Sunday, October 18, 2009

They call him Runs with Babies

"Don’t run with the baby!” my wife Kara said as I bounded down the stairs with our son Evan cradled in my arm. In a turn of events unimaginable only a few short months ago, I had become too comfortable handling a baby.

“What, it’s not like he’s pointy,” I said, offended that Kara would put our son in the same category as a pair of scissors.

Kara was running the breast pump and watching TV, determined to keep Evan on breast milk for as long as she can. Since Evan spent his first month in the hospital feeding on bottles, he never could quite get the hang of breastfeeding afterwards. The doctors called it “nipple confusion,” a term that I had previously thought only applied to Super Bowl halftime shows.

“Did I just see a nipple?” we all asked, confused.

I sat down with Evan on the couch and saw a priest being interviewed by two cops on TV. All of a sudden, I had déjà SVU: the feeling that you’ve seen this episode of Law and Order before. Déjà SVU usually doesn’t strike until fifteen minutes into the show, making you feel doubly guilty for wasting your life twice.

“This is the one where the bad guy doesn’t quite get what he deserved, but the cop learns an important lesson, right?” I asked.

Just then, perhaps realizing that a bottle was imminent, Evan pinched his cheeks into a little smile, a trick he just recently learned.

After my buddy Josh had a son, he reported that the first six months of fatherhood were the toughest because the only two moods you ever saw were crying and non-crying indifference. Just as I was starting to wonder if Evan would ever develop a third mood, he started busting out these beautiful little smiles that are the infant equivalent of a friendly wave from a motorist who just cut you off.

Your baby can barf on your work shirt. He can demand to be fed at 3:30 in the morning, then again at 5:00. He can make you stop a stream of pee with your bare hand, like Superman stopping a laser beam. That little smile erases all of it, except for the stain on your shoulder, just like how a wave from a driver makes it okay that he just ran over your foot.

“Check out this smile!” I said to Kara, holding the baby up by his armpits. His legs caught underneath him, and for a moment, he was supporting his own weight, another one of his recently acquired tricks.

“Rawr! I want to smash things,” I said, rocking Evan back and forth on his feet.

“When he does that for me, I make him dance,” Kara said.

“Bring me Tokyo! I want to stomp on it! Roooooar!” I replied. If dancing genes are at all attached to the Y chromosome, he’s a lost cause already, so we might as well focus on nurturing the things at which he might excel, like mayhem and destruction.

Evan is already quite adept at punching himself in the face. You never see babies in Anne Geddes calendars dressed up like bumblebees while they sock themselves in their own faces, but it sure seems to be how they enjoy passing the time. It’s not like he’s really trying to punch and scratch himself, but when he spends the bulk of his days shooting his arms and legs around in an odd rhythm, like he’s watching a Richard Simmons video that we can’t see, he’s bound to land a few blows. Sometimes, Kara puts socks on his hands at night. Hopefully we won’t have to graduate to one of those lampshades that the vet uses.

“Wait a minute. King Kong didn’t stomp on Tokyo,” Kara said. Evan smiled and looked around the room, making a mental note of which items our little Godzilla might destroy first.

You can run amok through a major metropolitan area with Mike Todd at


  1. I get Deja SVU all the time. "Is this one where Munch makes a joke trying to be the comic relief in a show thats more serious than cancer?"

  2. Perlson -- You're first again! And only! Also, you're a Munch.

  3. Joshua Perlson10/20/2009 12:03 PM

    Favorite activity...Munch Diving. Favorite nickname...Munch Head

  4. He's the absolute cutest King Kong I ever saw! RAWRRRR!