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Friday, September 30, 2005

quite possibly this blog's last entry ever!

readers! dear, furry woodland readers! i fear that tonight may be the last night you ever hear from your beloved mr nice guy. alas!

why!? you are asking. what could possibly bring mr nice guy to an end?

i will tell you.

mr nice guy recently became a proud member of the zipcar family. seeing as how the nice guys need wheels one day every, say, four months, it seemed an economical way to have access to a vehicle without being assraped by some rental car agency (just $60 a day? sign me up!). and so, when a friend of mrs nice guy's invited us to her parent's beach house for the day, we knew it was time to pop our zipcherry. tomorrow -- glorious tomorrow! -- is my first day as a zipcar driver.

freedom! rubber and road! pushing tin! 80 glorious mph with the windows open and dizzying jersey fumes wafting into the cabin! born to be wild, motherfucker! BOOYA!

ahem. and yet. tapping some latent kerouacian proclivity is most likely not why i may vanish from the cybernet tomorrow. nah. i have a mortgage. easy access to a fly whip is not going disappear me from the interweb. no. it is because of this: i will wake up be woken at 6 am and i will go to the zipcar parking spot 9 blocks from my home and i will pack my family into a sweet, sweet zipcar ... the toyota matrix mort wagon.

readers. i shit you not: mort wagon. jesus. this might outrank the chevy nova on the list of what-were-they-smoking car names. for it seems tomorrow i will willingly (hell, i will even pay for the privilege -- a mere $60 a day) get into the driver's seat of a toyota DEATH WAGON.

so when the cops find the smoldering remains of my family scattered across two states on the turnpike, do not be surprised. do not weep for mr nice guy; he should have known better than to take the cheapest zipcar available (definitely curse the evil swiss bastards at zipcar, though, then clench your teeth and shake your fist in the air). shed a little tear for the baby, fine, but she's not as innocent as she looks and we were going to eat her anyway. when you are done with all that, do this: consider sending gallons upon gallons of sinfully smoky Laphroaig to my house, to somberly mark the violent passing of your homie and his kin. hell send 'em anyway. or send money, whatever. then light a wee candle for this website, which was always a truly great website trapped inside the body of a truly not-great website.

be strong, readers. be strong. cheers.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


the last thing this baby needs is more laser treatments. too bad for her! today we took her for her fourth and not-quite-final installment of hemangioma zappage. (i believe i have blogged treatments one and two.)

the debate, you'll recall, was fierce. in the end, i ceded to mrs nice guy's demands that the benign tumor be attacked with a laser, even though said tumor is temporary, both because it could have potentially impeded her breathing and because i ultimately do everything mrs nice guy tells me to do.

the treatments have been going great. the nose is still a wee bit bulbous and purplish. but after each zap session, the color starts to dissipate and the swelling goes down. the laser "surgery" itself is always quick: the doctor storms in efficiently with a bevy of nurses (he is apparently one of the best private laser surgeons in new york city, which is perhaps why all his nurses and interns are lovely, lovely young ladies). donning protective eyewear, one nurse and i hold the baby down on the table; another nurse places gauze over the baby's eyes. then the doc leans in with a laser device that looks like a really fancy pen. he places the tip of the laser-pen on the baby's schnozzle, sparks shoot out here, they shoot out there, and then he's done.

this is not to say that the baby is thrilled with her treatments. sure, the hemangioma is receding, mom and dad are happy and the baby can breathe. but! she is a sneaky little critter with her own little avenues of revenge. after today's laser zappery (which, we are told, feels like a rubber band snapping on bare skin -- not totally pain-free, but not exactly being disemboweled alive), mrs nice guy took the kid into another room to nurse her with her all-powerful breasts. the baby ate. the baby was soothed. the tears dried. then the baby smiled! with her little blackened nose, she looked helplessly pathetic and adorable. and yes! she still loved us! she even giggled at me!

then she looked right into my eyes and took the biggest crap of her short life. mustard babyshit (or, as i call it, musturd) was everywhere -- up over the back of her diaper, all over her pants. we changed her right there, mrs nice guy and i managing to smear shit all over each other. with the diaper off and musturd all over the examining table, the baby decided there could be no better time to urinate, squirming all the while and mixing the sludge into a hideous toxic cocktail.

we cleaned her up as best we could. then as i cradled the baby, telling her how well she did during her laser treatment, she looked up at me and smiled again! she still loved me! then she puked vibrant white baby barf all over my red shirt. with jeans on, i looked very patriotic. then my lovely wife went back to work and i boarded the subway with the incredible excreting machine only to be accosted by well-meaning dipshits.

