Used to be…

When she was younger and would be able to fall asleep on my shoulder rather than almost exclusively in her crib, other fathers with more fatherly experience would advise me to treasure these moments. These moments of your little child clutching your shoulder, fixing her face into the shape of your neck, resting. They are precious. They are fleeting. They will not last. She will soon be a holy terror, without the holiness.

Listening to her breath bob up and down like forced waves or a sleepy Miss Piggy (she used to have a breathing problem that we still aren’t too sure about, but it seems to have resolved itself finally; so, God is good), watching her back expand and retreat slowly, noting her deep icy blue eyes lost to the world as they are covered by a heavy drape, and looking at her little mouth curve in lazy smiles and frowns – it was all so and too wonderful for me.

It was a good thing. And like all other good things, its days are numbered.

She learned to crawl on my birthday, one month ago. Let’s call that day Day 1. Of Armaggedon.


Before, my wife and I used to be able to do activities while she was awake. All we needed to do was spend some time with her, make her feel loved and appreciated, read to her, change her diaper. And feed her. Comfort her when her gums were splitting open with new aspiring teeth. That sort of thing. But generally, she was pretty self-sufficient. If she was feeling particularly angst-y, we could plop a Baby Einstein video in. Baby Einstein – either to its credit or our detriment – worked in a magical way that no other drug or affection has been able to replicate.

It used to be so easy.

It used to be that she would eventually go to sleep if we let her alone enough, because she had no other options. She had nowhere else to go, unless she decided to keep turning (and every once in a while, get a limb stuck between two posts and in need of rescue). Eventually, if all is taken care of, her boredom would get the best of her and she would enter the dream world of infants, possibly facilitated by one of the plush elephants from the Baby Einstein world. You see, it used to be easy.


Nowadays, however, she gets into every thing. Every. Possible. Thing. She stands up in the crib; so putting her down for a nap usually entails taking her out in her stroller until she conks out from all that exposure to the sun and vehicle exhaust. It used to be easy.

Resultingly (beat that, OE), she is constantly tired and cranky. Her high-maintenance is at a peak generally by the time I get home, although I am assured that she has never, for one moment while I was gone, let up or allowed her mother to find a moment’s rest. I only have the baby for her first waking hour and her last three hours (some of which may be in that pseudo-sleep stage where she merely pretends to sleep but is really playing Godzilla in her crib, practicing terrorizing all of the other pre-K kids by taking their lunch money and organic granola and yogurt), so I cannot complain too much. But, c’mon! It used to be easy.

I’m not so sure of what I’m doing all the time with her. So, sometimes, she screams in my ear. And I run out of tricks to calm her down. It used to be easy.

She also walks. But it is highly assisted walking. The sort of walking that she does merely by putting it in her mind that her legs are going to goose-step in a rapid succession to a particular place, but her core doesn’t yet know how to respond. So we give her a little moral and physical booster by holding her little hands aloft, so that she remains vertical, or at least at a bit of a slant (she walks like an over-joyed version of a cartoon character with purpose). My back hurts.

It used to be easy.

She’s entirely social and aware. She laughs an excitable and contagious laugh whenever she encounters another pre-adolescent. But sometimes she seems like she wants nothing to do with members of her own family. She screamed bloody murder when my brother came to pick her up one time. If we hadn’t learned our lesson then, she may have done the same with Jen’s family (she certainly gave the cringing ‘I’m ready to scream’ look).

There was a time, it used to be easy.
When she was younger and would be able to fall asleep on my shoulder rather than almost exclusively in her crib, other fathers with more fatherly experience would advise me to treasure these moments. These moments of your little child clutching your shoulder, fixing her face into the shape of your neck, resting. They are precious. They are fleeting. They will not last. She will soon be a holy terror, without the holiness.

Listening to her breath bob up and down like forced waves or a sleepy Miss Piggy (she used to have a breathing problem that we still aren’t too sure about, but it seems to have resolved itself finally; so, God is good), watching her back expand and retreat slowly, noting her deep icy blue eyes lost to the world as they are covered by a heavy drape, and looking at her little mouth curve in lazy smiles and frowns – it was all so and too wonderful for me.

