Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Day in the Life

Or maybe I should call this post "Daddy Skills".

Wrangling my two children in the morning is not easy. Every day I work on my systems, sharpen my tools, and take one step closer to Daddy Nirvana. But there is just no way to anticipate the curveballs.

Today was no exception. I woke up on top of my game with a full night's sleep and even (gasp) had time for a shower. We fed and watered the children, then set out for school. Today Jeep has school at our parent co-op, and the Little Lady comes with me to do the grocery shopping.

Jeep has been some trouble lately when it comes to transitions to the car. To make things easier I go in phases, alerting him to my movements. First I make his lunch and collect the assorted bags and sundries needed for the mission at hand. These get staged in the living room throughout the morning, while other chaos is underway. Eventually I dress the baby for the weather and move all bags to the car. On cold mornings the auto is warmed briefly ahead of departure. I collect my own belongings, get dressed, and eventually move the baby to the warmed car in the driveway. Jeep usually takes this cue that his time to stall has run short. I return to the house, collect the toddler by any means necessary, and we're off.

It didn't go quite that well today, so I can see in hindsight how I forgot Jeep's lunch on the counter. I remembered half way to school and we returned for a quick pickup. Back to school, the off to the grocery. By this time my baby girl is getting peckish, but we dash through the store and back outside. At that point I discovered that I had forgotten hot water for the baby bottle. Damn.

No problem! I shoot through a nearby espresso stand, procure hot water, and grab myself a 12 ounce americano for my trouble. A little extra coffee never hurts, right? The 12 ounce part of the story is important later.

It was a beautiful day in Portland, Oregon, but I elected to take our morning and visit a local toy store I had heard about. I wasn't after much in particular, but the sheer pleasure of visiting a toy store WITHOUT my toddler made the trip worthwhile. In the back of my mind I was planning a short hike or walk with the baby. It was a cold and bright January day, so I loaded the Lady back into the car and set out to find a park or trail or something.

There was an hour to kill before school was out, but
I had another problem. I had to pee. I was driving around Southwest Portland, my baby was crying, and I had to pee. I cruised through a local park in search of handy rest rooms, but all I could find were porta-potties. Should you leave a crying baby in the car when nature calls, or wear her in a carrier and jam myself into the one room plastic potty booth? The ideal situation would have been to take a hike in the woods (baby in the carrier) and find an unobtrusive, wooded location.

The NEXT thing that happened could have been anticipated. In short, the baby fell asleep. We had a late start, made a few stops, she was a little fussy and then WHAM. Silence from the back seat. Now I was sitting in the car, I had to pee, the baby was asleep. Damn you, 12 ounce americano.

I parked at one of the many local parks in Portland. There were people around, mostly walking dogs on this cold day. There was a porta-potty in view, but still about a hundred yards away. Now listen up, dummies. I can tell what you're thinking. You don't leave a baby in a car, and you DON'T wake a sleeping baby. Rules number 2 and 7, respectively.

Now here it comes: the crux of the story. This is what separates the men from the boys of Daddy Living. You've got to be able to put yourself out there, take risks, anticipate impediments, develop resources, etc. You're the DAD, for gawds sakes. Figure something out or something.

Warning! If you are a female reader, if one or two of my seven readers out there happens to be female, you might find this post alarming. Keep reading, at your own risk. Maybe you were starting to like me, just a little. Well, forget about that.

I expanded on one of my Daddy Skills. I checked the mirrors, cased the parking lot, hoped the coast was clear, and then I went for it. Do you remember? There was an empty coffee cup sitting on the dashboard. I unzipped, prepared the vessel, and let it go into the empty cup.
I'm a genius! I'm thinking to myself. And then a terrible thing happened. You can probably guess. I had to pee more than 12 ounces.

There was some yelling. There was some cursing. There was a quick dump out of the door and then the task was done. I dumped the rest out and then surveyed the damages. Ideally, I would have like to dump it in the grass with the dog pee, but that's just how things go sometimes.

Also, I got a lot on my pants. You're welcome, daughter. She slept for twenty more minutes, while I tried to dry out my crotch with the heater vents. Just another day at the park.

I'm still asking myself, would it have been any better with the 16 ounce?


  1. Way to sacrifice man rule #17 (Don't pee on yourself) to keep the baby rules intact. Another example of a Dad's sacrifice for his kids.

  2. This reminded me of a time when I still had my pilot's license, I was alone in a Cessna at about 8,000 feet somewhere between Phoenix and San Diego, similar situation (no child involved). I had a liter (volume: check) water bottle (aperture: tricky) which I put to good use, then jettisoned out the window (I didn't want to have to look at it). I'm pretty sure it didn't fall on anyone.

  3. It is remarkable how much we pee when we have to do it in a container. But, nice job, all in all. Next time, just pee in your Nalgene bottle. Pee's sterile, anyway.