Walking through the mall

There are few things that warm my heart with contentment more than watching one of my kids sleeping. Lest your cynicism take hold; no, it’s not because they’re simply not awake. It’s all those things you hear other people say but don’t really appreciate until it’s you. It’s the innocence, the peacefulness, the adorableness, the loveliness.

You know what? I can top it. When your child is sleeping peacefully, slowly wakes up, opens his eyes, sees you before anyone else, and breaks out a brand spankin’ new grin, I don’t think there’s anything in the world that can top that.

Child rearing as sport

Cheryl was standing over my shoulder the other night (no small feat, considering her height), and noticed that I was having a hard time. Don’t you just love it when a loved one notes your difficulties without lending a helping hand?

I replied, “If we weren’t wrestling outside of our weight class, I’d never get this (diaper) on him.”

Ladies and Gentlemen: Greco-roman diaper changing.

A miracle for every moment

Nothing inspires optimism like a newborn child. Apparently, the same can be said for wonder and amazement. We have such low expectations for a newborn’s abilities; each small feat of physical ability transcends normal development to the realm of the natural wonders of the world.

“Look at Adam now, he’s so big, look at how well he holds his head up.”

“Awh, isn’t that just precious, he put his hand in his mouth.”

“He’s looking at me, he’s looking at me!”

The real tragedy here is that none of us were conscious enough to take real advantage of the circumstances while we could. The poor kid doesn’t know what he’s missing. By the time he realizes what he missed it will be long gone.

It breaks your heart.


Wouldn’t you know it; Adam woke up in the middle of the night last night. Just who does he think he is? Can you believe the nerve of some babies, filling their parents with false hope like that? He sleeps through the night for a few nights in a row, so I let my guard down, then WHAAA, WHAA, WHAAAAAAAAAA, it’s heads up at 2:30 a.m.

Cheryl got up first. I heard her rustling in the kitchen, and I continued to lie in bed with this vague, hazy notion that something was wrong. Baby, crying, 2:30 a.m. , Cheryl in kitchen, something wrong, can’t, quite, decide, blanket warm, bed good, no, something wrong, must get up,.

I stumbled into the kitchen, doing my best impersonation Dudley Moore (sans alcohol). I mumbled something to Cheryl that I can’t quite recall and went back to bed. I just hope I didn’t say anything to make her mad. She didn’t get mad or laugh at me, so I guess it wasn’t anything too bad. Still, I always find it troubling when I can neither recall my actions or nor why I did them; especially since I don’t drink or do drugs (other than caffeine of course).

Of course the moment I recover the mental acuity to visualize that child of mine, his pudgy little face grinning up at me, all is forgiven. I’m anticipating that moment anytime now.

And then there was one

There is a fog of contentment when your child is born. Those first days in the hospital are exhausting, yet exhilarating.

And then the baby comes home.

By the end of the first week you are still exhausted, but by now the exhilaration has worn off, leaving just the exhaustion. Midnight feedings and three a.m. diaper changes become the rule. Six hours of sleep becomes a really good night. Caffeine becomes more important than football.

And then it happens.

Like something inspired by Rod Serling, you wake up to the rising sun. Just like that, another one of life’s great milestones has passed you by. Your first driver’s license, your first rated ‘R’ movie, your first time retching behind the bushes at your friend’s house after having too much to drink, and now, perhaps the best of them all, the first time your child sleeps through the night.


Dim light from a child’s nightlight washes the room in an orange glow. You stand still; your gaze fixed on a small, stuffed Snoopy. Your infant son is in your arms; his head turned sideways, breathing restfully into your shoulder. The crown of his head rests in the cranny between your lip and nose, his sparse hair provoking the slightest tickle. You smell the scent common to everyone of his kind: the baby smell. Your gaze wanders aimlessly from the boyish pastel curtains to the lovingly arranged crib, where your son will spend the better part of his first year.

Your entire world, for all that you could care in that moment, rests peacefully between your shoulders.

A sound in the night

My wife and children were fast asleep. I was enjoying a rare moment of peace when I heard a loud squeaking noise. It sounded suspiciously like a non-traditional entrance to our home being jimmied open. If I hadn’t just gone to the bathroom, I fear I may have left a damp spot on our new couch. However, since the tank was dry (so to speak), I quickly got a hold of myself and went off to investigate. Nope, the sliding glass door was secure. A quick (and quiet) survey of the bedrooms showed the windows were secure as well. Then I heard it again, only this time it was right next to me. I was in Adams room. It was Adam practicing for his career in show business.

Hark! A critter stirs in the nursery!

There are times when my son makes the most unusual noises.

When they say that all children are different, I would assume they all at least sound like mammals. You see, there is a time of night when Adam wakes from his newborn slumber. He’s not upset, well not exactly. He sounds like he’s trying to pull a grunt out of his arsenal of noises, but what comes out of his mouth instead sounds more like a cross between a human child and the rapid fire, staccato chirping of an eight pound rodent.

It’s quite bizarre, and quite adorable all at the same time.

I guess you had to be there.

Fear the unexpected

Lest you worry that things have settled into a carefree routine here at the Kauffman Household (v. 2.2.1), I have reports of a new and terrifying phenomenon discovered just this morning: projectile poop. I think the name speaks for itself, so I won’t further trouble your imagination with the details. Suffice it to say that it was a horrible mess, one that found your hero facing the business end of the baby when it occurred. Watching this horrifying display of applied physiology on a pedestal (the new changing table), I also discovered one of the advantages of the high ground on a battlefield – greater range for the artillery. What were the casualties of this battle? We lost half a box of baby wipes, three gallons of water, one hour of adult labor, one baby outfit, and one adult sized pair of cargo shorts.

It is my sincere wish that you never have to witness such a horrifying display.

The best

It was the second day of life for my second child. I was lying down on the “daddy cot” in my wife’s room at the hospital. My newborn child was lying on my chest, peacefully sleeping away the first hours of his life. A visitor was there and remarked, “these are the best days of Adam’s life.”

I have this terrible contrarian streak in me, so naturally my mind leapt into action. There I was, having a moment with my child, and someone suggests the child has it good? While this could be interpreted as a supreme compliment for yours truly, I was bound and determined to prove the contrarian position… if only to myself.

You watch your wife experience the worst pain of her life, completely helpless to do anything about it yourself, and the contrarian in you might be easily aroused too.

Anyway, back to the original topic, why was it this was the best time in Adam’s life? No responsibility? No worries? I’ll grant you that, but what about the helplessness? Do you normally get all worked up over something as simple as the need to go to the bathroom? Do you pitch a fit every time you get a little hungry? (No, that is not an invitation for comment, Cheryl.) That moment I had on the bed with my child, I didn’t have a care in the world. I knew the meaning of love and I sensed it from several sources, in several varieties. I knew the reassurance of independence and self-reliance. And on top of it all, in that moment with my second child, I didn’t have a care in the world. It was one of the best times of my life.

In short, there are times when I’ve got it pretty good too.