My infant daughter makes me feel inadequate. I’ve been doing this parenting thing for over three years, so I’d like to think that I’ve learned a thing or two. But this girl I’ve brought into the world is seriously messing with my esteem. It’s not that I couldn’t feed her. She broke the will of the nursing specialist, so what chance did I have? It’s that to Sprout, the world consists solely of my wife. Sure, I get courtesy smiles from her. But people she passes in the aisles of the supermarket get the same smiles. This makes parenting her somewhat difficult.
It didn’t seem like a big deal when WW™ wanted to take the Bean on an excursion, leaving me and Sprout to hang out for the afternoon. Things were perfectly pleasant for a half-hour, then the screaming started. At first, I was startled. These weren’t like any screams I have heard before. These were “there’s a dude in a hockey mask chasing me with a knife” screams. They were so loud that they sounded distorted, like when you yell into a microphone. I went through a checklist of what could have been wrong. Diaper? Dry. Hungry? Nope, she rejected food. Hurt? She didn’t appear to be. Black widow spider bit her when we were outside? Improbable.
I fought every urge to call WW™. I’m a grown man and a father, I could figure out how to soothe my daughter. I tried every trick in the book, including figuring out how to strap her into the mei tai by myself and taking her for a walk. After two hours of blood-curdling screams, I gave up, swallowed my pride and called reinforcements.
A half hour later WW™ was back home and almost immediately Sprout stopped crying. I was exhausted, defeated, angry, cranky and in desperate need of a trough of alcohol. I know that we will be out of the infant stage soon, but based on Sprout’s track record so far, this does not console me.