Posts Tagged ‘child rearing’

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!” 😉

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Here’s a little something different to shake things up a bit.

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.

Does anyone know?

If Babies ‘R Us do sell minature straight jackets, then they must be an online only product, because I haven’t seen any in the store near me. And if there is no such thing, then there should be. It would certainly help me out when my seven-week-old son is in between sleep and waking up and he’s clawing at his face with his recently trimmed nails–thank God. When his nails haven’t been trimmed, he puts so many scabs on his face that he looks like that demon from the movie, Hellraiser (minus the razorblades).

So there I am, hovering over him while trying to catch his flailing arms. I’m yelling, “Stop scratching yourself, crazy lil’ boy!” He’s just scratching away while screaming from what I assume is night terrors–if babies are capable of having night terrors. Who knows what babies dream about. It’s at this moment that I feel like I’m the warden of some insane asylum. The baby’s always screaming at nothing (it seems) and he’s clawing at his face. Deficating and urinating on himself. Then there are times when he’s staring off into the distance at something I can’t see. “Do you see anything?” I whisper to him. “Is there something there that Daddy should know about? Let me know so I can hightail it out of here.” He doesn’t respond. Benjamin just keeps on staring. “Crazy lil’ boy.”

You know, I post a lot about my child because I find humor in the things people never told me; and I feel like I should warn those without kids. I would never advise couples to avoid having children (I love mine and want a couple more), but people should know that raising a kid isn’t all petting unicorns and riding rainbows. Television commercials told me that having a kid was going to be full of walks in the park and sunshine. I was under the impression that he was going to laugh at all the funny expressions I made, but little did I know, smiling does not come natural to my child. He’s constantly frowning at me, or averting his gaze. “I know you hear me,” I say to him when he’s looking away. He continues to pretend like I’m not holding him. “Alright! I want you to remember this moment when you ask for a car on your sixteenth birthday.” He won’t remember.

If you ever need someone to speak at your child’s school on the subject of abstaining from sex, give me a call. I’ll teach them the horrors of having kids, because we all know the joys. They’re these cute little bundle of joys that bring a smile to your heart. “You complete me,” Dr. Evil said to Mini-Me, and this is how I feel about my little one. But I would kill to be able to watch a movie all the way through. We rent a lot of DVD’s now because it’ll be another two years (maybe) before my girlfriend and I can step foot into a movie theater as a couple. Did you know there aren’t many places you can take a screaming baby? The thought never crossed my mind. Anyway, I would kill to be able to watch a movie all the way through without Benjamin waking up and screaming midway into the movie. I hate being disturbed while watching a movie. People were always telling us that we wouldn’t get any sleep, but they never told us that we would have to watch movies in shifts. Oh, well. If you need me to speak at your child’s school, give me a call. I’ll straighten them horny toads out. Might even let them baby sit Benjamin for a week; he help ruin my sex life.

Look at me getting all off the subject. I was asking if anyone knew if Babies ‘R Us sold straight jackets. I have these little mittens that go on my son’s hands, and they do make him look crazy, but they don’t do his insanity justice. He needs a straight jacket. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll go on Craig’s List, somebody on there might have a infant size straight jacket. And if I can’t find one for him, I might want to get fitted for one.

The Ravings of a Madman

I will begin this post like I begin my prayers, by giving thanks. We give thanks in prayer so we don’t sound ungrateful when we begin to complain about our situations and ask for more blessings; therefore, I feel I must do the same here. I’m am extremely thankful to have my first born son. He’s one of my greatest accomplishments, one of my greatest joys, and I wouldn’t trade him for anything in the world. I thank God for bringing him into this world healthy and sane. Now that the portion of thanksgiving has been done, let me get to the complaining.

For me, parenthood didn’t begin six weeks ago when Benjamin was born. No. Parenthood began when my girlfriend discovered that she was pregnant. I was a father when I was forced to wait on my pregnant girlfriend, hand and foot, for nine months. I was a father when I was by my girlfriend’s side for every doctor appointment. I was so delighted when those nine months were over (and still I say, “Thank God, those days are over!”).  Things are gonna get better now,I thought. No more waiting on my lady twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. No more doctor visits (which turns out we still have to have every month). And Benjamin would finally be here so I could become the father that I never had growing up. Oh, how foolish I was.

You know, I watch those reality shows on television where they show teenagers trying to raise kids. I would shake my head and think, Foolish kids. Children raising children. And most of that is true, but as it turns out, age doesn’t make baby raising any easier. First of all, all my child does is cry, poop, and eat. I feel like a prisoner in my own home, nerves on edge everytime he stirs. Is he waking up? I wonder. Please don’t wake up.And I think this because I know that when he wakes up, he’s going to cry, need a diaper change, be ready to eat, then cry some more. Oh, but he wakes up despite my silent pleas for him not to and he starts screaming before his eyes are even open. “So what?” you’re probably asking. “Babies cry, deal with it.” Well let’s talk about what a newborn does to your relationship.

Babies ruin your sex life, and not because you have to wait approximately six weeks before you get any action. Babies don’t ruin your sex life by making you tired, which they will–don’t get me started on sleep deprevation. No, babies ruin your sex life because the mother is so terrified of having another “bundle of joy” that they don’t want you within ten feet of them. “Can I get a hug?” I ask. And her reply is, “No! Hugging leads to other stuff.” Needless to say, romance is officially dead. So what? I can deal with being a born again virgin. No problem. What is a problem is the fights that come about.

My girlfriend and I never fought before, but so far we’ve had a couple of arguments and they all begin with discussions about the baby. Is it just me, or does having children bring out the craziness in women. In the beginning, my lady was a lot like Frodo carrying around the ring of power. I was poor Sam. I would go to my girlfriend and say, “Let me help you carry the burden. I can help with the baby.” She would reply, “No, stay away! My precious!” That was in the beginning. Now she drops the baby into my lap and takes off into another room. It’s like we’re playing a game of tag. “Here’s the baby! You’re IT!”

Sad, I know, but that’s not even the worst part because I haven’t gotten to the fights yet. Our altercations arise when we disagree on how to raise Benjamin. My parenting technique is different from hers. She’s all lovey dovey, I bring the tough love. She hates it, but I get results. And when I have suggestions, my girlfriend vetoes me by saying, “I carried him nine months! That makes him seventy percent mine!” REALLY! I haven’t read that in any of the parenting magazines. So, I get angry, she gets angry, then we go to separate areas of the house and play the silent game. It is in these moments that I realize why parents always encourage their children to get married when they have a child. They know that if a man discovers how crazy a woman gets when she has a baby, then he’s putting on his running shoes if he isn’t strong enough to handle the madness. Marriage truly is a ball and chain, holding the man in place.

Being a parent is not all fun and games. Would I do anything different? No. Would I wait to have a child? No. Do I want more? Most definitely. However, I will quickly tell you that having a child is not the for the weak at heart. These are the confessions of a first time father.