Her screams cut me deeper than she meant them to, but the facts were clear: I was deficient, and this helplessness was a new layer to my trauma.
To her I’m a constant; one of two people she knows to rescue her from the hunger she can’t yet understand, and the fear of loneliness she knows only by instinct.
But in this state —without use of my arms after a vehicle crash— I could feel the vulnerability of not fully acting as the big, strong daddy my 7-month-old needs me to be; the one who can lift her the highest, and embrace her the tightest.
Or the one who comforts her when she cries.
I maneuvered my fractured left wrist to her one side, and my separated shoulder and damaged right arm to the other, as I bent into her bassinet as deeply as I could.
With every ounce of my strength and coordination, I pulled her small, emotionally-exhausted frame to my chest in a kind of desperate bear hug.
By the time my wife returned to the room my daughter had calmed.
But I had not. Continue reading “Daddy’s not invincible: coping with trauma”
Even mentioning my plans to look at minivans earned the kind of under-the-breath-but-actually-directly-at-you reactions you might expect.
“Well, well, well, a minivan, huh?! Going to be a van dad, huh?! Deciding to give up being cool, huh?!”
Even as jokes, the point seemed to be that entertaining the minivan — no matter the circumstance — constituted some failure on my part.
Let me say one thing from the outset: I place very little value on out-dated definitions of masculinity, strength, coolness, etc.
Any apprehension I had adopting the minivan did not hinge on any arbitrary definition of what constitutes a ‘manly’ or ‘cool’ automobile or not. My personal credo is not inherently linked to any product or campaign. (Gillette or otherwise.)
My real issues with a minivan rested in my realization that I’m entering a very different phase of life, and that my definition of ‘utility vehicle’ must change.
Continue reading “Why I hesitated becoming a Minivan Dad (it’s not why you think)”
It comes over you immediately after disembarking the subway–the pressure to maintain your cool as the Parenting Game begins. It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to play. It doesn’t even matter if you don’t know there is a game going on.
But as the groups of families and friends rush faster and faster toward the exit, hoping to be first to pay 9 Euros to enter the zoo, you realize there is something odd here. People stare you up and down, judging you with their eyes. They look at your baby stroller and then look at their own…they must have spent 1 or 200 Euros more on their stroller and smirk with superiority.
Visiting the zoo is supposed to be a time to relax and observe animals in their natural (man-made) habitats…but our visit today turned more into a sad study into the human condition.
Our trip to the zoo was prompted by a few things, the most important and relevant being our young man’s newly-found interest in animals, and communicating with them. See a bird, and want to say something? “Caw, caw” he’ll answer. See a lion? “Rawr.” And perhaps you see a dog, or any other animal? “Bow wow” is the default, universal language for all things animal.
Continue reading “The Zoo and the Parenting Game”
Editor’s note: As the troupe finds itself waiting again for a new member, a re-featuring of this post seems appropriate.
It’s like popcorn popping: you hear the last kernels turning into something wonderful, but you can’t be sure it’s time yet to take that goodness and partake. The baby’s not popping, but it does squirm, and as my wife’s stomach still holds our addition-to-be we sit waiting, wondering, and preparing for a little person with a lot of people ready to help.
Continue reading “The Baby Waiting Game”