I’ve been put in charge of arranging Baby Harbat’s birthday party this year. So says the wife, who doesn’t “do the whole birthday party thing.” Great, I think, I’ll get some basic decorations, set up games, do some cake or something. I’ve already got a theme, she tells me. Ah, now I understand. I will be “in charge” of it but won’t actually get to make any decisions, just do the work. This is like when I was young and was “put in charge” of doing dishes. As Captain of the Dishes Brigade, I thought, my first order is that all these dishes need at least an overnight soak, then tomorrow night’s captain can finish them off. Well, no. So I’ll be soaked with sweat in the kitchen, trying to pipe on perfect curlicues of pink frosting on pre-approved cupcakes, while toddlers run screaming through the house. I can’t wait.
Speaking of the joys of parenting, last night during dinner Baby Harbat got hives. Something she ate for dinner made her cheek get all red and covered with white spots. It itched her like crazy so she scratched at it. While holding a forkful of veggie chicken patty and ketchup. Then rubbed her eyes with fingers she’d used to trawl through a bowl of peas and soy sauce. My wife’s instant conclusion was that the soy sauce manufacturer had slipped in MSG and not listed it in the ingredients. I thought it was perhaps the four-course meal smeared onto her skin combined with the record-breaking heat in the house. Either way, the hives went away after dinner and we got to play a bonus round of Everything Tears.
This is the thing about being a parent. You are dealing with a person who will break down in wild sobs and throw themselves on the ground when you request something like, say, getting ready to take a bath. If you don’t give your child a bath you are a bad parent. When you make them take a bath and they cry uncontrollably, you just feel like a bad parent. Hooray!
Last night I lay in bed and listened to Baby Harbat roll around in her crib. Time lapse photography of her at night would look like a high-scoring pinball game. Usually when I go in, she has both legs angled up in the air, with one foot twisted and locked into place OUTSIDE the slats of the crib. I’m worried when we transition her to a fenceless bed, she’ll wake up in the dishwasher or atop a ceiling fan. Maybe I can Teflon-coat her room and put ramps in the corners, so at least she’ll always slide back to the middle. Good, now I have a winter project.