Posts Tagged ‘baby’

A blogger friend of mine, MsKatykins, asked how my son Benjamin was doing. Because no one wants to receive a response that’s the length of an essay, a respectful answer would be, “He’s fine. Just as active as ever. Thanks for asking!” That’s the proper way to answer such a question; however, I decided to blog my response because I’m not typical. I’m a writer who just so happens to have a kid, and that kid provides me with a lot of writing material. The child is a gold mine, or at least, he was a gold mine when he was younger. 

For those of you who have not been keeping count, Benjamin is six months now (he’ll be seven in a week). And during these last couple of months, the relationship my son and I have has matured. You’re probably saying to yourself that that’s good news, and I agree with you, but it doesn’t really leave me with a lot to rave about nowadays. You remember the ravings, don’t you? Well, most of you do. And for those of you who are new to The Ravings of a Madman, let me catch you up real quick. A few months ago, when Benjamin and I were getting to know each other, we were known to have our share of spats. After our falling outs, I would come here and blog about the arguments I (a grown man) had with an infant. 

And don’t get your dandruff up, no need to call child services. Our fights never ended in fisticuffs. We just got loud with one another. 

So, three months ago, Shardae went back to work leaving me and Benjamin to ourselves. It was rough going at first, and I will admit that I was terrified. I mean, who could I hand the baby off to when a problem arose — such as him crying for no particular reason. Well, I was forced to learn my baby and now there’s not a problem I can’t handle. As a matter of fact, I’m better with him than his mother (which I throw in her face on a regular basis), but that doesn’t stop him from favoring her more. For instance, he said his first word a couple of weeks ago, and it turned out to be “Momma.” Not “Dada”, who he looks to when he’s hungry, or needs a diaper change. His first word was “Momma.” That’s fine, though. I was just happy to hear him speak. Now, back to the point I was trying to make. Benjamin and I are in sync, so we don’t fight as much, which results in me blogging about him less (more like none). I mean, who wants to read me gushing about, “My baby just said his first word, y’all!” and, “My baby is rolling over!” or “My baby is eating solid foods now!” Yeah, it’s exciting for me and his mother, but you could care less, I’m sure. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. Although Benjamin and I are on better terms now, we still have our share of arguments. Just the other day, I had fallen asleep on the living room floor (and I can’t recall why I was on the floor in the first place). I couldn’t sleep peacefully because it was uncomfortable, so I decided to retire to my room and nap in the bed. Well, Benjamin and Shardae was in the bedroom. Benjamin was playing on the bed, and Shardae was doing whatever she does on the computer. I flopped down on Shardae’s side of the bed — because Benjamin was on my side — and I tried to go to sleep. Notice the emphasis on “tried.” As soon as I closed my eyes, Benjamin started screaming, probably fussing at me to get out of the bed. When I refused to leave, he started hitting me and kicking me, while keeping up his hollering. 

“Hey, boy!” I said. “You have your own room, and your own bed. If you have a problem with sharing my bed with me, then you know where you can go.” 

And with that said, I dozed off — intermittently, of course. The boy kept kicking, clawing, and screaming. His mother eventually carried him into his room, and the dispute ended with Benjamin and I napping for quite some time — separately. So, Benjamin and I still have disagreements on a daily basis, but nothing blog worthy. 

MsKatykins, you probably didn’t want a response that’s the length of an essay, so to make a long blog post short, “Benjamin’s fine. Just as active as ever. Thanks for asking!” 😉

This is Mother’s Day weekend and I would like to say Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there. And I want to say a special “Happy Mother’s Day” to my mother, Malena Newsome, and the mother of my child, Shardae Fair. Now back to my original thought. What was it? Oh, yeah! Women that have children and actually have a hand in raising those children (because not every parent raise their kids) are some of the strongest people on Earth–Conan the Barbarian strong. Now that I am a father, I have a new respect for mothers, single parent mothers especially. I don’t know how some of these women manage to raise children all on their own. And just think, my mother raised three troublesome boys without abusing us. I don’t know how she did it. I wouldn’t like to do this parenting thing without Shardae leading the charge. If you don’t already know, I have a little boy who is three-months-old now. And ever since the missus has gone back to work, I’ve been taking care of little Benjamin. I must admit–and at home dads, feel free to agree–being Mr. Mom is pure torture. An annex of Hell, it is. Now don’t get me wrong. My little one is a ray of sunshine and I love him more than life itself; however, there are times…sigh…there are times when I just feel like pulling my low-cut hair out. If you have an infant, you should know what I’m talking about. When Benjamin refuses to take a nap so I can work, I hate that. When he cries just to hear his own voice, I hate that. Of course, the two of us have our good times, but most of the day we’re just waiting for Shardae to get home.

