Led By Little Bit

This picture is a snapshot of the rest of my life. My little girl will be leading me around from this day forward.

Let me clarify; I don’t have any intention of letting my daughter dictate what she gets, when she gets it, whenever she wants. I’m not going to be a parental yes-man. What I mean is this: everything I do, from this day forward, will be for the betterment and welfare of my daughter and my wife, in that order. (Before the comments start, I regularly tell my wife she is my second favorite person in the world. She agrees, and knows that’s how it should be. I’m her 4th or 5th favorite, I think….)

I also tell my wife that, as far as I’m concerned, I’m 3rd in our family equation. For her part, my wife is usually pretty good at seeing when I need some quiet and sends me on an errand or two so I can have some non-baby time. I try, though, to make sure that my girls are well taken care of before I do my own thing (which usually means playing Red Dead Redemption 2 at 2am when everyone else is asleep). This is tough for me, because I was an only child, as well as the fact that Little Bit came along later in my life (I’m almost 50, and she’s not quite 2), I was pretty set in my ways. I like to have a quiet cup of coffee in the morning, maybe read a little bit before bed. Those days are no more. My daily coffee is in a travel mug, even though I’m not going anywhere, because it’s the only way to have at least warm coffee in the mornings. Reading before bed, which used to be Tom Clancy or Jim Butcher, is now Dr. Seuss or Sandra Boynton (Ok, I kind of like the Boynton. They’re delightfully silly.) I do all this because, since the birth of my daughter, it’s simply not about me anymore. My life is led by what’s best ofr my daughter and my wife, and thus it shall be until the day that I die. And nothing makes me happier when my baby girl comes to me with a book in hand, climbs into my lap, and has me read “Green Eggs And Ham” 4 times in a row (although I kind of want to smack Sam-I-Am upside the head).

Take my hand, Little Bit. Take me on your next great adventure. I’ll be there o help and protect you as much as this old man is able.

Sleepless In Sentimentality

My daughter is sleeping (FINALLY) next to me. The dog is curled up against my leg. I’m waiting for my wife to get home from work in a couple of hours. The house is blissfully quiet. I should be sleeping as well, but I can’t. My stupid brain won’t stop. (I’m sure my wakefulness has nothing at all to do with the Coke Zero I’m sipping on.)’

I’ve just spent the last hour or so trying to get Little Bit to sleep. It was a hard-fought battle. I tried everything. I tried reasoning with her. She’s got half my DNA, surely reason and logic should be innately effective. Surprising no one, my repeated refrain of “Sweetie, it’s late, you’re obviously tired, you should go to sleep now,” was met with the effective counter argument of continuing to scream in my ear.

Next course of action: singing. Those who know me know that my singing does less to soothe the savage beast than it does to send said beast scurrying away from the horrible sound. However, most of the time, Little Bit seems to like it. Fortunately, she doesn’t have much to compare it to other than Raffi and Elmo. Tonight, however, the mellifluous notes of my serenade did nothing to lull my little one to sleep. She did what most others do when I sing. She cried.

I thought of what my wife usually does to get the girl to sleep, She’ll usually nurse her until she’s full and falls asleep in a milk coma. There were two problems with that tonight. One, She already had a full belly from the bottle I had given her a short while ago, and two, I lack the milk-rich mammaries required for such an act.

All I could do was all I could do. I simply held my little girl as she cried and resisted sleep, assuring her that Daddy is here, and Daddy loves her very much, no matter how difficult or stubborn she was being (traits she gets from Mom, I’m sure. Not at all from Daddy). I gently rocked her and whispered my love over her until she finally calmed down enough to let me lay back onto the bed, her head resting on my chest, eyes finally starting to flutter closed. This is my favorite moment of any given day. When she is at peace in her Daddy’s arms, breathing deep and clear, this is when all is right with my world. (I’m sure there’s some spiritual parallel to be extracted here. I’ll trust you to find it. I’m too tired.)

After all the crying, the resistance, the refusal to sleep, the frustration of it all, I find myself surprisingly not stressed or frazzled, but content. And sleepy. But mostly content.

Still, I can’t wait for my wife to get home so the magic boobies can soothe Little Bit when she inevitably wakes up again. She’s so much better at that than I could ever hope to be. Surprising no one.