2: 37 am
..."When did she eat last?"
"Hmm, 'bout three hours ago. There ya go, sweetie."
"Ugh. Really? I feel like I finally just fell back asleep. Feels like only an hour. Maybe half that."
"OH! Oh my God, you gave me a scare."
"Huh?.. Oh, hey, bud. Watcha doing up? It's still sleepy time, kiddo-"
"Hun! He's bleeding! It's all over his face! Get the light!"
"W-what?" OH SHIT! Uh, uh...WHERE'S THE KLEENEX?!"
"Oops. Try again. C'mon, baby girl, you can do it."
"Kiddo, just hold your head back for a sec so I can go get-"
"-no no no NO NO DON'T SNEEZE-"
"Oh Jesus oh Jesus oh Jesus-"
"It's just a bit of blood, honey. Relax. Oo-owtch...'Kay, that's better. Really tender at first."
"It's all over the bed, honey...And me...And the floor!"
"It's hardwood, it'll clean up. Sweetie, tilt your head back for a minute until daddy gets a cloth."
"Where's the kleenex?!"
"Just grab a towel."
"A towel?? It'll get stained! No, I need to find -OH GAWD!! THE CARPET!"
* * *
Well, it finally happened.
Our family is symmetrical now. No OCD compulsions about needing a balanced family will be keeping us awake, no sirree; two cats, two kids, two sorry excuses for mature adults, boy/girl in each category. Besides, the kids will keep us awake just fine on their own, of that I have no doubt.
Nearly three months ago now, we brought a darling little baby girl home with us to call our own. We don't know who she belonged to, but she's ours now. There were a bunch of unguarded little babies at the hospital, it was easy. In and out in under three minutes. Oh! But don't worry, I'll be writing a stern letter to the hospital directors about the deplorable level of security over there. Oh, yes, a very stern letter. I certainly wouldn't feel comfortable leaving my children in their innatentive care, just sayin'.
Luckily, I'm a nice guy. Who'se married to an even nicer lady. So the kid'll be fine with us, don't you fret.
Now, like I said, it's been just shy of three months since we got the little cupcake. And, you might be asking Why are you only writing about the birth of your daughter now, after months and months? First off, you shush. Second, only if you happened to be blessedly devoid of children in your place of residence, would you be asking that question. Which would make you an inconsiderate scallywag. Thirdly, however, if you, like me, have been manipulated and duped into possessing one or more of the sticky little gremlins OF YOUR OWN FREE WILL, you would not ask such a question. You would know. Oh, yes, you would know that accomplishing anything personal beyond getting yourself dressed within half a year of the birth of a child is nothing short of commendable, maybe even heroic. You scoff at my inability to organize myself long enough to write a simple blog submission post-children? Pshaw! I say, and give me the Purple Heart for my undeniable valour.
And while you're at it, give my wife an octopus' array of Purple Hearts for what she's had to endure. Between the incessant morning sickness and the bulging physique which pretty much dictated what she could and couldn't do for the better part of a year, my dearest spouse, my loving wife, suffered and endured through it all with a grace befitting royalty, all with the sole purpose of blessing us with another little soul we could claim monies for come tax time.
For that alone, she deserves the biggest medal on the planet. Made of chocolate. With coconut.
And as for me? What was my contribution to this whole venture, post-nookie? Shit, I was of no use to her at all. All I could muster were placating empathetic acknowledgments when she would lament morosely about the things she couldn't enjoy while pregnant. Heartburn from her favourite foods, ache and discomfort from her favourite activities; it must have been awful for her. "There, there," I would say. Like only a genuine lover would.
But sometimes I would try to let her live vicariously through my experiences to cheer her up, though she never seemed to appreciate my efforts.
"Hey, beautiful! By the way, I'm gonna go play some golf with some buddies tomorrow, y'know, at that golf course we both wanted to play?, then we might go for some wings and burgers afterwards, oh, hey! Mike got a new hot tub at his place, gonna enjoy a couple drinks over there before I come home, gorgeous. But don't worry, we can watch a movie when I get home if you want, Netflix is featuring the Jurassic Park series again! Aw, c'mon, they're not scary. I know you wanna! That's my girl. 'Night honey."