“Momma’s home!” I yell while running to the door to greet her with baby extended.

I’m probably happier that she’s home than Benjamin is; although, I caught him staring at the bedside clock, waiting on his mother to get home last night. Yeah, he’s only three months, but he seems to have his mother’s schedule down already.

Nope, I wouldn’t want to do this parenting thing on my own. I’m sure I could, but I definitely don’t want to. How does that song go? “It takes two to make a thing go right.” That’s how I feel about raising a child. You need someone that can give you a break from the responsibility of taking care of a helpless human being. And the home life is not the only thing that makes being Mr. Mom an unfavorable task. Going out in public sucks just as well. Have you ever been responsible for taking a kid out in public? When we go out, I’m lugging that bulky car seat around–a car seat that contains a twelve pound baby. I’m the one that has to make sure he doesn’t throw a tantrum while we’re out. And I’m the one in the backseat changing the baby’s diaper, praying that he doesn’t decide to pee in my face. Being peed on would surely ruin an outing. One time, when we were in Wal-Mart, I found myself wondering, Isn’t caring for the child the woman’s job? It bothered me until I realized that I was not alone. When we’re out, I notice a lot of fathers are responsible for caring for the baby. Fathers are pushing shopping carts with the baby atop. Fathers are carrying babies in those little chest contraptions. I love those chest thingies, but Benjamin hates it. He screams bloody murder every time I try to put him in the one we have. The boy is no fun I tell ya. Anyway, I see a lot of fathers caring for the baby when we’re out and I realized that taking an infant out in public is a strenuous job better reserve for big, burly men. And get this. Shardae is going out to do a bit of last minute Mother’s Day shopping with her sister and mother–and she’s taking the baby. She has never had to be responsible for Benjamin when we were out and she has no idea what she’s getting into. No idea whatsoever. Sucker!

You know, when I was getting ready to have a child, I imagined parenthood as being one big Hallmark moment. I was going to shoot hoops with my son and teach him how to ride a bike. He would smile at me all the time, I would clap and cheer as he first learned to walk. And although I still dream of doing these things, I can’t overlook this gigantic hurtle known as the infant stage. No one told me that he would cry for his momma no matter how well I treated him. No one told me that he pees his diaper every five minutes and booboo will come right through the diaper, onto my clothes. Shardae has never been crapped on, but I’m had baby feces on many pairs of pants. Crap has even managed to get all over my shirts. It’s disgusting! And we don’t have a washer and dryer.

I love being a parent, don’t get me wrong, but I hate the Mr. Mom stage. I can’t wait until the time comes for me to play my role as a father, to do my job in molding my son to become a stellar young man. That time seems to be a long way off, however. People are always saying, “They grow so fast. Enjoy these moments.” Well, they don’t grow fast enough and you enjoy these moments. I’ll take the talking and walking child any day.

To all of you mothers out there (especially my own two), I want to say Happy Mother’s Day. This world wouldn’t keep spinning without you.

My girlfriend’s three month maternity leave came to an end this past Monday, so now me and the little one are all alone for seven hours a day. The ability to raise my child around the clock is one of the benefits to being an at home writer. We don’t have to worry about someone else mistreating our child, doing things that we wouldn’t do, or not doing things that we would do. Well, I was very apprehensive about being all alone with Benjamin and not having his mother around for when he threw one of his fits. And I wasn’t the only one who was worried about me being alone with the kid. My girlfriend was also worried. Benjamin and I don’t always get along, and there are times when he prefers his mother. Him showing favoritism towards his mother doesn’t really bother me, because there are times when I prefer that he prefers his mother. However, I dread the times when Benjamin prefers his mother and she’s not there. The child can really be a handful at those times.

