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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

the annals of bad parenting: S is for scotch and 12 is how many

greetings friends! today we pay a visit to the Annals of Bad Parenting, brought to you by the letter S and the number 12. let's get to the nitty gritty. the courts can call this post Evidence A in the case of the people vs. mr nice guy, wherein the state will decide that i am unfit to raise anything more than a miniature cactus:

the other day as the baby was safely sound asleep in her crib, face down, strapped in and heavily sedated, i was frittering about on the internets. at about 10 am, a friend sent me a note saying he was in the neighborhood and that he would stop by. i said fine, i'll make you some coffee. minutes later he was downstairs. so i buzzed him into the building. i opened the door to my apartment. and as i stepped into the hall to greet him, i heard a solid CLICK. without turning to look for the source of the noise, i felt something deep inside of me die an instantaneous yet searingly painful death: the door was locked. the baby was inside. so were my keys.

mr nice guy, even though heart no longer beating: HOLY FUCK! BABY INSIDE! KEYS! DON'T HAVE! LOCKED! DEAD MAN!
friend, oddly more panicked than me: oh ... my ... god.

thankfully, my upstairs neighbor was home with her son. unthankfully she does not have a copy of my keys. my friend and i climbed onto her third-floor balcony and looked over the ledge onto my balcony where my sliding door sat unlocked. i ordered my friend to risk a certain instant broken neck and rappel down onto my balcony. he, selfishly, refused.

so i did what i had to do: i called my wife -- at work in manhattan, at least 30 minutes away by car -- and said in one breath with my eyes closed:

whenyoukillme." she sighed the sigh of a woman all too accustomed to untangling the webbed follies spun by her fool of a husband. and then she got in a cab. meanwhile i tried like hell to break into my building with little success. my friend offered to get me some muffins ("anything i can do to make this easier for you, man") as i suffered visions of my baby swallowing her blanket to death.

my upstairs neighbor's retired father was hanging around the periphery of the scene with a sardonic little grin on his face. "you're not about to win father of the year, are you?" my self-loathing achieved an almost eurphoric level of purity. (i should note here that in a bizarre twilight zone twist of my life, i actually attended my upstairs neighbor's father's retirement party six years ago in washington DC -- my upstairs neighbor's father was a grizzled master in the profession i had just embarked upon. i admire him. so now we randomly meet again in brooklyn and this is impression i make?)

anyway, mrs nice guy made it home in record time. she was sitting on the roof of the taxi like some post-apocalyptic Ben Hur, whipping the cab driver's bare back with her nursing bra. "FASTER! HYAH!" fearing her momwrath, my friend mysteriously vanished just as the taxi rounded the corner. miraculously she did not kill me, our upstairs neighbor, the super or any other innocent bystanders.

we ran upstairs and, miracle of miracles, the baby was still asleep! she stirred awake and mrs nice guy snatched her up. they nursed and bonded as i silently thanked the baby for not being covered in her own blood and vomit.

i am telling you, sometimes i don't think i am cut out for this fatherhood business. oh i have so many examples. how hard should this really be? i mean, the baby, she is not independently mobile yet! she can't crawl. she can roll over but never rolls more than once in the same direction; just flops back and forth in place. usually i can plop her on the bed or the rug with a couple of toys if i need to run out of the room for five seconds to grab something or answer the phone.

so the other day i did just that. she was sitting on the bed. i ran into the restroom to wash my hands or something. i wasn't gone for more than 30 seconds. when i came back into my boudoir, this is what i saw: the baby was still on the bed. but now she was on her back. and she had managed to reach a big pillow and pull it down over her face. her little legs were kicking like crazy. SHE WAS SUFFOCATING HERSELF! jesus!

look, i fully expect her at some point to roll off the bed accidentally or torment a cat until it claws off her ear. i never expected her to try to just off herself! but there it is: my baby has a deathwish! if i had lingered in front of the mirror with my handsome self as long as i usually do, she would have totally done herself in. "goodbye cruel world! not for me your mushy carrots and puffy little snow suits. remember me to mother ... " when i removed the pillow she had clutched to her face, she was flushed and panting.

and she looked like she had been having a good time! this is perhaps the most distressing part of all: i suspect she's a little thrill seeker. i mean, the easiest way to get her to giggle is to throw her waaay up in the air or to pretend to drop her or to attack her with a giant stuffed animal/monster or to just flat out scare the shit out of her ("BOO!") -- seven months old and already she likes the rough stuff. so help me god, it's going to kill me before it does her.