a note to new york city subway riders: when you see a tired, vaguely sad, turd-bestained fellow riding a brooklyn-bound train wearing a baby strapped to his chest, please please please DO NOT lean in and say: "oooh. what a cute baby! WHAT HAPPENED TO HER NOSE?" he does not know how long he can go on suppressing the unbearable urge to kick you, full force, in your reproductive organ.

here are some answers that will in the future, perhaps, shut down the overly-curious stranger:

  • "she was crying and wouldn't sleep so i punched her."
  • "she has face-cancer and three days to live."
  • "what happened to her nose? more like, what happened to your ugly fucking face?"
  • "i was teaching her how to smoke and she caught on fire. stupid baby."
  • look down at her and start screaming: "OMIGOD! HER NOSE IS TURNING BLACK! SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP MY BABY!"
  • "eh?! me no speakee dipshit."
  • "we got her a nose job for her four-month birthday!"
  • "they taste better blackened."

Monday, September 26, 2005

injecting foreign fluids into my pinhead baby

sorry sorry sorry for the down time -- mr nice guy has been unplugged, bereft of internets, for lo these three-plus days and it has hurt me more than it has hurt you. damn you time warner! damn you straight to hell!

but! like mike tyson i am back despite my better judgment and the advice of my peers. much has happened in the intervening days, dear sweet readers: the child had her second round of shots; she had her first solid food; i was forced to go nearly four days without porn. you see, there is much catching up to do.

let's start with the shots! last week mrs nice guy and i took the kid to her vet and the vet said "time for more shots" and we said "you're the boss." and you know what? i have no idea what she injected into my child. i just blindly agreed and said "shoot 'er up" and the vet took out a quiver of needles and proceeded to administer shot after shot after shot after shot. i lost track after 38. for all i know shot #2 was battery acid, shot #8 was drano and shot #19 was special k. inoculated? no clue. i am the best parent ever.

the interesting thing here, though, is that we switched tactics. last time the kid went to the vet she got four shots (if i am not mistaken: hardwood floor cleaner, white out, toilet water and acid rain) and she SCREAMED. this time mrs nice guy had the brilliant idea of nursing during the shots. the difference was uncanny! my wife's omnipotent healing breasts kept the baby totally distracted for the duration of the shots. i think the kid flinched a little when the vet injected the liquid nitrogen, but i couldn't tell for i too was mesmerized by the boobs. sweet, life-preserving boobs.

anyway. i was impressed. the mammarial panacea did its trick. (next time i stub my toe i know exactly what i'm going to do.) as we were leaving, the vet gave us a little fact sheet about our baby. the interesting stats: for her age she is in the 75th percentile for weight and 69th percentile for height. an above normal kid! tall and chubby and very healthy! sweet. the harder news to swallow: her head circumference is in ... the fourth percentile. oy! this means that only three percent of all four-month-old babies have a smaller head than hers. my baby is a pinhead. a tiny-skulled freak. if ever there was any dispute she was mine, it has now been dispelled.

on to other news! the vet told us to starting thinking about introducing solid food. yikes! since the baby had, for reasons she failed to communicate to us, resumed waking up screaming at four every morning, we thought solids might help weigh her down for an additional two hours of sleep. sweet, life-preserving sleep. so. solids. where to start? what would be a good introduction to solid food? like your last meal, i suspect you want your first meal to be special: steak? jambalaya? baba ganoush? guess again! true, yesterday she ate solids for the first time. but by "solids" i of course mean a tablespoon of single grain rice cereal thoroughly dissolved in breast milk. still, it was served in a bowl with a plastic spoon we bought at target earlier that day.

the baby, who was mostly unclear on the concept and demanding to know exactly how the tits figured into all this, ended up wearing more cereal than she ate, which suits me just fine. it was cute. got some good pictures. also, like the vaccinations, i am not entirely sure what we were putting into her body. reading the ingredients on the box didn't help either: niacinamide? sounds like a delicious, dessert-flavored suicide tablet. pyrodoxine hydrochloride? don't rich folks use that to clean their swimming pools? i suspect the gruel was largely harmless, made of bone ash from the local animal shelter, for calcium, and silt to thicken it up. so she ate it sloppily like a big girl who loves her sleep-inducing pyrodoxine hydrochloride. and then she conked out for her first full-night of sleep in days. ah. sweet, life-preserving pyrodoxine hydrochloride.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


my goodness the excersauser struck a chord! thanks for y'all's input. i definitely look forward to the day she is less of a soft, floppy fish and can actually enjoy it as it's meant to be enjoyed -- for the moment, she just stares at and drools on it. of course, she may not live long enough to enjoy the excersauser as it is meant to be enjoyed. i fear she is an endangered species.

