Thursday, April 25, 2024

The stay-at-home dad Infamous catches in parenting history

by Tyler Wilson
| August 18, 2020 12:28 PM

Parenting requires a certain level of dexterity.

Wiggling, screaming babies can be a challenge to contain on a changing table, especially when dealing with a diaper brimming with poo.

Crawlers tug on everything within reach, so parents must be prepared to stop a falling book, plate, vase, Mr. Freeze statuette, etc. from smashing onto those undeveloped skulls.

Young walkers fall. All the time. A little kid sprinting along the sidewalk can be terrifying to a parent, especially if the kiddo moves even a single step beyond your reach. You’ve got to be ready for every zig, zag and potential faceplant into cement.

Three notable “parenting plays” come to mind from the early days with my first baby - one success, one failure and one that’s in the eye of the beholder.

Incident #1: My daughter was about six months old and crawling all over the house. After opening a cardboard box with one of our serrated kitchen knives, I foolishly left the sharp object on a table well within her reach.

I didn’t notice my mistake until I walked a good seven or eight feet from the table, and in a flash, my daughter scrambled and reached for the shiny sharp object. She grabbed it by the handle, sat on her butt, cooed at me and wielded it like an adorable Michael Myers.

I took two steps and dove for the knife with arms extended, landing on my chest just within reach of her hand. I had the knife safely back in my grasp in no more than a second. No harm done to the child. Pain in my chest for weeks. Outcome: Success, so long as you ignore the initial negligence.

Incident #2: This one’s just dumb. I heated up one of those instant rice bowls, pulled it out of the microwave, ripped open the top and started mixing around the piping hot grains with a spoon as I stood in the middle of the kitchen. Just as my spoon whipped a few rice pieces out of the bowl, my daughter crawled between my legs as the three individual grains of rice fell to the floor and onto the top of her hand.

Her scream could be heard across two state lines. The piece of rice was so hot, it left a tiny scar on her hand that exists to this day, almost nine years later. Outcome: No way to spin this one. A tiny mistake leads to my most visible and lasting parenting fail.

Incident #3. This one’s gross, and it ends with a bit of a moral dilemma. My wife and I took our daughter to a local fast casual restaurant. Our then-1-year-old scarfed down a bowl of black beans and a fairly substantial cheesy quesadilla. As we finished our food, she used a straw to suck down an excessive amount of ice water from her cup. We warned her to slow down, but she just kept gulping. Salty food!

She started coughing as if she sent some water down the wrong pipe. The coughing led to burping, which led to gagging, and we quickly realized the nightmare scenario that was about to ensue.

The water. The beans. The cheesy quesadilla. It was all coming up.

My wife popped open one of our soda cups in an effort to catch the pending explosion, but her efforts would be two seconds late. There was a couple sitting in the booth behind us, and my daughter and I were sitting back-to-back with a woman with perfectly lovely long black hair. I knew the cup wouldn’t be ready in time and I knew this woman was about to get drenched, so I extended my open hands under my daughter’s mouth.

I caught the throw-up with my hands, blocking the vomit from splattering over the back of the woman’s head. As my hands filled, my wife came in with the assist and the cup just in time to avoid an overflow.

We contained most of the throw-up, and, shockingly, nobody in the busy restaurant noticed the incident, in particular the couple in the next booth. We cleaned thoroughly (we regularly equipped cleaning supplies in our diaper bag), and disposed of the evidence.

Here’s the thing that continues to haunt us: I caught most of that vomit, but surely some drops must have landed on a few threads of that woman’s hair. We cleaned, and we left, and we didn’t tell her about the possibility of vomit particles lingering on the back of her head.

My wife and I felt guilty about it for years. We didn’t “see” any throw-up land on her, but come on. In these pandemic times, we know just how easy it is to spread our awful little germs to each other.

We put ourselves in her shoes. If we were eating in the next booth and didn’t notice someone at the next table vomiting, would we really want to know about it? Is blissful ignorance better than knowing the awful truth? I don’t know. This question clouds what is easily my greatest catch in a near decade of parenting. How will history ultimately remember me?

Either way, it was super gross.