Sunday, October 25, 2009

Got (your wife’s) milk?

Being a parent means having a different answer to the question, “What’s the grossest thing you’ve ever experienced?” every week.

As I came downstairs last weekend to find my wife Kara, our son Evan and our dog Memphis arranged in their usual positions on the couch, Kara said, “I couldn’t get the dog to stop licking Evan’s sleeve this morning. She seems to like the way this outfit tastes.”

Memphis is inseparable from the baby, preferring to spend the vast majority of her time within a two- foot radius of him, an area that we affectionately call, for reasons that probably shouldn’t be enumerated here, The Blast Zone.

While we’ve tried to keep the dog from licking the baby too much, it has often been a losing battle. Having a baby around the world’s dumbest and friendliest dog (an honor for which Memphis is in a twenty-million-way tie for first place) is a beautiful thing in so many ways, but it also means we run the risk that Evan is going to spend his formative years thinking that he is a Jolly Rancher.

I thought back, trying to come up with a reason why Memphis would be especially interested in Evan that particular morning.

“Dude, she was licking him because he spit up on his arm last night,” I said.

The point, of course, is that both dogs and babies are disgusting. But you invite them into your house anyway, for some reason. Maybe it’s because of the chance to make the world a better place by molding their young minds, teaching them about the rewards of good decisions and the consequences of bad ones, which they’ll need to be successful in life unless one of them becomes an investment banker.

For us, besides being an opportunity to stress-test our laundry machine and our collective patience, parenthood has also been a voyage of personal exploration, a voyage that recently took me to our refrigerator, where I stood, famished, holding a dry bowl of Special K with a freshly poured glass of orange juice on the counter behind me. The orange juice had no pulp in it, because even though I prefer orange juice that could be eaten with a fork, Kara thinks pulp is weird, so we compromise by getting orange juice with no pulp in it.

In a moment of sheer horror, the dream of a non-breakfast-bar breakfast slipped away when my eyes alighted upon the gaping hole where the gallon of milk should have been. Ever since Kara started running her breast pump, she’s been drinking a lot more milk, perhaps in solidarity either with Evan or with her fellow pumpers.

Incidentally, if I was ever in a support group for women who had to pump, I’d definitely lobby to call our group the Moo-Moo Sisterhood.

Anyway, you find out a lot about yourself, and your limits, when you notice the four-ounce containers lining the top shelf in the fridge, the containers that your wife has worked so hard to fill with the very liquid of which you are now in so desperate a need.

“Why haven’t you ever tried it? I want you to try it and describe it to me,” one of my buddies said recently.

“Dude, that’s just weird. You’re welcome to try it if you like,” I said.

“That’s way weirder. She’s your wife. It’s completely natural. And it’s less weird than drinking milk from a cow, when you think about it,” he said.

And I did think about it, the whole time I crunched through my dry bowl of Special K.

You can share a breakfast bar with Mike Todd at


  1. I was completely believing that entire story until I got to "bowl of Special K" You don't eat Special K. Liar.

    Also, if Isaac was a peice of candy (like a Jolly Rancher) I think he'd be a Red Hot...or a Good N' Plenty

  2. I agree with your buddy. Try it man, no harm can be done. I would not pour it over your cereal or add it to your coffee though. Also, I love the pulpless compromise, that's how Anna and I compromise.

  3. Pulp Rules! You should just keep a jar of it off to the side so you can add some to your OJ.

    Also, I agree with Allen. Report back.

  4. Of course you stopped before revealing that you have taken the plunge and tried the milk.

    I'm taking another stab at my blog, believe it or not. Don't hold your breath though. I have managed to visit your blog, Vallimont's blog, Sheri's blog and Issac's site on a regular basis now - so I think my re-tooled site will be easier. We'll see...

    Of course you don't have to link to it just yet but I've changed the URL:

    Life at Twenty Eight just wasn't cutting it.

  5. Perlson -- It was the kind with yogurt chunks and astronaut strawberries. Sorry for leaving out that crucial detail.

    Allen -- You're the kid who tries to get the other kid to eat a worm.

    Sergey -- And you're the kid cheering on the kid who's trying to get the other kid to eat a worm.

    Jered Earl -- Nice of you to drop by to pimp your blog! I look forward to hearing from you again in three years when you start selling Amway.

  6. Jered Earl -- But seriously, I'm linking to you now. Good to have you back.

  7. You may as well try drinking "the milk". After all, the dry Special K will provide a good base.

    Looking forward to hearing how Evan reacts to the Great Pumpkin night and glad that Memphis and he are best buds.