Ok. Baby Kos -- now formally known as "Aristotle" (or "Ari" for those who hate the name Aristotle) -- is a month old.
And I felt every. single. minute. of. the. last. month.
They say newborns are difficult. I don't know if that's meant as an understatement or a bald lie to ensure we keep the human race humming. God forbid people find out the truth! No one would breed anymore!
Babies are more than difficult. They're insanely impossible. Jesus. A whole month with no more than two hours of simultaneous sleep? A baby that screams bloody murder if he doesn't get food --snap!-- the second he's ready for it? A baby that has three speeds -- sleep, nursing, screaming? (None, by the way, having anything to do with the father.) A baby that will throw in some pooping and puking for good measure?
It's like, thanks little dude...
So yeah, it's been a tough month. But we've learned a lot. Specifically:
- It's all take, take, take, and nothing in return.
I'm not joking. About two weeks after he came home, I turned to Ari, sitting in his rocking chair, and said something in baby talk. He turned his head and looked at me. And it was the most wonderful, amazing moment of my life. I was like, "finally! There's a point to this nightmare!"
Let's think about this for a second. I was excited because he looked at me. That's how starved for reciprocity I am. We feed the kid (well, Elisa does. I don't have boobs. More on that later), clothe him (every five minutes since he keeps puking on himself), bathe him (the puking thing again), provide shelter, and cater to his every whim. In return, we ... don't go to jail. That's it!
Ari better thank whoever wrote the criminal code.
- Elisa is nothing more than boobs on legs. I am useless.
How come no one told me this: when I pick up Ari, he looks in the direction of my chest, opens his mouth wide, and starts hunting for a nipple. I'm like, "Dude, listen to my voice. Deep voice = no boob. High voice, your chances are much better." (And don't think he doesn't grap for the chest of all our female friends, mother in law, etc.)
Of course, since I don't have a boob, he can't figure out the point of my existence. Why is this dumbass holding me? he asks. Why is this dumbass even alive? he wonders. Why is this dumbass still holding me? he thinks again as I frantically search out Mami, knowing Ari will explode in famished outrage any second.
And once Mami takes him in her hands, he looks toward her chest looking for the only thing that matters -- the nipple. There's no, "Hola Mami, thanks for the boob!" Nope, it's more like, "About time, bitch! Fork it over!"
But his obsession with nipple can be amusing, as he'll suck on anything remotely resembling that part of a woman's anatomy. Such as:
(And don't scold me for using him as a comedy prop. I've got to do whatever is necessary to justify the hell he's putting us through.)
- "Don't mind me, it's simply the crying hour"
Every night, between 6-7 p.m., Ari cries for no reason. Just screams. He's stressed or something and needs to unwind. But while I would love to release stress the same way -- by screaming at the top of my lungs and maybe breaking a glass or two -- I know better.
Ari, on the other hand, thinks the Incredible Hulk has got the right idea.
- Breast milk tastes like sugar water
No joke. Try it if you get the chance. It's pretty gross. Really sweet. No wonder kids like candy. Reminds them of the boob.
- The boob is everything
I may seem obsessed with the boob. And it wouldn't be out of character given that I'm a straight male. But no man's obsession for the boob can ever match a baby's passion for it.
When he sleeps at night, looking content, it's obvious what's on his mind. The boob. Because there's nothing else -- nothing! -- that inspires the newborn in such a way. Indeed, given his life consists of 1) sleeping, 2) pooping, and 3) feeding -- there's really nothing else he could be dreaming of. I sincerely doubt he's dreaming about bowel movements.
Why do you think babies like pacifiers? Because it's the next best thing to a boob. Half the time he demands boob he's not even hungry. He'll get that nipple in his mouth and promptly fall asleep. So it's easier to substitue pacifier for the boob.
(And yeah, that's a picture of my wife's boob. Don't be prudish.)
- The experts say to avoid pacifiers
Screw the experts. What do they know, anyway? Do they sit with me at home and listen to the baby scream for hours on end? Try to feed him? Not interested. Does he need a change? Nope. Does he have a tummy ache? How the hell am I supposed to know?
But I tell you want I do know... a pacifier will shut that hole. And that trumps all the expert opinions of the world put together.
- Ari is a clean freak
I once changed his diaper four times in two hours. The second he's wet, it's the end of the freakin' world. Scream scream scream. And if he poops? Even worse. Then it's the end of the universe.
So yeah, lots of diaper changes right now. But I'm hoping we're repaid with a really early potty training. Like in six months.
- "Am I a bad mother?"
After one particularly bad day, as Ari screamed in the background, Elisa said, "I want to stick him in a box and leave him out on the porch. Does that make me a bad mother?"
"Yes. A good mother would keep her murdering instincts bottled up deep inside her," I replied. "Like me."
Glad we got that cleared up.
- Ari has Dick Gephardt eyebrows
Elisa gets furious when I say this, but it's true. I can still learn to love him regardless.
There's the awe I feel whenever I see him sleep in my arms.
(With the warm glow of the Daily Kos message boards in the background...)
Or the fervent love I feel for my wife, for everything she endured to bring us our little miracle, and for everything she's doing to make his early (and difficult) life as easy as possible.
(She's got dark, curly hair. I've got dark, curly hair. Ari has straight blondish hair. Hmmm....)
Since I'm so overworked, it's nice that I have bred my own intern to take over Daily Kos when I'm away on business.
(Ari in training.)
And at the end of the day, no matter how difficult things have been, he is, without any doubt or hesitation, my little angel...
by Kos | December 04, 2003 11:05 PM
(... of death and destruction.)