Dragging his heels

This baby is really dragging his heels, mostly into the side of Fina’s insides. I’m no medical expert, but it feels like the waiting game is bad for my health, and it’s possible he is doing this to torture us. Uncertainty and fear of the unknown shouldn’t be weighing me down, not because I’m the World’s Best Daddy™ with experience in both child-rearing and child-birth-observation, but because most of this early stuff should be pretty easy for me. I’ve already packed my cigars for the waiting room. I’m taking my companies paternity leave and plan on working on my golf game (it’s for work, honey!) so that I can maximize my provider-ability for my burgeoning family. I jest. I plan on being an active father and making the recovery from child-birth as smooth as possible for my wife.

cigar ad from the 50s

When men were men and could wait impatiently in the hospital waiting room or nearby watering hole for their spawn… Now all we get is access to our own epidural and the chance to support our partner through a phenomenally difficult thing.

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Little Johnny or Julie Won’t Brush their Hair? Give ’em Lice!

AT really hates brushing her hair. This is not a new and unique thing to her. I’ve heard most 2 year olds aren’t big fans of you yanking giant knots (and with it little itty bits of flesh) out of their manes after bath time. She just looks so cute when you can actually get her to do it, that I’ve invested in some delicious tasting de-tangler that she’d much prefer to squirt into her mouth like it’s binaca, than use to de-tangle.

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Want that Pat Riley (circa 1985) look? Give ’em lice!


But in that rare instance where she’ll allow it, her freshly brushed hair looks great. Those instances were few and far between until I got a dreaded call from daycare yesterday.  I had literally not even walked into my office yet, having dropped her off a mere 10 minutes prior.

The Stages of Lice-ism:

1) Shock and Disbelief

“James, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but…”

Who starts a sentence like this???  That’s what got this whole lice-steria off on the wrong foot to begin with.  My only logical thought with this opening statement is that she’s run off with the circus or went and got herself pregnant. Ludicrous

“…Andie has lice.”

Whaaaaa? Isn’t that for disgusting little kids that live in houses with shag carpets and hundreds of cats and were born red heads?

That’s what EVERYONE thinks when they hear about some kid that has lice.  But I can tell you, it’s not even remotely true. AT has light brown hair and I only have 1 shag carpet and no cats. Regardless, I’m on my way immediately back to daycare to pick her up because they’ve made it sound like they’re quarantining her somewhere nice… and cold and basement-like.

As I hustle into her class she is not upset and surprisingly she is surrounded by a teacher and some other kids and not locked in anything at all.

The teacher says, “She’s been scratching and I saw a lice jump. My daughter came here for a week and ended up getting lice too, so I know what they look like.”

“Ugh, ok, well, you don’t seem that concerned, so what are you supposed to do?”

“Well, you just have to wash everything you own in scalding hot water, and potentially shave all of your facial hair off.”

To be fair, that might not exactly be what she said, but at the time I was completely distracted by the remembrance of all of the times I’d kissed the top of her head in the previous 24 hours. Ewwwwww. I counted at least 7 times.

2) Projection

When I first heard she had lice, it sounded kinda bad and gross, but after my conversations at daycare, I was significantly freaked out.

Am I going to have to burn everything I own?

Will I have to shave all of my hair off (at least finally now I’ll have that excuse to trim up the nose thought!)?

Will AT forever be marked at school as Pig Pen?

And then the hardcore projection started. I convinced myself almost immediately that my slightly itchy fill-in-the-blank was the result of invisible larvae spawning and multiplying exponentially. My beard felt like it was brand new and ridiculously itchy.

AT’s mom eventually met up with us and she too said that she immediately projected.

3) Avoidance and Quarantine

Even though the daycare didn’t quarantine her to prevent the spread of this salicious bug, I thought it was my duty to avoid going home with her. Naturally we went to the zoo. Sure there are at least 500 other kids at the zoo (half of them probably crawling with lice), but I figured I could keep her away from everyone and kill some time before our appointment at Lice Knowing You (yes, seriously, there is a business dedicated to eradicating lice, well actually, it’s a business dedicated to giving parents a slip of paper that states there kid is lice free – so they can go back to school).

