I’ve been thinking about change. I remember this one time when my daughter, Sage, was a month or so old. She was fussy, crying and unable to settle in to her normal schedule. Megan was out and I felt a need to get her to calm down, so I had a grand idea: food. I had a bottle ready, so I fed her. I was under the impression that babies ate till they weren’t hungry anymore. I was wrong. She threw up. Now listen, let me be clear, this was not a spit up. I mean, my daughter spit up enough to embarrass any bulimic. this was vomit. I’m talking non-stop projectile vomit. She got strangely quiet, then that guttural sound that comes up a split second before contact, and next thing I know, my daughter was a friggin’ fire hose of milk. I had a moment where it was so gratuitous I had to laugh, but I didn’t. She drenched me from head to toe. It was so bad that I had to get a towel, set her down, run up to my room and change, come back and pick her up, strip her down and put her into clean clothes. It was horrifying, and it was also official: I felt like a horrible father.
What makes me a horrible father? I went and changed myself before changing my daughter, who was crying. That seems pretty bad in retrospect. I overfed her until she had no other choice than to reenact a scene from The Exorcist. That may have been more misinformed than being a horrible father. I almost laughed, because it was so ridiculous. We all do things out of desperation. Ok, so maybe I’m not a ‘horrible father’ per se, but I sure felt like one.
After I had calmed her down went back down stairs and set in to get her to fall asleep. Suddenly that sound happened again, and then, she busted a hose. Again, she spewed forth an obscene amount of fluids from her little belly. If I was horrified before, I was having a heart attack now. My poor little girl could have blown up, and it would have literally been the same.
As my daughter was spewing an ungodly amount of milk from her gullet, there was a short moment where everything went into slow motion and I had what alcoholics refer to as a moment of clarity. I was going to need to change my clothes again. I was going to need to change her clothes again. How many damn times would I need to change our clothes today? How many changes have I made to her in a day. Poopie blow outs, diaper changes, pajama changes, you name it. I would be changing her a stupid amount of times, and despite the dramatics of this moment, it was only an additional time among many additional times that I would change my daughter in one form or another.
These changes and the amount of changes therein are a metaphor for my life. For parenthood. How must I adapt to such change? You press forward. You don’t just leave your child in a pile of their own funk because you just don’t want to change their diaper…no, you just change their diaper. So as we accept our responsibilities as parents, we must move forward and adapt to the change that seems to be moving around us. It makes it more fun if you do.