Over the past five years, I’ve acquired some amazing talents that never would have manifested if I weren’t responsible for a child. Because with great responsibility comes great power …
I had no idea how fast I could read until my son begged for his third bedtime story and my beer was left all half-finished and increasingly warm in the other room. Suddenly I summoned the will to finish “David Gets in Trouble” in less than 60 seconds! I can get it down to 30 if I skip pages. WHICH I DO.
A deadly sin and a talent every parent acquires! Unless it’s his favorite meal – chicken fried rice – it’s not always easy to get my son to finish his dinner. But I’ll be damned if that food is going to go to waste. I haven’t eaten this much food this consistently since I used to order 13 entrees from Rainbow Noodle House at 2 a.m. after stumbling in from TC’s on Boylston.
I can’t say that I’ve made much progress cutting down on my cursing, but I’ve become so good at concealing it, who cares? Unless I’m in the car. Driving is my kryptonite. Suddenly it’s like listening to Andrew Dice Clay sing Guns ‘n Roses’ Use Your Illusion II deep cut “Get in the Ring“.
I get so used to my son’s constant cacophony – the nonstop feet-stomping, the endless motor-mouth, the perpetual clatter – that I don’t even hear it half the time. It’s like I’ve spent 30 years fronting a rock band but instead of a collection of gold records and a harem of groupies I have cushions full of Goldfish crumbs and ridiculously expensive babysitters.
I knew I was capable of showering in hyper-speed – I had a toddler. But I had no idea how quickly I could wash someone else until it was my son’s bath time and the game was about to come back on. I had that kid soaped up and rinsed off in between foul shots, and I’m pretty sure there is no permanent damage to his eye! It’s Dove for sensitive skin, dude. Stop crying.
Insipid Song Recall
I can no longer remember where I put my keys or what questions I got wrong when I almost landed a spot on VH1’s pop culture game show, but I know ALL THE WORDS to the Octonauts’ “Creature Report” song as well as the entire Frozen soundtrack. Forget Kristof: I’m the funky-looking donkey.
I can’t even brag about this; it’s just survival. If I smelled half the kid-related stuff I force myself not to smell, I’d be in a coma. Emptying my son’s Diaper Genie was my Vietnam. I’m never going back. And now, with my nostrils of steel, I never have to.
This is actually a pretty shitty superpower. Not even five cups of caffeine can make a dent in my exhaustion or my headache! If Freddy Kruger were real, there’d be no parents left. Which brings us to…
Sleepwalking is for amateurs and Mike Birbiglia. Sleep-living is for parents who do most of their parenting in an endless fugue state, making sandwiches, cleaning bedrooms, outfitting toddlers, all while barely standing. I lose time like Ed Norton in Primal Fear; I literally have no recollection of dropping him my son off at school this morning, yet I’m (almost) 100 percent certain he’s there right now. I’M MAGIC. (I’ll be right back, I have to go call the school…)
A version this first appeared on Dad and Buried.