to go to the cupcake store. I told him he could try it and if it didn’t work we could get him ice cream and then he started freaking out about that.”

“So we’re not going now?”

“No, we’re going. He’s coming out the house. See?”

“You think this is a good idea?”

“It’ll be fine.”

……………………..

“I’m sorry you can’t eat your cupcake, but you have to stop screaming. It doesn’t help anything… No your brother shouldn’t stop eating his cupcake just because you… ”

“Well if we wanted to be fair…”

“What?”

“Nothing.”

“No, we’ll save your cupcake until tomorrow and… STOP SCREAMING!! We’ll stop for ice cream. You’ll be able to eat that. You’ll see. It’ll be fine.”

………………………..

“I’m sorry it hurts to… Stop screaming please! I’m sorry it hurts to eat ice cream. Just put… Listen! Stop freaking out and LISTEN TO ME! Just try to put a little in your mouth at a time and let it melt…”

“I guess he doesn’t like that idea… Hey! Don’t be so dramatic and STOP SCREAMING! Do you want me to be so distracted that I wreak the car and we all die a horrible flaming death?!?!”

“Now who’s being dramatic?”

“Whatever. You wanted to ‘go and get two dollar cup cakes‘. This is all on you. You were… SHUSH! ALL OF YOU BACK THERE! I swear if you y’all don’t quiet down none of you will ever eat AGAIN!!!!”

“I wonder where he gets it.”

“…”

“Oh so you’re not talking to me now?”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“Fine, I’m sorry, it was a terrible idea. Ok?”

“Yep… Well I hope the cupcake was worth it.”

“…”

“So how was it? Was it worth all this?”

“… It was fine.”

Kid Cuisine

I used to make this dish, usually around the first part of October after a successful deer hunt, where I would take a section of venison loin, season it with little sea salt, fresh ground pepper and just touch of cinnamon and nutmeg, and sear it on all sides in a hot cast iron pan until it had a nice caramelized crust. I would then take this loin and stick it in the oven to slow roast. While waiting for it to reach a medium rare I would throw a little butter and a few finely chopped shallots into the pan I seared the loin in, let the shallots soften up a bit and then deglaze the pan with a splash of good bourbon and a half bottle of one of the seasonal pumpkin beers that come out around that time of year. I’d cook that down, add a dash of pumpkin pie spice and some cream, let it thicken up a little bit and serve this sauce with the medium rare loin and a side of homemade sweet potato fries.

Before children this kind of meal wasn’t unusual in my home.

Gumbos, creoles, shrimp  and grits, seafood stews, wild game cooked any and every way I could think of; almost all the ingredients caught, grown or shot by me or someone whose name I at least knew…

Tonight for dinner I had Mickey Mouse shaped chicken nuggets, boxed mac & cheese and frozen broccoli.

This kind of meal isn’t unusual in my house now.

Yay kids.

 

Fear

I’m writing this from the only secure place I can find.

It won’t stay secure for long though.

They’ll find me.

They always do.

I can sense that they’re close even now. I can hear their otherworldly screeching. I can feel the earth trembling footfalls that betray their size and number. I can even smell the odd mix of cookie and human waste that the littlest of the bunch seems to always exude.

I am larger and faster but they outnumber me and their stamina is almost supernatural.

I once had a partner to help fend them off but she went for supplies awhile back and, well, I fear she will never return.

They’re close now. And they’re calling to me in their mocking tone.

“Dad-deeeeeee… Dad-deeee… We know you’re here Daddy… We know where you are…”

I’m so frightened.

And there’s no escape.

Rites of Manhood

One of the many problems the modern westernized man suffers from in this day and age is a prolonged adolescence brought about by the lack of any kind of discernible switch from boyhood to manhood. There are a few things here and there, especially here in the south where I live, that are close to rites of passage; first deer killed, first beer drank, losing your virginity, first time you eat way more hallucinogens that you can possibly handle and find yourself lost in the woods draped in moss, mud and nothing else… These things help but really don’t give you the clear-cut “now you’re a man my son” kind of jolt into manhood that a ritualized ceremony can produce.

These ceremonies are usually based around physical, mental and emotional stress and how well the individual at the center of the ritual can handle them, i.e. if the boy can take the test and remain courageous and calm throughout he will walk away a man.

I believe that I may have discovered, quite by accident, the perfect manhood right for the modern man.

First: go on a prolonged “vacation” with your family.

Second: at the end of this “vacation” pack three young children ranging from one to eight years of age and their mother into a crowded vehicle. Make sure every person in this vehicle has some sort of electronic device and that all devices have their volume turned all the way up to eleven at all times.

Third: drive for at least thirteen straight hours. Make sure that at least four of those hours are spent driving an average of 10mph through major metropolitain areas. It should also be raining the entire time.

Fourth: try to pull into your destination around 1am or so. Make sure all children are wide awake after the very short naps they took in the vehicle.

Final step: walk into destination (note: this step only really works if your destination is your own home) and find that someone has broken in and stolen your kids videogame system and all of your guns.

If you can follow these steps while remaining calm, collected and strong throughout you will walk away a man.

Or it might be easier to put your hand in a glove full of bullet ants…