We enjoyed looking at the… hmmmm, I don’t remember a single thing about the zoo except trying to keep AT’s head from touching anyone else’s. And you know what, that happens pretty frequently to 2.5 year olds, they inadvertantly head butt each other all the time. It’s cute when there isn’t a high liklihood of spreading infectious bugs.

I took this closeup at the Woodland Park zoo as we enjoyed a truly awful dining experience.  Can't see them can you?

I took this closeup at the Woodland Park zoo as we enjoyed a truly awful dining experience. Can’t see any lice, can you?

I told Andie that we had an appointment afterwards at a “pretty hair cutting place” where they’d give her a fancy new haircut. I’m so f-ing smart, she loved it. We enjoyed a terrible lunch at the zoo and then it was time to meet AT’s mom at Lice Knowing You to get us all de-liced.

4) Eradication (fancy hair brushing)

Lice Knowing You is in a non-descript building in Wallingford that looks like it houses a bunch of graphic designers and dentists. Be forewarned, the buzzer says LKY for discretionary purposes. I had to call them to figure that out because, really, that’s not something that’s obvious is it?

LKY is one-room, with a TV and 3 barber stools. There were 2 lice-techs there and when we arrived working on 2 other family’s. Our 12:30 pm appointment mysteriously never showed up on their books, but thankfully they were able to get us back in at 1:30, so we went and stewed for a bit in our lice-infestedness.

You have multiple options at LKY. 1) you can go to get “tested” for lice, or 2) you can skip #1 and go get “treatment” for lice. They allow you to skip #1 if you want to pay the extra money and I was pretty sure, so I opted to go for #2. AT’s mom wasn’t that pleased with that, but I was paying, and thankfully we did, because another woman came in to get tested and wasn’t able to get treated. That being said, they test the parents at no additional charge if you opt to get your kid treated.

I went first and it really just feels like they are about to give you a hair cut. They get your hair wet with essential oils and brush the $hit out of it. After a quick brushing, they could tell I was clean and mentioned, “9 out of 10 dads are clean.” Not sure why that is. A more inquisitive person probably would have asked, but I was just so damn excited to be sans-lice. Later when AT was getting her treatment a family came in from Snohomish (an hour drive away) and dad had it. So I guess he’s the unlucky 10%.

You can't tell, but I was relieved to know that I was lice free here.

You can’t tell, but I was relieved to know that I was lice free here.

In fact, people take this lice thing so seriously, that there was another family in before us that had come from Tacoma (an hour the other direction). They said their 4 kids had all had to miss pretty significant amounts of school for lice. Yikes.

AT’s mom also didn’t have lice, and ultimately we caught (or more accurately, daycare caught) it right away, so it was relatively easy and LKY guarantees you are lice-free after their visits.

Basically all they do at LKY is brush your hair for an hour and charge you $100 for it. But that peace of mind was totally worth it.

Yes I burned everything I owned before I learned this.

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At this point, she was still looking forward to her “pretty hair brushing”

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She started to realize something was “up” almost immediately though.

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The light was at the end of the tunnel at this point and she was starting to feel much more aerodynamic. Or like she could coach the Lakers to another championship.

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She’s quite a handsome little girl with her “Pat Riley”

Dilemma: Help now or forever miss capturing the action for posterity?

I just encountered a scenario that briefly called into question my own internal standing as Worlds Best Daddy (WBD) and I’m eager to see what my loyal subjects, I mean followers think about how I handled it. I’m confident you’ll agree WBD did the best thing for both the internet and of course my child.

Setting the scene:

It was a dark and rainy night, very Film Noir (well I guess it still is because it just happened), and I had just picked AT up from daycare. She was as happy as ever to see me – meaning she was really dissapointed that mom wasn’t there, but that’s besides the point. You don’t get to be WBD by worrying about what your kids want.

