It has been three months since the birth of my son Gabriel. I have enjoyed every moment of being his dad, and I’ve learned a lot of things — most of which I have skewed with my warped little mind.
His Best Friend
(Artist’s rendering)It takes a while for babies to learn how to smile consistently. At first, they only smile when they are gassy or asleep. Gabriel would often giggle in his sleep, while having dreams about clean diapers and engorged breasts (I can only assume). After a month, Gabriel began to display large, gummy smiles that demonstrated his love and joy, and they were directed solely at our ceiling fan. Based on his reactions, our ceiling fan is hilarious.
No matter how hard my wife and I tried, he refused to smile at our faces. We tried smiling, making goofy faces, making embarrassing sounds, and most often a combination of all three. All of these were met by very indignant expressions that seemed to say: “What the hell is wrong with you people?”
I began to worry that my son’s only friend would be our ceiling fan. He would go into Pre-K and draw pictures of his family, which would consist of “Mommy, Daddy, Me, and Fan!”
Finally, after weeks of trying, Gabriel began smiling at us. I believe it was out of pity, a sense of duty, or because the ceiling fan told him it was the right thing to do.
Gabe hates every place designed for a baby to sleep. Swing: Hates it. Vibrating seat: Loathes it. Crib: Bane of his existence. For the first few months, Gabe would only sleep in his car seat, or while being held by his mom or me. The crib gathered dust. When we would try to place him onto the mattress, no matter how asleep he was, he would awake and scream as if the crib were eating him. Those rare times he did stay asleep for the placement, he would quickly punch himself in the face and wake up screaming.
We tried several different swaddling devices, all of which he broke free from with super-human strength. So my wife broke out the big guns. She ordered “Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit,” or what we now call Gabe’s “Super Suit.”
The massive Super Suit prevents Gabe from slapping himself in the face while he sleeps by weighing down his arms with fabric, resembling the boy from “A Christmas Story” who can’t put his arms down.
The first couple nights were met with success: Gabe slept for at least 3 hours at a stretch. Then one night around 4 a.m., I went in to pick up my wailing son, and there he was: In his Super Suit, punching himself in the face.
The next Super Suit may involve Velcro and duct tape.
The Red Scourge
Diaper rash sucks, and my hands will smell like Desitin for the rest of my life.
After a few weeks, I became a great translator of the different noises and cries that emanate from my son. I can tell whether a cry means “I’m hungry,” “I have a dirty diaper,” or “I have the worst gas pains known to man.”
With this skill, I have also discovered that my infant son’s running commentary on his life is both disturbing and obscenity-laced. For example, when he cries and expels his pacifier 10 feet, I translate that as, “FUCK THIS SHIT!,” which I announce to the room for him as translator. Gabe is a fan of using the terms “bullshit,” “asshole,” “motherfucker,” and “nutsack” when expressing his frustrations about the world around him. (“Why won’t this motherfucking suit let me punch myself in the face?! Bullshit!”) As translator, it is important for me to stick as close as possible to my son’s choice of words, shocking though they may be.
My wife informs me that, while it is funny that my son would know and use such expletives, he is eventually going to learn to speak, and we will have to stop using certain words. I maintain it is Gabriel who will have to watch his mouth, for I am merely the translator.
I blame the ceiling fan. That asshole.