don't get me wrong, please. she is not an endangered species because i would willingly harm her. no. she is endangered because i unwillingly put her in harm's way. all the time. oh, the examples are myriad. last week i sat her up and she GRINNED like she wanted to show you this new sitting thing she created. she sat there like katharine hepburn: gorgeous and wobbly. then she flopped backwards and SMASHED her paper skull into the ground. granted there was a rug and a towel between her smushy head and the hardwood floor, but still: she screamed. she actually spoke, i swear to buddah, and said: JESUS CHRIST! MY FATHER IS TRYING TO KILL ME! ARREST THIS MAN AND PUT HIM IN A CELL WHERE HE WILL BE RAPED AND THEN SHIVVED.

anyway, i have not been arrested. yet. but i probably should be arrested (and NOT for that little extortion deal i scored in atlantic city last fall. that was totally mutually beneficial). no, i should be incarcirated incarserated locked up for putting my tiny baby in harm's way for no good reason ... repeatedly.

take this sunday for example. the nice guys went to brunch at a friend's house in redhook. it was my duty to bring all the fixin's for bloody marys (maries?). mrs nice guy was to bring fruit salad. this friend, we'll call her gertrude, had just moved into her lovely apartment near the water (and not the subway) the week prior. when we showed up, with vodka and tomato juice and baby and fruit salad, in no particular order, gertrude was just pulling bacon out of the oven.

yes, that's right, she made bacon in the oven.

i, personally, had never seen bacon made in an oven before. and, it would seem, the oven had never seen it before either, because the oven, which had survived 600 cruel brooklyn winters, decided at the moment of our entrance to CATCH ON FIRE AND BURN THE APARTMENT DOWN WITH EVERYTHING IN IT INCLUDING THE BABY AND MY WIFE AND THE VODKA, in no particular order.

people, do you understand? gertrude's house caught on fire! this was my sunday morning! here it is in slow motion: we show up. we hand her the baby. gertrude walks into her bedroom with my wife and my baby. my miscreant friends and i are left alone in the kitchen to mix cocktails. then. then! then, the oven begins to breathe hot heaving breaths of baby-murdering grease-fire into the house. smoke fills the kitchen. one friend suggests opening the oven and throwing water in it. another friend wants to keep it closed. i begin to feel the heat of the flames melting my eyes. black death-smoke billows forth. slowly, it dawns on me that the oven, which is on fire in a way that ovens are not usually on fire, lies directly between ME and MY WIFE and MY CHILD (and several of MY DVDS THAT GERTRUDE HAD BORROWED AND NEVER RETURNED). so, i do the natural thing: i start crying. while gertrude calls the fire dept., i selflessly put my body into harm's way. i run into the bedroom to assemble my wife, child and dvds, in no particular order, grab the vodka and usher everything out of the apartment. sure this all sounds very bruce willis of me, but since this is my blog i am conveniently leaving out the part where i soiled myself repeatedly.

we run outside. it is interesting to note how many of my degenerate friends evacuated the apartment with drinks in hand. the fire department comes and shuts down the entire block in 3 sweaty, manly seconds. firemen with big axes beat on the doors of gertrude's neighbors, eager to swing their heavy instruments. the captain runs upstairs, ascending four of them at a time, as gertrude's various female guests (and sundry passers by) oggle beefy firemen unfurling their massive hoses. and then ... the group sex! no. nothing happens. the oven fire had extinguished itself.

after new york's finest stopped laughing at us and left, we let the smoke clear out of gertrude's apartment and retreated, tails between legs, back inside. it was gomorrah: we spoke not of the conflagration. we ate the delicious oven-destroying bacon. we drank powerful cocktails and debated which fireman had the most impressive equipment. we hugged our babies just a little bit tighter. in no particular order.

