Some parents will tell you not to pick your baby up when he or she starts crying. They will tell you that the baby needs to learn to calm itself down without you.
For all of the parents that are lucky enough to own their own house, with no neighbors close by , in the middle of nowhere this is probably great advice. For the rest of us struggling parents forced to rent apartments with paper thin walls, or stuck living with family, this isn’t such a viable option. Such is the case with my wife and I. For convenience sake (read: we can’t afford our own place) we are currently living with her parents and for dirt cheap no less. Out of respect I try to keep the baby from screaming as much as I can. This usually entails having the little leech stuck to my left arm so much that I can scarcely tell where my appendage ends and the baby starts. Out of necessity I have had to learn to do many things one handed.
Some activities aren’t so bad one handed. Making coffee for instance, easy enough to do with one hand just takes a little bit longer. Taking a leak while holding a baby is a little bit tougher but still doable. It’s when you go upstairs to take a shower after your lovely bundle of joy has somehow defecated up the back of his diaper, through his onsie, through the COVER ON HIS SWING, that you realize just how challenging the one arm shuffle can be. Holding the itty bitty shitty commitee with one hand, trying not to get more than a bare minimum of poop on you while you turn on the shower, adjust the temp, strip the baby and take off his diaper with one hand is the kind of fun that people without kids just don’t get to have. In these situations I find it prudent to just hop in the shower with the kid because theres something about handling liquid magma poop that makes me want to cleanse my whole body of filth .Then of course comes the challenge of holding on to him while simultaneously making him ever more slippery with soap. If your lucky you can wash approx. 45% of your own body with your one free hand before your soaped up skin plus the baby’s equally slick exterior start to equal danger will Robinson, danger!
hell favorite is trying sneak in a meal for myself here or there. I don’t know about how your kids were as babies but mine has a “Dad’s trying to eat” sense hardwired into his little brain. Grayson could be passed out cold after ODing on boob treats (what my wife calls breast milk and it’s too cute not to include here) but somehow the minute I sit down to eat his eyes fly open and a sour “HOW DARE YOU FEED YOURSELF!” look occupies his face for the two seconds it takes him to fill his lungs with air and start the bellowing that means “Kindly turn your attention back to me sir, your food can wait”. This is one time when even if I had the option of just letting him cry I still wouldn’t. For some reason high pitched squalling does not aid my digestion in the slightest. So baby ends up in one arm balanced on one knee while I eat with the other arm. Sometimes like today when I made myself a feast of tater tots and chicken fingers (what am I ten?) that works out fine. Other times like the night before last when we were having a turkey dinner with all that that entails it kind of sucks. The logistics of cutting turkey with one hand while not spilling gravy on myself while simultaneously trying to keep the baby’s hands out of my food would give Stephen Hawking a headache. Ok that’s not fair because he can’t do any of those things. How about Neil Degrasse Tyson?
Regardless of which astrophysicist would be better suited to solve the problem, I made do as best I could. I’m sure that you’re probably thinking that trying to juggle a baby and a turkey dinner enters ridiculous territory but let me put it this way, my in-laws were all sitting down to the same turkey dinner, and all deserved to eat dinner in peace so I was going to end up holding the baby if only for their sakes so I figured that I might as well try to eat at the same time before it got cold.
I try to remember that holding the baby constantly won’t last forever. Soon he’ll be crawling and then walking which will keep him entertained. After that he’ll be old enough to plunk in front of the tv for a couple of hours so I can do stuff. Pretty soon after that he’ll be to big to hold in my arms and………………………….um………..sorry, I have to go pick up my baby before I start crying.