Notes On Fatherhood

Why does the tummy ache always come on at 2 a.m.? And always last all night long? It’s a normal part of parenting to lose a bit of sleep sometimes, and to ignore your own nauseating fatigue, and do no more than purse your lips over endless rivers of puke. His mom was just back from business travel and wiped out, so cleaning last night’s mac and cheese out of the carpet was on me this go-round. Super-happy-fun-time-night.

And now, mid-morning, I’m home, and not voicing how bored and miserable I am, too. He’s complaining enough for 8 or so of us. But, I’m also keeping quiet about the fact that watching Muppet Treasure Island at 10 a.m. on a weekday is a little bit awesome. Those guys still crack me up. And Tim Curry seems to be actually enjoying himself.

I’ve gotta feel bad for the little guy. I mean, we’ve all been there. And every parent has that tiny nag in the back of our head that won’t shut up about maybe things are getting worse instead of better – a tough diagnosis in these first stages, especially for a worried parent who knows as much about medicine as the 9-year-old patient. “Is it a hard, pointy, ‘ouch’ feeling? Or is it a soft, yucky, ‘bletch’ feeling?”

And amid the continued heaving, we’re deep into negotiations about when the next sip of ginger ale is allowed. 15 minutes after the last chuck, and just a sip or two at most. Okay, 12 minutes, and just a third sip. Applesauce soon, but please stop begging for milk. That’ll end up so gross and horrible, you can’t even imagine.

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