GK and I found ourselves alone last night, which was quite a shock, actually. I came out of the bathroom to find GK sitting on the couch with the remote in one hand and a Tab in the other and no one else around. She informed me that Big Mama had taken the other three kids and Satchel to see a movie, but that she hadn’t felt like going, though she did expect me to entertain her for the evening. Great. So I did one of the only things I know to do with a one-year-old, I took her to the park. Usually there are other moms at the park for me to chat up, but not last night. No, just two other dads and that’s no good. Once we were sufficiently bored by the other dads, their kids, and the swings, we headed out east to the bookstore. GK fell asleep before we were a block from the park.
I’ll admit something here because I’m not ashamed. I am scared of babies. Not sleeping babies, mind you, they’re harmless and funny looking. But when they wake up and I’m in charge of them, they cry. As long as they’re sleeping, though, then everyone is happy, until somebody finally pokes them with a stick or something to wake them, then the good times come to a screeching, sobbing end. So I drove out to the bookstore anyway, thinking that once we got there I’d ease her out of her seat and carry her in and then, if she awoke, at least she’d have colorful toys to taste. But once we got out east I just couldn’t bring myself to possibly wake her and I just kept driving. I drove all around neighborhoods out there and then I meandered back to Midtown where I made the mistake of going through a Burger King drive thru. That’s a mistake on several levels, but I was hungry and was more than willing to spend $30 in gas to keep this kid asleep. However, I looked in the mirror and saw her big, brown eyes looking at me in wonder at what it was I was requesting from that little box, and what she was going to get out of it.
We went home and she cried from eight until just after nine when Kristy got home, with only intermittent dozing when the exhaustion was too much. It’s not the crying, specifically, that gets to me, though it does get irritating. It’s more the fact that I can’t soothe her, that my kids cry because I’m not their mother. I’ve never been able to quiet any of The Quartet. And it’s not just the nursing, though that is certainly a big part of it, they just want to be held by her more than anyone, more than me. You’d think I’d be used to it after four kids and nine years of parenthood, but you never get used to your baby crying uncontrollably and the helpless feeling that comes with it.
Last night’s frustrations were still on my mind this morning when I got to work and realized that GK’s mood is easily attributed to her giddiness for the start of the Tour de France, which began today in London of all places. After a year of waiting, she just couldn’t control her excitement and anticipation and it manifested itself as deafening screeching and tears. With today’s time trials and the soothing voice of Phil Liggett, I’m sure she’s as calm and silent as only a true cycling fan in the arms of her mother can be.
Photos courtesy of Elizabeth.