UPDATE! the votes are in! attention brooklyn firemen: apparently there is one among you who goes by the name of "KEANE." you, sir, have been proclaimed "mostly likely to have started the fire yourself, you're so hot" by my brunching ladyfriends. maseltov.

also, sorry for the silence around these parts. i have had no access to interweb for three looong days. am back and ready to rumble now, though.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

an excersause in futility

my upstairs neighbor is very sweet. she is french and speaks at an ear-splintering audible-from-12-miles-away high french pitch ("BONJOUR, MEESTAIR NASS GAH! 'OW EEZ BEBE?!") and has a 16 month old adopted little mexican girl who is just about the most beautiful person i have ever seen. anyway, since french neighborlady has a daughter who is several months older than ours, every few weeks we find a big sack of shmancy european baby clothes, which, i must admit, totally kick american baby clothes' asses. we have the styliest hand-me-down baby in brooklyn. no joke.

the other day as i was coming home from a stroll with le bebe, i chanced upon french neighborlady ("O, LA PETITE! CA VA, MINOU?!"). she was just getting home with her nonfrench husband, her little girl and her 6-year-old tasmanian devilboy -- let us all pause right here and praise allah that the nice guys did not have a boy -- and she said DO YOU WAHNT OUR EXCERSAUCER? SHE EES TOO BEEG FOR EET NOW AND WE WILL JUST TROW EET AWAY EEF YOU DONWANT EET. so, figuring as she is french and stylie and she has given us french stylie babyclothes, i said "we would love to take the excersaucer off your hands. thank you."

and i went up to their apartment with them and i waited as her husband disappeared into the background only to reemerge with ... the most hideous chunk of plastic ever found in a Fisher Price factory-reject outlet. look at this (and please try not to sue me if you go blind):

sadly, those are the actual colors. i mean, i don't know whether to start with the medieval theme (turrets? a little plastic king and queen? a transparent evil court jester head, what the fuck?) or the seat, tastefully lined in a purple, orange, red, green, yellow and blue harlequin pattern. it looks like someone went to ye olde renaissance faire, drank too much mead and barfed up the leggos they had eaten for lunch. and it's HUGE. it easily takes up one-tenth of our apartment.

now this is a particularly egregious example, but it cements in my mind an awful, awful truth: baby toys are heinous. why, i ask you, are baby toys so heinous? our apartment, done in understated late-century IKEA, is gradually being overrun by bulky, chunky plastic crap, largely in bold primary colors. why? does it have to be this way? a hundred years ago, babies had beautiful, hand-crafted wood toys. now? we have offensively-colored mass-produced molded carcinogens. our apartment is small, otherwise we could keep all the heinous baby crap exiled to some remote corner of our place, but as it is, with barely 850 square feet to our name, we are losing the battle. there is no remote corner. just ask our cats, who live in terror of the day the baby realizes they exist.

and you know what's more depressing than slowly drowning in a sea of cheap plastic blue-and-white garbage? the baby, she just loves her excersaucer.

Friday, September 16, 2005

a lost opportunity

seeing as how it is largely off topic for this particular blog, i didn't want to have to comment on the confirmation hearing of SCOTUS nominee john roberts. but after four days of senatorial silence on this pressing issue, i feel the need to ask the question here:
Judge Roberts, would you seek to overturn the action-packed precedent set in the case of Alien v. Predator?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

well what did you expect?

well played, jodi kantor of the new york times. well played.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

deadly seizuring teeth of paralysis and death

let's pay a visit to a book that has been consistently pissing me off since my daughter was born, shall we? it's called Your Baby's First Year Week by Week, and it has been consistently pissing me off. it's actually a pretty good book. very clever premise. some decent info in there. and yet it pisses me off. consistently. i will not go into major organizational shortcomings here, but our child turns 18 weeks old tomorrow, meaning that for now she is in her 18th week, right? let's take a look at the chapter called "Week 18," specifically the "Milestones this 18th Week" section:

  • baby "brings feet to mouth; may suck toes." i am fairly confident she would suck mine if i shoved them in her face. but her toes have never come closer than 22 inches from her mouth.
  • baby "can squeal, grunt and make a 'raspberry' sound." i don't know if it qualifies as a raspberry sound, but she has discovered the consonant. she sits there going "gggiiiihhh. ggggiiiiiiiihhhhh." which is both cute and alarming. i am not entirely convinced that she isn't drowning in her own drool.
  • "your baby is probably rolling over from front to back fairly easily by now." nope.
ok, so she isn't quite up to speed for the average 18 week old. let's check out "Milestones this 17th Week" to see if she's accomplished that which she ought to have accomplished a week ago:

  • baby "may make swimming motions, resulting in moving around in her crib." check
  • "can distinguish between smells." and yet she doesn't seem to complain when i bring her into the bathroom for some early toilet training. i am using the teach-by-example method; i show her by doing--i even give her a little tiny newspaper for herself. you have any better ideas on how to monitor her and not have my colon explode after my ninth cup of coffee?
  • "is interested in making new sounds." it's true: she's moved on from screaming and is working on perfecting the droning, insistent, incessant whine.
  • "may interrupt feedings with play." yes. she has this fun game she invented called "choking on milk."