It was a good thing. And like all other good things, its days are numbered.

She learned to crawl on my birthday, one month ago. Let’s call that day Day 1. Of Armaggedon.


Before, my wife and I used to be able to do activities while she was awake. All we needed to do was spend some time with her, make her feel loved and appreciated, read to her, change her diaper. And feed her. Comfort her when her gums were splitting open with new aspiring teeth. That sort of thing. But generally, she was pretty self-sufficient. If she was feeling particularly angst-y, we could plop a Baby Einstein video in. Baby Einstein – either to its credit or our detriment – worked in a magical way that no other drug or affection has been able to replicate.

It used to be so easy.

It used to be that she would eventually go to sleep if we let her alone enough, because she had no other options. She had nowhere else to go, unless she decided to keep turning (and every once in a while, get a limb stuck between two posts and in need of rescue). Eventually, if all is taken care of, her boredom would get the best of her and she would enter the dream world of infants, possibly facilitated by one of the plush elephants from the Baby Einstein world. You see, it used to be easy.


Nowadays, however, she gets into every thing. Every. Possible. Thing. She stands up in the crib; so putting her down for a nap usually entails taking her out in her stroller until she conks out from all that exposure to the sun and vehicle exhaust. It used to be easy.

Resultingly (beat that, OE), she is constantly tired and cranky. Her high-maintenance is at a peak generally by the time I get home, although I am assured that she has never, for one moment while I was gone, let up or allowed her mother to find a moment’s rest. I only have the baby for her first waking hour and her last three hours (some of which may be in that pseudo-sleep stage where she merely pretends to sleep but is really playing Godzilla in her crib, practicing terrorizing all of the other pre-K kids by taking their lunch money and organic granola and yogurt), so I cannot complain too much. But, c’mon! It used to be easy.

I’m not so sure of what I’m doing all the time with her. So, sometimes, she screams in my ear. And I run out of tricks to calm her down. It used to be easy.

She also walks. But it is highly assisted walking. The sort of walking that she does merely by putting it in her mind that her legs are going to goose-step in a rapid succession to a particular place, but her core doesn’t yet know how to respond. So we give her a little moral and physical booster by holding her little hands aloft, so that she remains vertical, or at least at a bit of a slant (she walks like an over-joyed version of a cartoon character with purpose). My back hurts.

It used to be easy.

She’s entirely social and aware. She laughs an excitable and contagious laugh whenever she encounters another pre-adolescent. But sometimes she seems like she wants nothing to do with members of her own family. She screamed bloody murder when my brother came to pick her up one time. If we hadn’t learned our lesson then, she may have done the same with Jen’s family (she certainly gave the cringing ‘I’m ready to scream’ look).

There was a time, it used to be easy.

The apartment is anything but childproof. And we don’t have enough vertical space to move everything three and a half feet off the ground. Which means that we have to watch her. All. The. Time.

She’s in an in-between stage right now. In between a dependent aloofness and an independent aloofness. In between needing to be carried and needing to walk on her own. In between an almost permanent smile to a shifting curiosity.

It’s a foreshadowing. This is what her teenager years will be like.

Life used to be easy.
The apartment is anything but childproof. And we don’t have enough vertical space to move everything three and a half feet off the ground. Which means that we have to watch her. All. The. Time.

She’s in an in-between stage right now. In between a dependent aloofness and an independent aloofness. In between needing to be carried and needing to walk on her own. In between an almost permanent smile to a shifting curiosity.

It’s a foreshadowing. This is what her teenager years will be like.

Life used to be easy.

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4 thoughts on “Used to be…

  1. thanks, dave,well, her hair is oddly blonde-ish (neither jen nor i have blonde hair and mine is really dark – as you may notice in my profile pic. but then again, both my parents also have dark hair and all of my brothers have or have had dishwater/sandy blonde hair.), but she is DEFINITELY big (the size, we’re finding, of other kids twice her age) and those eyes – well they’re legendary i suppose.

  2. yeah, that second transitional phase lasts for something approaching twenty years now. and you’ve got two of them just beginning that journey. and neither has delved into the deepest scariest parts yet.i deal with that transitional stage in multiple variations on a daily and hourly basis. of course i know it gets worse!

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