Well, yesterday was me and Benjamin’s first day together and things went smoother than I could have imagined. He cried very little, and when he did cry I was able to calm him down right away. The rest of the day he was asleep and I even got to do some writing. My writer’s block has apparently left the building…the same day my girlfriend went back to work. Could it be a coincidence? I won’t touch that topic (just in case she chooses this blog post to be the first piece of my writing that she reads), but yesterday was a good day for writing. I even washed dishes, cooked dinner, and did a bit of arts and crafts. That was the first day.

Today started out smoothly enough. I fed him, I let him see his mother off (because he usually behaves when he sees for himself that she’s not in the house), and when he got fussy I put him to bed. Everything was good until he awoke from his nap earlier than he should have. Right away, Benjamin went to crying. No problem. I changed his diaper and that should have been the end of that. It wasn’t time for him to eat so he should have been good, but Benjamin kept crying. His mother usually rocks him and walks around with him so I decided to try that. It worked for a little while and I was feeling good about myself, but then Benjamin resumed his crying which escalated to screaming.

“Maybe you’re hungry,” I said.

He wasn’t scheduled to eat yet, but I tried to feed him anyway. Benjamin took one sip then pushed it away as if I followed the recipe wrong and the dish was horrible. It’s Similac! There’s only two steps to making Similac–fill bottle with water then add two scoops of the powdery crap. I was getting angry by that point, but I told myself, Calm down. Shardae wouldn’t want me and Benjamin fighting and there has to be a simple solution. After I “woo-sawed”, I resumed rocking the baby. He screamed bloody murder.

Maybe he’s tired.

I put the baby down and stroked his hair so he could sleep.

He screamed louder.

I lifted him up and tried to burp him. Maybe he was gassy. No such luck. “That’s enough of this!” I told Benjamin after I had had enough. “I tried to do it your momma’s sissy way, but this ain’t working.” I laid Benjamin down and I firmly said, “Shut your mouth! Now!”

Lo and behold! Benjamin stopped screaming immediately and he looked at me. I couldn’t have gotten a better result if I put ‘In the name of Jesus’ in front of my declaration.

“Time for you to sleep,” I said just as firmly as I had when telling him to shut it.

Benjamin whimpered, signaling that he was about to start up again.

“No!” I said.

He stopped, stared at me, then started whimpering again.

“No!”

Eventually he got the idea and placed his hands over his eyes. That’s his signal for, “I’m sleepy now.” I stroked his hair until he fell asleep (I’m stern but I have my gentle side), and I had three more hours of peace and quiet.

In the beginning I was apprehensive about being alone with Benjamin, but not so much now. Yeah, I’m okay until the day comes when I try to be firm with Benjamin and he calls my bluff. It’s never pretty when he calls bullcrap on me putting my foot down. All I can do then is pray that his mother hurries up and gets home.

Do you see that photo right there, to the left of this sentence? Of course you do. Well, I took that photo. I capture and/or design every image that appears on my blog (to avoid copyright infringement), but that’s not the point I’m trying to make. You see, I took a photo of our new “Baby on board!” warning sign that is now displayed on our vehicle’s rear facing window. I’ve been wanting one of those signs ever since I brought my son, Benjamin, home from the hospital. My family and I do a lot of traveling in an area called Greensprings and the Southside of Birmingham–an area where the worst drivers in Alabama apparently gather. These people text and drive, run stop signs, disobey redlights, and they will side swipe you after jumping two lanes without looking. And that’s all in a day’s drive. I hate operating a vehicle in this area, but this is where I live.

When Benjamin was born and I had to transport him from the hospital to the house, I found myself being extremely worried. These people can’t drive for sh**! I thought. What if they hit me while I have my baby in the car? I made it home that day without incident, and Benjamin stayed in the house for the rest of the winter, but we’re at that point where we can take him out and about. Thank God we now have our “Baby on board!” warning sign.

You’re probably wondering what good is a simple two dollar sign. Well, it’s not the words, “Baby on board!”, that matters so much as the implications that it carries. “Baby on board!” suggests that there is a fragile baby in this car–stop tailgating! “Baby on board!” tells you that I will deplete you financially if you cause an accident that requires my baby to forego medical treatment. “Baby on board!” just might mean that there is a father behind the wheel of this car who will beat you to within an inch of your life if you so much as tap the rear end of this vehicle. “Baby on board!” also says that I will seek to punish you to the full extent of the law if my child loses his life because of your negligence. All these statements can be derived from those three words, “Baby on board!”, and what message is received depends on the individual. Many people respect the “Baby on board!” sign, and I’m one of them. Then there are others who pay the sign no attention, but I for one am willing to make them a believer.