maybe she's ahead of the game on some things? week 19's "milestones":

  • "likes to play at mealtime." what? again? are you beginning to see why this book pisses me off?
anyway, the reason i consulted the book today is because i suspect she may have begun teething. so i open up to page 222, and lo, one of the current milestones: Teething may begin soon.

all the warning signs are there. this freakin' kid can certainly drool, no doubt about it. she also just loves to chomp away on my finger, as if it were made out of nipples and chocolate. i walk around with her in the bjorn, not getting hit on by women, my finger in her mouth as she gnaws at, and drools away all over, it. and she also drools all down the front of her bjorn -- within five minutes of every walk there is a spreading stain down her front side, like a seeping chest wound. so there she goes, grinning, drooling, finger-gnawing, arm-flapping: she is the world's tiniest bonkers insane lady. when she's on the changing table, i'll bend over to give her a little kiss on the cheek. her eyes will flash with intense glee. aw, you think, how cute. but! then she will lunge at my face. she tries to bite me! like a cornered feral cat, she lashes at me with her fleshy, drooly mouth, scratching at my eyes with her impossibly-fast-growing nails! she is insane, i tell you. she also tends to cry for no damn reason these days. but that's nothing new. so, fine. let's say she's teething. what now?

"During the last century, teething was considered to be the leading cause of infant mortality. Most serious symptoms of that age group (including seizures and infantile paralysis) were blamed on teething." --
holy crap! my poor child. i was just getting used to her, too.

now. why is it that paralyzed, seizuring and/or dead babies are patently unfunny AND YET the thought of babies being assassinated by their own teeth is just absolutely hilarious? can you explain that? who knew teething could be so dangerous? i am thinking of buying her a little tiny football helmet and mouth guard, just to help her through this difficult time. think that'll make her look less bonkers?

Monday, September 12, 2005

four months of fatherhood: the lessons (more or less) learned

today baby nice guy turns four months old (well, actually, 17.5 weeks but she was born on may 12, so ...). yesterday, on sept 11, the nice guys went to a picnic thrown by our fantabulous midwives: they had a very busy summer, apparently, as there were no fewer than 3,699,037 babies that they delivered flopping around in prospect park with their parents. it was a lovely affair: semi-crunchy young moms and dads abounded. borderline unhealthy foods were being consumed with gusto. there was quite a bit of talk about barfing and defecation and sleeping. so, actually, it was a lot like college. only with more breastfeeding.

four years ago mrs nice guy and i were unwed, living in sin AND in boston, which is a sin itself, so we were living in sin-squared. since 9/11 we have gotten married, moved to new york (there's that hubris again), gotten shmancy jobs, bought an apartment in the nastiest apartment-buying-environment-ever (hubris, anyone?), and made a tiny, screaming, non-napping infant. we're absurdly blessed. life, despite how wisp-thin we're constantly reminded it is, goes on.

so, yes. four months of fatherhood. what i have learned about myself in the past four years has been sobering in itself, but these past 17.5 weeks have been eye-opening on an entirely different level. feel like learning everything you didn't want to know about yourself? have a kid.

honestly? i still don't feel like a dad. i see toddlers, walking and sort-of-talking, and i think you mean my kid is going to turn into that? my barfing non-napping lunatic? i feel more like the proud owner of some rare pet: a wild drooling hairless north american simian dwarf. she's cute, but a human? you have yet to convince me.

anyway, here, in four-part harmony, is a brief breakdown of what mr nice guy now knows about himself, whether he likes it or not, thanks to a tiny, unfurry chimpchild:

  • when you wake up every day at 5:30 am, it makes total sense to be drinking your first beer by 10.
  • a person who weighs less than 20 pounds can send me into such paroxysms of rage that i (a tiny-penis-having, card-carrying, junior flyweight pussy) am seriously considering joining an illegal kickboxing fight club in some chinatown back alley somewhere. must. punch. something.
  • i am capable of growing some really beautiful sideburns.
  • this same hairless chimp that throws me into apoplectic fits of fury is also capable turning me into its dancing, clapping, imbecilic noise-making bitch in my pathetic, dehumanizing attempts to coax a smile onto her unbearably cute face.
  • my wife's tits are so powerful that they can sustain life for months at a time! i knew they were impressive and all, but this child has put nothing into her body for her entire life that hasn't come out of mrs nice guy's recently-ample bosom. it seems i have underestimated her strength.
  • you have to give them credit: babies really know how to barf it up.
  • apparently i will never get eight consecutive hours of sleep again, and you know what? the hallucinations i have been enjoying lately are beginning to suggest that 4-5 hours every night just doesn't quite cut it. something has got to give and since i let go of my sanity weeks ago, i am terrified to learn what that will be.
  • watching a baby take a giant, gurgling, earth-rumbling dump just never ceases to be funny ...
  • ... until it leaks through her diaper and gets all over your sheets ...
  • ... and even then, it's still pretty funny.
  • drinking alone at home is almost just as fun as going to a bar with my friends. ok, that was a lie.
  • attempting to make sweet, sweet love to one's spouse while one's baby is screaming in the other room because she woke up sooner than she should have is stressful. also: it actually is possible to be too tired for sex (ok, seriously, someone please kill me right now).
  • it turns out i am exactly the type of psychopath who will walk up to you and your baby on the street and try to strike up a conversation by saying something deranged like "oooh, isn't he handsome" because, obviously, we are the only two people on earth who have ever procreated ever.
  • even though my head totally feels like it will explode if i have one more cup of coffee today, it actually won't.
  • i would never have guessed that i am perfectly capable of killing someone for merely breathing wrong on an infant. and yet there it is.
  • i really care about my baby's naps. remind me: why do i really care about naps?
  • i CANNOT WAIT until this child is 13-years-old and mortified that she sprung from our loins. there are untold joys waiting for me in those days when i can utterly embarrass my daughter just by wearing the wrong shirt or telling some dumb joke. oh sweet, sweet revenge, thou shall be mine in spades!

i grow weary of this exercise. you get the point. fatherhood is fun. and hard. and ennobling. and drunk. i recommend it. in fact, you can have my daughter. haha! joking! no you can't.

yes, actually, you can.

no you can't!

roll over accomplished

guess who rolled over ALL BY HERSELF today. she's a sneaky little critter, this kid. apparently, instead of napping, these past few days she has been training for world domination. i've been leaving her in her crib for prescribed nap times and she has, more or less, dozed off and been quiet. now i know why. away from prying eyes, she is engaging in babyrobics. (already, we've found her in the mornings, rotated 90 degrees from where we laid her.)

well, this morning she kicked it up a notch. at 9 i put her down (shhh, on her stomach) good and tuckered out. half an hour later i peaked in on her and she was awake, still on her stomach, but with her butt in the air. she was wriggling around, bunching her legs under her like an inchworm. another 10 minutes later, i peaked peeked again and she was on her SIDE! like a turtle on her back, though, she appeared flummoxed as to what her next move could possibly be. hopeless. or so it seemed. i stepped away for a few minutes more and when i checked again she was ON HER BACK. i guess she has been reading this blog surreptitiously and has been shamed into performing. good for her.

one thing is clear, however: we the people are all doomed.

Friday, September 09, 2005

roll another one, just like the other one

speaking of neighbors, the couple two doors down from us had a baby about 12 days before we had ours. very sweet. mrs nice guy and i had visions of becoming their best friends: having clambakes together, going on vacation, strolling through prospect park, hosting key parties. they invited us over to a little soiree not long after they moved in, when everyone was pregnant, giddy and glowing ... and we haven't been invited back. they ably deflect all invitations to our home. ("why don't we wait until things settle down after the babies are born." "we have guests this weekend." "oh we're going to our beach house for a month.")

right. moments before they departed for said beach house, i was talking to the dad. mind you, this was a month ago AND, his daughter is only 12 days older than mine:

mr nice guy: how's the baby?
neighbor dad: oh great. her new thing is rolling over. we put her on the bed and she just flops around.
mr nice guy: really? rolling over? already?
neighbor dad: yeah. she's mastered left-to-right, but not right-to-left. she'll get it soon enough though.
mr nice guy: oh. our baby has mastered drooling.

so by now, a month later, surely the bambino should be rolling over, right? the fear-mongers at "what to expect" seem to think so. the touchpoints people too. ah. but our child apparently has other plans ... plans that largely involve not napping either.

we do fool ourselves, though: we put her on her back, on the rug, and place a toy to her left. then we grab her right hand and gently drag it across the front of her body. "look at the toy! don't you want to roll over to get your toy?" eventually, we have tugged her arm enough and she flops onto her side. "LOOK WHO ROLLED OVER!" we shout in glee, with a vehemence that fails utterly to conceal our shame (even though, let's face it, the longer she remains immobile, the better for everyone) .

we also give her lots of "tummy time," an expression that never ceases to give me the jeebles. she lies there on her stomach, grunts, wiggles and, it would seem, practises her breaststroke. she may not roll over, but i am pretty sure she could swim the damn english channel.