Blogger zoe said...

Oh you lucky sumbeech! Mine has decided he *has* to stand now. Do you know how many pointy objects stand in the way of a baby learning to stand?

....and yes, he's fallen off the bed.

Your suicidal baby is going to start getting *very* inventive *very* soon

zoe-mom to bounce who is a week away from turning 7m

12/21/2005 9:15 AM  
Anonymous lil said...

I can't even keep a cactus alive. Even when I lived in California.

12/21/2005 9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have just described my 7-month old daughter. Although she prefers a balled up blanket pressed to her face to end it all. And she likes to roll around everywhere (i.e. under chairs, under Christmas tree, onto floor level shelves of the bookcase). Ah, those sweet stationary days. I miss them.

12/21/2005 10:29 AM  
Anonymous Meredith said...

Those pillows man. There is nothing my 11 month loves more than having pillows dropped on him from about 4 feet up. He laughs and laughs and screams with delight. My husband also uses 2 pillows to make a little fort for my son and then plays a little game of peekaboo while the tyke tries to suffocate himself with glee. These thrill seekers...

12/21/2005 12:59 PM  
Blogger birthfree said...

:howling with laughter:
Oh my god... that is so hillarious!
Got a spare key made yet?

12/21/2005 1:00 PM  
Anonymous Dutch said...

"post-apocalyptic ben hur. . ."

you're lucky she didn't come at you like Kurt Russell with an eyepatch. I'll take Charleton Heston in a toga over Kurt Russell with an eyepatch any day.

12/21/2005 1:23 PM  
Blogger Candace said...

I locked my infant son in the car twice: once in winter, once in summer.

The same child fell off the bed *and* the changing table.

My daughter fell out of her crib whilst trying to escape from it.

And they both LOVE the being scared and the near-death experiences.

God help us all....

12/21/2005 2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least your it didn't happen while your wife was in Manhattan AND it was the @#$@^&! transit strike.

12/21/2005 8:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, just wait 'til she gets older and she can lock YOU out of the car. Fun, fun, fun. Assuming they survive their suicial babyhood, they eventually get old enough to insist on other "death toys"--skateboard, snowboard, rollerblades, motor bikes, rattletrap cars o' certain fatality .... My advice: lay in a good supply of Scotch. You're goin' be wantin' more than one hit, laddie.
--RLR :-)

12/21/2005 8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funniest post I've read today.

I'm so glad you all survived.

12/22/2005 1:20 AM  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Babies under the age of, oh, 15 to 24 months? I call them "Walking (or crawling or toddling) Deathwishes." The fact that any child on this planet lives to see their second birthday is testament to the devoted care of the adults around them.

She's still alive? You're doing your job, dad!

12/22/2005 8:36 AM  
Anonymous Ed Bacchus said...

Before my son was this happened to us. My wife got to the apartment first and freaked me out with a frantic cell phone call stating that there must be someone in the house. We had a deadbolt lock that could only be locked/unlocked from the inside. We called the police and they came and looked around and suggested we get the apartment complex to break a back window so we could get it. We learned it was the cat who figure out that he could climb up on the couch and flip the lock with his paw. He thought it was something to play with. We had the deadbolt moved up higher so it wouldn't happen again.

For this reason, I wont take out the trash without taking my keys if it's only me and Bacchus Jr. in the house. Glad this worked out well for you.

12/22/2005 1:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG....THAT WAS ABSOLUTELY HILARIOUS! On top of the cab, Ben Hur!!!!!!!!!!!! Genius!. Thanks for the much needed laugh today.

12/22/2005 7:42 PM  
Blogger nancytoby said...

Too funny! How did the little shits ever survive back when they were cave babies?

Oh, no soft pillows, I guess. And no locks.

Probably no scotch, either. :-(

12/22/2005 7:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

....i should tell you the story about how my 13 month old son locked grandma out of the house. you just thought that was an innocent look.

12/22/2005 8:35 PM  
Blogger cluelesscarolinagirl said...

Both of my kids flung themselves headfirst off of the bed the first week home from China.

Good God, I didn't think it was *THAT* bad around here!!

12/26/2005 12:46 AM  

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