I feel like I’m doing other drivers a service by placing a “Baby on board” sign on the car. It’s kind of like putting a “Beware of dogs” sign on your fence. Some people just appreciate the heads up so they can avoid a very nasty situation. I know I would like a heads up, so why stop at “Baby on board”? As a road rager, I would love to see warnings signs like, “Ex-convict on board”. I would probably think, Well, I guess it’s okay if he cuts me off. I would love to see “Bad driver on board” so I could give them a wide berth. Someone with a “Serial killer on board” would get much respect on the road.

Since there are no such car signs that say, “Potential murderer on board”, or, “The end of your life as you know it on board”…”Baby on board!” will suffice for now. For your own good, respect the sign and the implications that come with it.

Rock-a-bye baby, in the treetop

When the wind blows, the cradle will rock

When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall

And down will come baby, cradle and all

Baby is drowsing, cozy and fair

Mother sits near, in her rocking chair

Forward and back, the cradle she swings

And though baby sleeps, he hears what she sings 

From the high rooftops, down to the sea

No one’s as dear, as baby to me

Wee little fingers, eyes wide and bright

Now sound asleep, until morning light.

 

Now that I am a proud father of a five-week-old infant, I seem to understand nursery rhymes a bit better now. Take the rhyme posted above for example. I use to think that it was a beautiful little ditty, but I see it for the threat that it really is, and I can relate. Because I now have an infant, I can imagine a baby screaming his throat raw, and it’s probably three o’clock in the morning. The mother hears her child and awakes after only having an hour nap since the baby’s last fit. The father continues to snore, because he can’t hear the baby–he never does.

The woman quickly and angrily rolls out of bed. Her eyes are wide as teacup saucers, and red veins streak across the white of her eyeballs. The insane looking woman eventually stomps out of the room, barefooted, and down the hallway she goes; the bottom of her nightgown billowing about her ankle as she moves. The woman rushes into her newborn’s room and makes her way over to the crib where the bawling child lies.

“Shut up!” she whispers harshly. The woman bends over and brings her screwed up face close to the baby. “Shut your mouth!”

The baby doesn’t need a new diaper, and he just fed an hour and a half ago; nevertheless, he continues to scream.

“Well, you can say bye-bye, baby! ‘Cause I’m ‘bout to take you outside and toss you right into the treetop. That’s right! The treetop. And when the wind blows, your little cradle will rock. You know what happens when the cradle starts to rock? The bough breaks and your cradle will fall. Yep. Your cradle will fall! Then down you‘ll come, cradle and all.”

The infant doesn’t understand a word that’s coming out of his mother’s mouth, but he gets the gist of her venomous tone. And those bloodshot eyes of hers help to enunciate his mother’s point. Eventually, the baby’s cries taper off, then ends altogether.

The mother continues to stare at her child who has suddenly closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep. Surprise, surprise, she thinks sarcastically. After a few moments of hovering above the infant, she slowly backs up then takes a seat in the nearby rocking chair.

The child stirs a bit.

“Oh, I haven’t gone anywhere,” the woman says menacingly. She rocks the baby’s crib while reinforcing her threat. “Remember what I said. Rock-a-bye baby, in the treetop. When the wind blows, the cradle will rock. When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall. And down will come baby…cradle…and all.

And though baby sleeps, he hears what she sings.

After some time passes and the lady’s anger subsides, she begins to look at her sleeping baby in a new light. No one’s as dear, as baby to me, she thinks fondly. Wee little fingers, eyes wide and bright. The woman gets up from the rocking chair and tiptoes from the room. Before disappearing completely, she whispers, “Now stay sound asleep, until morning light.”

Of course, the baby starts screaming an hour later and wakes the sleep deprived woman. She goes to prison that same day, sentenced fifteen to twenty years for casting the baby and his crib out the window and into the nearby oak tree. The silver lining? At least the woman gets plenty of rest now.