you know what? i think i just figured out her master plan. she is a devious little shit, she is. she thinks she's sooo clever, but i made her, so i know how she thinks: she is waiting for the next time we manually her roll over. as we congratulate ourselves for having such a talented daughter, we will be too distracted to notice that she has generated enough drool to swim away. sweet escape!

where will she go? how far will she swim? that's easy: to the neighbors, two doors down, who are obviously much better parents. and own a beach house.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

outnumbered by severely bitter, yet somehow terrifyingly capable, moms

unless i am completely delusional (not totally impossible), i think i've got a good hang of this whole stay-at-home-weeping-while-your-child-refuses-to-nap-then-drink-scotch-at-3-pm fatherhood thing. i got it down, more or less. gotten more zen on the whole napping front, seeing as how she sleeps through the night and i can't really complain. my sideburns are supremely bitchin'. wearing the bjorn no longer makes me feel all leprous. all's good.

every now and then, when the child and i are returning from an afternoon strolling through the neighborhood, chilling in the park or, mostly, carousing at the local public house, we will run into a neighbor. (a word about the hood: it has been overtaken by the stay-at-home zombiemom. stepford's got nothing on the ladies of park slope: the bugaboo strollers, the coffee klatches at tea lounge, the dark social dance of the playground, small talk teeming with ill-concealed envy, intrigue and treachery.) so when the kidlet and i return from a stroll we will invariably encounter one of these odd ducks -- all brittle smiles -- and they will ask me, "so how's it going? how are you handling staying at home?"

it's clear that they want me to crack. they want me, the dad, to fail. they are rooting against me, all of them. maybe, just maybe, they are jealous because their own loveless husbands would never dream to stay home (personally, i like this interpretation). mostly i can tell they want me to confide, to crumble, to shake my disheveled head and cry "she won't nap, she always cries, she doesn't like her bottle!" and they will gleefully reply: "babies, what can you do?" never! i will not give them the satisfaction of seeing me play into that tired old hapless-dad meme. that will only happen behind closed doors, when mrs nice guy returns from work to find me in the storage closet, naked and drunk in the fetal position, sobbing quietly. publicly, however, life is good. granted, since i refuse to commiserate, i just don't have any momfriends. thank goodness for dear old jim beam. he's always there for me.

ok, fine, i will cop to one dad shortcoming. i don't know if this is a gender thing or not, but here it is: the moms all know how to dress their kids impeccably. my wife included. me? i cannot even dress myself without multiple attempts and focus groups, and even then i usually end up leaving the house looking like some dishonorably discharged soldier of the salvation army. example: yesterday i put my daughter in an adorable violet onesie. but then i wondered, what now? a dress? overalls? shorts? jeans? i tried a pair of orange shorts. she looked like benny, the retarded office worker in LA Law. fine. i tried a denim overall-dress. she looked like a lunatic baby, the tiniest neighborhood cat lady. fine. jeans? she looked like a fat german tourist. gah! by now she was crying because i kept putting clothes on her and then taking them off. finally i went with a tried-and-true matching top and bottom. my new strategy: keep her naked as much as possible. if venturing outside, just dress her in something practical. don't try to get creative.

the next time i run into an overzealous neighbor acting impossibly interested in my doomed dadhood, i will tell her the truth: "oh, she's fine, but she hates her burlap loincloth. her skin 'chafes' and 'bleeds.' she cries all day. babies, what can you do?"

Monday, September 05, 2005

the summer wind came blowin' in ...

"His life was not particularly eventful, but he had had a couple of nice escapes from a fate less tame than the draft in a London hospital, which killed him in 1927."
so writes vladimir nabokov about his uncle konstantin, who served in the diplomatic corps. sadly, if my daughter should succumb this week, she won't even have lived long enough to have a couple of nice escapes to her name.

yesterday was so lovely, so temperate, so beautiful that we turned off the AC and flung open the windows. "let the breezes blow through our humble home," we shouted! and we danced in the late summer wind! we laughed and drank mead!

then we went to bed, with all the doors and windows flung open. ah how nice it was to sleep with a carressing draft. oh to be warm and snug in our beds as a gentle draft caresses our cheeks. ah, but! it turns out someone, who i shall not name but whose name is mrs nice guy, put the baby down in her crib last night wearing a sleeveless onesie and then ... DIDN'T PUT ANY COVERS ON HER.

