Thursday, January 24, 2008

And I'm Not What I Appear to be...

(I'm A Loser, by the Beatles)

Yesterday, I was a crappy father.

David spent a solid 90 minutes being REALLY pissed off at me, and he had every right to be.

The day started off wonderfully. He was happy & smiley all morning, good natured about sitting and watching us eat breakfast. He was giggling while we played around as Mommy was getting ready for work. He took a nice morning nap, sleeping from 6:45 until about 8:15-ish. The issue really revolved around the fact that he wasn't feeling particularly well: his throat was sore, as evidenced by the fact that his cries were very hoarse and approaching a tenor level.

I knew he needed a lot of snuggling and attention because he wasn't feeling well; all week, I've been wearing him and spending much of the day walking around and singing to him. This was okay by me, because I'm learning the baritone parts to several of the barberpole cats (tunes that a so standard in barbershop singing that everyone is expected to know them). This gave me an opportunity to catch up with the straightening up around the house and to learn my music.

We went out around 11 o'clock, after the two of us had lunch, to go to the comic book store. It was a nice walk, and he fell asleep during the last block and a half of the walk. I used this as an opportunity to start my workout. Usually, his post-walk naps - particularly on the colder days when he's comfortably and snugly bundled up - last for an hour or more, which is more than enough time to complete my workouts, which tend to last around fifty minutes. I stretched and started lifting.

Here's where I start to feel bad. He woke up about ten minutes into the workout and was VERY grumpy. I paused working out to take him upstairs to change him and to feed him; he was kind of hungry, but his sucking was more for comfort than for sustenance. For another ten minutes, he was okay with - but not happy about - our usual workout time together, which was do a set, pick the baby up to play for a minute, then put him down again, do a set, pick him up again. Normally, he's okay with it - he might give me a look or two, but he's content to spend time in his chair or his door-hang bouncy seat. Then? Not so much. He started crying VERY quickly. And, very quickly, the crying escalated into the full-blown, full-body tension, every-muscle-tight, veins-in-the-forehead, eyes-squinched-tight scream from the pit of his soul.

In my defense, I know what happens when he gets like this. He's inconsolable. He's not wet. He's not hungry. He's not cold or hot or uncomfortable. He's just REALLY angry at the world or at me. I picked him up and held him, walked around with him, brought him upstairs & sat and fed him on our usual chair. Nothing.

I knocked off a couple more sets, alternating lifting with holding him and trying to comfort him. Nothing worked. Finally, the last time I put him down, I accidentally whacked his head against the top of his chair. This is not an unusual circumstance; they're not hard whacks, but it's difficult to get a big guy like The Boy into and out of his chair without banging something on something. This was the last straw for him, and he descended into a level of hell where I became actually afraid that he'd forget to breathe because of the screaming.

Here's where I am disappointed in my own selfishness: after a reasonable amount of time trying to comfort him, I walked him upstairs, put him in his crib, finished the last ten minutes or so of my workout, showered, had a quick post-workout snack before picking him up. He cried at me for another 45 minutes, then fell asleep. He woke up happy as a clam afterwards.

I'm disappointed in myself. I should have found a way to comfort him better. I know this is "Daddy Can Fix Everything" attitude and isn't realistic; babies cry, sometimes because they just feel like it. But, I didn't do such a great job with him yesterday. I hope that I've learned something from that. Probably not, but I hope so. Usually, I work out when The Wife gets home, so she can watch him. Should have done that, but I had a late rehearsal that night that prevented it. And, if this is worst thing that I do to him, he'll have MUCH less in therapy bills than I had.

He's a good boy, though. Today he was awesome. So, I don't think he's holding a grudge for now.


Paul D. Keiser said...

Nope. Sorry. You're still a great dad. Ya just got a bit strung out. Yet, even strung out, you didn't take one iota of it out on The Boy.

Parenting has its good and bad days. If that's what you consider a "bad day", you get the Gold Medal in Daditude. Don't beat yourself up about it. I personally guarantee to therapy bills will ensue from it.

Paul D. Keiser said...

..that should be "NO therapy bills will ensue".

danemd tpyos...