Anyway, her daycare is quite nice and in the new “tech ghetto” of Seattle, South Lake Union. There are a ton of people crossing the street and  couple that with the awfulness of Seattle drivers, and it’s really nerve-wracking and you have to be extra careful, especially in the rain, with a screaming 2.5 year old in the car demanding “MORE CRACKERS NOW DADDY!”

So as per usual at this time of night, in this part of town, with this weather, I was a bit distracted (also, I was trying to send a text message and look at google maps, but that’s neither here nor there). When out of nowhere, my precious angel changes the cadence of her scream and I can tell that it’s not about crackers. I look back and AT has spun a Chinese Finger Torture (that’s probably not very PC, sorry) with her hair and it’s cutting off the circulation to her right pointer finger.

Backing up a bit, AT regularly spins her hair and it kinda drives me crazy. I used to work with a woman who I’d consider one of the dumbest and most annoying people on earth and she used to twirl her hair constantly. I associate it with stupidity and it absolutely freaks me out that my little uber-intelligent-smarty-pants could have such a “tick.” I choose to believe that there is no correlation and that the dumby I used to work with was just doing it to antagonize me personally.

As Andie was obviously scared and in pain, I pulled over immediately to rectify the situation and help her untangle, but then I had a thought, perhaps she’d want me to take a photo of it?  I’ve done all kinds of dumb stuff as both an adult and an adolescent, so I’m sure I must have done even dumber things as a child, yet there is no photographic evidence of this. I’d like to have photo evidence of that bean I stuck in my nose, but I’ll admit that I’m not a normal person.

So her finger was getting pretty purple at this point and I don’t feel great about it, but here’s the photo.

If it’s any consolation AT, I really believe you’ll be happy that I caught this for posterity. And thankfully, we were able to save the tip of your finger… and your hair. Actually cutting your hair was my first inclination, but then I remembered you have picture day tomorrow and I can’t deal with the wrath of your mom if you show up looking like some weird hipster.

 

The moral of the story is that we are all winners. I was able to save her hair, her finger, and the image for eternity.

Tempo is like, real important… According to Goob, World’s #2 Dad (and my brother)

Tempo. It’s what I am looking for when I am with my kids. It’s not about hurrying, or stressing. That just makes things worse. It’s about moving things along smoothly. Anyone who has worked as a waiter can understand this. If things move too slowly, the plates stack up in the kitchen or tables get irritated waiting. If things move too quickly, no one has a chance to digest or the food fails to be plated properly. No good.

The same goes for solo parenting. Tempo is important when you are co-parenting as well, but not as important. If things slow down, one of you can pick up the slack. If things go too fast, then your partner can shift gears if need be, slowing things down. That’s harder when you are on your own.

Tempo is unfortunately about preparation. You need a plan. I think this used to be called routines. “Children like routines” I’ve heard it said. Really? Who likes routine? Well I do, but that’s because I am anal. But I would prefer not to pass that along to my children.

No, not routine, tempo. First one thing, then the next, then the next, moving smoothly along. It’s not about time, its about feeling. Routines are about time. At this time we do this, at this time we do that. That can be problematic with children under 10. Never know when they might start playing nicely. Don’t want to break that up because of routine. (Maybe I can find 20 minutes to read my book and drink a cup of coffee…)

Tempo is about overlapping occurrences that lead to group harmony. Food preparation that can be done when pictures are drawn. Then the table is to be set, so everyone should wash their hands. Maybe a short TV session while the dishes are being done, then it’s outside and the park. Maybe do the shopping while the kids play with the neighbors. You get the point. Tempo.

Q-tips are great for tempo, just don’t let them be put back in the box

The biggest downside to tempo is that it is exhausting. Who wants to be so planned-out all of the time? I don’t have the stamina to do it every day that the kids are home. Nor would I really want to for that matter.

Going to try to contribute to WBD as often as I can, just to make sure that kungfoolery gets some competition for the title of World’s Best Daddy…