Saturday, April 14, 2012

Your Frinds All Think It's Funny But It's Snot

First an update on the Isaac/Dada situation. Returning to the parenting philosophy upon which I base most of my actions - that you get more of what you pay attention to - I realized my retelling of Amari's new-found amusement with calling me Isaac was reenforcing it. The more I told the story, whether with a tone of amusement or sorrow, the more she called me Isaac.  Finally, I just stopped talking about it. And so did she. Almost instantly.

I was getting so discouraged that I even dreamed about it - a nightmare that an elderly woman drove Amari into a large crevasse on the side of the road and all I could hear were the faint cries of my daughter echoing from the darkness - "Dada...Dada..." I waited almost forty years to be a dad - I wasn't ready to let it go. Now I'm Dada again, and even when it comes with a "No," a "Pick me up," or a mini-tantrum, it sounds pretty sweet. Makes me wonder who's teaching whom here?

Meanwhile, back at the Hall of Useless Parents...

Okay, I'm still new at this whole parenting thing and I certainly don't claim to know everything. That being said, I'm pretty sure I did the right thing here. You be the judge.

The story began two weeks ago, but I didn't know it at the time. In the days that followed, Carrie came home sick with a cold - a not entirely uncommon occurrence as a high school English teacher. A few days after that Amari followed suit, while I began to wonder if my gratitude for our long run of health might have been misunderstood by the Universe as boasting. On the final day of our road trip last weekend, I finally caught a much milder version sans coughing and congestion - just a sore throat and low energy for a couple of days.

Mildly afflicted, I decided to go about my week, beginning with toddler yoga on Tuesday. It was then, confronted with a round-faced, profusely snotty, extremely affectionate fourteen month old that I flashed back to the previous week when the same child with less and much clearer snot had bee-lined for me when I entered the room, put his arm around me, smiled, and maybe even put his head on my shoulder between deep, rumbling, frightening coughs.

Even though my neck and head were doing the Tae Kwon Do stance I learned from bosses with bad breath, his seemingly well-kept and pregnant mother across the room did not take the hint, but simply enjoyed the reprieve from her repulsive child and said, "Oh, he just loves men." I smiled, made some comment about yoga not being the best place to meet them, then did my best to keep this disgusting disease-ball away from my daughter. I couldn't help but wonder if he was the reason we all got sick, and even though all my wrath should have been reserved for his mother, I couldn't help but direct some at him

This week was even worse. The once-clear snot hanging from the child's nose was now a multi-colored stream of yellows and greens dripping from his upper lip into his mouth. Seriously, I thought. Is she fucking kidding me? Was this some kind of hippie therapy where you just let the kid drink up the goop his body is trying to get rid of? She smiled again as her son plopped himself in my lap and looked up at me adoringly. "Something about guys," she said happily. Yeah, probably handkerchiefs, I thought. It's like his holy fucking grail. You will find the Kleenex in the Lost Tomb of Parenting Skills, young Indy.

Three times I watched this kid walk back to his mother and three times he returned with a growing river of snot. Finally - mercifully - Reya (who had joined us for yoga) asked me for a glass of water, which gave us an appropriate and well-timed escape. Unfortunately, this kid's love of men knew no bounds - including doors and hallways - because as soon as we left he followed us, walked into a wall and burst into tears - which is always really helpful for slowing down the flow of mucous. "Men, men, men, blah, blah, blah," said his mom, following him out.

By now the kid's tears are swimming in snot, pulling it down around the edges of his mouth. His arms are raised up to me while I'm fighting to conceal my look of contempt and disgust. He wants me to pick him up and all I want to do is wrap him in a thousand of those warm towels you get on International flights before take off. Finally, in lieu of those, I grab a paper towel from behind the water cooler  and politely ask, "Can I wipe his nose?" Unbelievably taken aback for a moment, the mom actually pauses, before saying, "Yeah, I guess," as though I were asking to share something precious to her.

Un-freakin' believable. If you're not going to take care of the babies you have, stop making more. It's a scary world we share...

The End

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