Hand Eye Coordination

Mabel is finally getting a little bit of control over her hands. Now when she knocks the bottle out of my hand while I’m trying to feed her, odds are about 50% that it was intentional. She has taken to holding things very early, within hours after birth as noted photographically with a series of props (see the Mabel page), but she hasn’t really figured out how to harness that ability for any kind of productive use. Until now.

Last week, Mabel was in the car and getting grumpy on the way home from Rockville. I was able to fumble for her pacifier and shove it in the side of her mouth while driving. Unhappy with the current situation or possibly just testing out her newly discovered talent, she took the pacifier out of her mouth with her hand rather than spitting it into the dark void of the backseat. She’s grabbed the pacifier with her hand before, but that’s usually where the excitement ends.

While stopped at a red light, I watched in the rearview mirror, unsure of whether or not I was about to witness a marquee moment in my baby’s development. She stared at the passy, opened her mouth wide, and shoved it right into her eye.

It was the most hilarious thing I’ve seen her do yet. I had to pull over and call Mommy to tell her how proud I was that our baby is getting into slapstick comedy. She didn’t even cry about poking herself in the eye. She just grunted in disappointment and with her one good eye, stared at the passy trying to figure out what went wrong.

Look out, Buster Keaton. There’s a new act in town.

No Sick Days

I was not a good father today.

It stands to figure this will happen on occasion. There were plenty of days in the last 14 years when I haven’t been the best employee. I would even tell my boss the situation. “Sorry, boss. I’ll do great things tomorrow. But today, I’m exhausted and just punching a clock.” And if necessary, I’d use a sick day. Unfortunately, my new CEO is grumpy and unsympathetic to my excuses. And there are no sick days.

She’s also a big micromanager.

I was up very late last night because of non-baby related reasons, which happens on occasion to someone predisposed to insomnia who has homework to do and also eats way too much of the leftover Halloween candy. But for every minute the baby is sleeping and I’m not, there’s a minute out there that the baby will be awake and I’ll be tired. This was my Thursday.

I pleaded and begged her for her standard morning nap after dropping mommy off at the Metro, which she decided to forgo for whatever reason. So I put her in her Bumbo chair on the bed with Toy Story II in the background and tried to string together little 3-minute naps between groans of disapproval to make up for my sub-two hours of sleep. This wasn’t going well for either of us. I saw a glimmer of a nose rub and convinced myself it was her naptime. I put her in the swing and didn’t play for her or read to her and just hoped she’d figure it out. If only she’d nap now and let daddy nap, we could have such a wonderfully productive day together. But some CEOs just want business done their way and get upset when you try to suggest another method of operation.

I spent way too much time around that swing that she didn’t want to be in. I gave her a half-hearted concert, I sang a cappella with my eyes closed to a remarkably unimpressed audience and I tried to feed her while laying my head down on the foot of the swing. She wasn’t having any of it and I wasn’t getting sleep.

I decided to throw her in the car and go get some soda. On the way back from CVS, she was falling asleep. I remembered “every minute the baby is sleeping…” So I tried to keep her awake. I hit the brakes a little harder than I needed to and actually ran over a pothole on purpose. It was not my proudest moment as a father.

When we got home, my baby, the wonderful and forgiving and amazing baby she is, sensed my troubles and decided to nap on the bed next to me as I slurred the words to She’s Always a Woman. She let me sleep for almost two hours. It was just what I needed. And when I woke up, she was right next to me looking right at me as if to say “There. Now let’s do something else please.”

I’m certainly not winning any employee of the week award, but it’s good to know I have such a forgiving CEO. Hopefully the CFO understands when she gets home tonight.