everyone within a five mile radius was woken up at 7 this morning to the shrieking, enraged howls of our daughter ... who probably only slept so late because the drop in temperature had slowed the flow of blood to her tiny brain. the kidsicle was frozen solid, her little icy paws too cold to even touch. the frost that had settled upon her downy head made her hair all crunchy (ok, that detail was exaggeration for effect, but you get what i'm saying here: the baby was COLD and she was PISSED).

so yeah. now i feel like we are just waiting for the child to come down with west nile avian pneumonia, making us hate ourselves for all eternity. already we feel as bad as if we had left her overnight in the subzero meat locker at sam the butcher's. the self-loathing around here is not a pretty thing to behold.

mrs nice guy: i feel like the worst mother ever right now.
mr nice guy, secretly praising jesus that, for once, it was not his fault: oh sweetie, that's because you are.

if no updates are forthcoming, it can only mean that we have hanged ourselves ... and not in the saucy michael hutchence accidental auto-erotic asphyxiation sort of way either.

UPDATE! i stand corrected, by my own mater nice guy no less. "the final word in this tragic story" ... ? we shall see, mater nice guy. we shall see.

new orleans, 15 things

Saturday, September 03, 2005

snot fair!

ugh. people mr nice guy normally prides himself on his robust immune system. do you know how often i get sick? no? a little secret people: I DON'T GET SICK. it just doesn't happen. sorry to break it to you. the first year that we were living together in sin, mrs nice guy must have gotten sick 35 times to my ZERO. but i am that special type of loathsome person: a carrier. all kinds of diseases and illnesses glom on to me daily, like burrs in the wilderness that cling to your socks in hopes of having their seedy cores carried to fertile ground, the diseases i come in contact with merely use me as a vessel. they wait until i introduce them to some weaker mortal. and i always do: my long sniffling bride.

but, the cruel gods of disease and discomfort have finally found a fatal loophole. allergies. FUCK! for the past three days my nose has been running like a barefoot kenyan. i have single-handedly seen to it that the Kleenex corporation will far surpass its profit projections for this quarter: my head weighs 80 lbs, packed ear-to-ear with snot. my right eye feels like it's about to pop right out of my skull. i can't sleep. i hope loogies are low-fat because i have swallowed at least eight gallons of this stuff so far. i do not feel ill, mind you, just phlegmtastic.

i can't be more than 100 yards from a napkin, or else i must wipe my nose on my shirt, as i did all morning. my sleeves are stiff now. crusty. just yesterday as i was putting the Amazing Recalcitrant Napless Anti-Aircraft Siren down for a mid-afternoon snooze (oh the hubris!), i leaned over her crib and pet her head. it was that crucial moment where her eyes were getting all droopy and she was seriously considering the possibility of sleep -- i can't tell you the sheer terror of these moments, when she's in her crib and her eyes have just closed and you think your work is done. why, that's the exact moment she flings her eyes open and decides NOW would be a good time to start levitating while channeling axl rose. anyway. i was leaning over the crib, stroking her moist head (our baby sweats a lot; kinda awesome), holding her pacifier in place with the other hand and making womblike shushing noises. basically she's only four months old and already i am totally her bitch. there i am leaning over her, stroking, cooing ... and what should happen? as her eyes are beginning to droop, i feel the slightest tickle in my left nostril.

oh shit, i think. about to spring a leak.

leaving the crib now is Not an Option. nappus interruptus has been proven to be the leading cause of convulsive babyrage seizures. so i am hovering over her, both hands in use and the tiniest trickle of watery snot begins to work its way through sinus tributaries behind my eyes, down into the nose. i can feel the progression of the mucus as i stand there, paralyzed. if i move, the child wakes. if i don't, i leak poppasnot all over her head. what to do?

it all happens in slow motion: just as the transparent blob of slime slurps from my nostril, the baby's eyes close! perfect! i stand up swiftly to change the trajectory of my excretion. but i see the snot drop quiver. it spirals downward like a plane-dropped bomb and i cringe. will it hit her? will she wake up? have i just given her syphilis (i don't feel like i have syphilis, but as i mentioned before i am an able-bodied carrier of terrible cooties, so you never know)? as it spun downward i held my breath. please don't hit my slumbering child -- not because i don't want to smear my infectious diseased snot all over her (hell, she barfed in my eye once, so this would only be part one of payback) but because i really, really don't want her to wake up.

it hits her tiny little hand, forming a little snotweb between her outspread fingers.

she doesn't budge.

so i leave her there, napping peacefully, and go blow my nose.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

never been to new orleans

hi. well. don't waste your time with me, go here.

then, to get a good listen to what now lies under water, go hear.

stay safe and dry.