She spent a lot of time at the shooting range that month.
But I was, like most husbands (I hope it wasn't just me), even more useless during the birth itself. Yes, I did have the previous experience of being at my wife's side during the birth of our debut gremlin three years ago, yet I was about as useful to her as honey-flavoured bear spray.
"I got a minute and twenty-seven seconds between contractions that time," said the competent nurse tending to my wife. "Is that what you got, Mr. Mezzer?"
"Uh, oh, YEAH! Same here, you betcha..." I confirmed, turning away inconspicuously to set my watch display to chronometer rather than altimeter, trying to shush the silly thing's relentless beeps. That nurse was simultaneously timing and measuring my wife's contractions, heart rate, breathing rates and stock options while I couldn't even get my shit organized enough to run a stopwatch. She was making me look bad.
"And at 3,291' above sea level," I added.
And so it went for hours. Me meddling alongide my wife's bedside, getting in the way of important people in scrubs, doing nothing more than murmuring little vocal memos of praise and support to the missus, something akin to what a parent might holler out to their kid on the soccer pitch if they were putting in some effort for the team, but not really trying to win the game. "Good job, honey. That's it, keep breathing. Remember to pass." Oh! And I rubbed her back once, too. And do you think she ever reciprocated that lil' gesture? Been three months; nothing. It's a two-way street, honey, just sayin'.
Anyway, at about 10pm I was about ready to give up and say we would try again in the morning but, as that silly Murphy and his law are very adept at doing, things took a turn. The baby poked through, all gooey and gross, the doctor making a stellar catch with her baseball mitt. The leather was surely ruined, but I'm sure she could afford another.
But everything went smoothly. As good as anyone could hope for. They placed my new little girl on my wife's chest, and even with the sickening grossness that is childbirth, what with all the blood and gory stuff I only want to see in the movies, there was tremendous beauty in it all the same. Through tears in my eyes I could see my loving wife smiling down at the teeny little miracle laying upon her, greeting her joyously in a mix of sheer elation and utter exhaustion. I felt priveleged to be there, to be with my wife of over a decade, to welcome our little daughter into the world.
I hope we never have to go through it again. Two kids was all we ever wanted. More as a war tactic than anything, to not let the enemy outnumber you. Yes, they are my children whom I love and cherish, not a direct enemy in the traditional sense, but they can also prove to be terrific little soldiers who will go to war with you if they so choose. Don't kid yourself. They - ...
Ha! Aha!...Get it? Don't kid yourself? Ha!...That just sorta happened..
Anyway, yes, do not underestimate them. They will wage war on you and your lifestyle whether you want it or not. They will lay siege to your privacy, no longer will you be able to go to the bathroom on your own. They will invade your bed, putting an end to any nocturnal activities, sleep or otherwise (sleep deprivation is a cruel war tactic generally used by extreme militants and the morally defunct, but children have learned to wield the craft expertly to their means, knowing full well that a tired parent is easily molded to their will. Ever let your kids watch Paw Patrol just so you could get a couple minutes rest? I know I have.) They continuously attack your meager possessions and maintain a state of dissarray within your home to continuously remind you that they could destroy you if they really wanted to. And let's not forget their uncanny ability to negotiate terms of battle as soon as they can form sentences.
"I will give you a gummy worm if you promise to get in the car right now, without screaming, and stay quiet all the way to Auntie Mildred's house. Okay?"
"Mmm...two gummy worms."
"Fine, two. Now get in the car, Daddy."
Om nom nom
So that's it. We've got two kids now. Our sleep is marginal at best, our house is a constant tribute to circa 1944 Normandy, and we've had to add extra numbers to the wall clocks to give us enough hours in a day; we're now up to 29. Sure, there's blood on the carpet, and I doubt if I'll ever get around to fixing the hole in the plaster I accidentally made one late night getting a sippy cup for the kid. But hey, that's the life we always dreamed of, my wife and I. Well, sort of. The kids, anyway. We love them, we will keep them safe from harm as best we can, and we will cherish the love they give us back in return.
Maybe it's just Stockholm syndrome setting in.
I'll still take it.