thisworldofhurt

Archive for the ‘Babies’ Category

Take me to the Mountain

In Babies, baby, Baggage, children, Dads, Humor, husbands, life, Travel on November 9, 2015 at 12:05 am

Over this last weekend, The Middles packed their bags, traveling with the Rotan Yellowhammer Marching Band to the State Marching Contest in San Antonio. In his traveling-by-bus wisdom, the band director restricted the bag limit of the band members. I was amazed at how much the girls were able to cram into the few bags they took, which got me thinking about how much I wish I had the authority to enforce such protocols in my family’s travels.

As one can imagine, with 9 people in the family, we do not travel light. Even the baby has more than one bag, although one of those is a diaper bag. And just on a side note here: my wife made fun of me when I came home with a diaper bag I was quite proud of. Not some dainty thing with minimal cargo room, no. I brought home the type of bag a swat team member might carry for necessary tactical gear.

Right now there are moms laughing out loud, or rolling their eyes and shaking their heads saying, “Men.” Conversely, there men reading this, also laughing, but saying, this guy is a genius.

Laugh if you want, but I’m telling you: You will not find a better container to transport the essential items necessary for infant field operations than a SOG tactical bag. Baby wipes, diapers, Sippy-cup or bottle, blanket, extra clothes, burp rags, toys, pacifier, snacks, ointment, powder, lotion, all within its own zippered compartment. And with the removable, un-foldable, padded pistol pouch, we have a nice comfortable place to lay the baby while we change them. After all: even barbarians understand a baby needs a comfy place to lay their naked bum.

It is easy to draw the conclusion, even a simple trip to town can be daunting for the luggage-packing department, i.e. me. We live some 15 miles outside of town; therefore, we like to make sure we have everything we need when we head into town for work and school. It was just such a return from work trip I was reflecting upon when I had the wish to establish a bag limit.

We pulled to a stop under the carport. Everyone hopped out and grabbed their stuff. I ducked into the backseat and extract the baby, and then swung around the back of the car to retrieve work items and baby gear from the rear hatch. We all moved around one another in some kind of chaotic ballet. I ran down the list of items of my responsibility: Satchel? Check. Backpack? Check. Laptop case? Check. Incredibly efficient and totally functional diaper bag? Check. Baby’s push toy? Check. Baby? Check.

I closed the hatch and was plotting a course for the front door, when I heard the laughter. I look up to see my wife on the porch, a single purse nestled in the crook of her elbow, cell phone in one hand, and the index finger of the other poised ominously over the phone’s screen. Maybe she was texting, maybe she was Facebooking, Instagraming, Twittering, or otherwise preparing to post the picture she was undoubtedly about to take.

And why not capture the moment. While she stood there comfortably on the porch, I looked like a Himalayan Sherpa. Bring it on Everest. My bags are packed.

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Which is true in a sense. My life with my girls is very similar to my life as a firefighter. The briefing is always vague, and I never know when I’m going to get toned out. I just need to be prepared, and have my gear in a state of readiness, as I rarely know what’s going on.

My wife says this is because I don’t listen, and she’s probably right, but I like to hold fast to a different theory. I think during certain times of the day the isotope content in the air builds up, momentarily disrupting the frequency of the female voice, rendering it inaudible to the male ear. During times of sun spots, solar flares, and some phases of the moon, the effects of this anomaly can be increased, sometimes spanning several hours or days. Groups of men can also create a bubble of frequency disturbance, especially if said frequency is received via telephone. I call this the T-effect, or testosterone effect, due to the heightened levels of testosterone men experience when performing macho acts with other guys, especially close friends. That’s the theory I’m going with anyway.

But I know this, that group of guys can pack all they will need for a weekend trip in a Ziploc freezer bag. 2 pair of socks, 1 pair of underwear (optional), toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and a brush for those who still have hair: packing complete.

We are men and require very little space. Which is a good thing, because cargo room is a limited commodity when traveling across This World of Hurt.

The Human Walkie Talkie

In Babies, baby, children, Codes, Communication, Dads, daughters, Humor, husbands, life, love, Moms, Parents on October 5, 2015 at 2:51 pm

A bit more than a year ago my wife and I celebrated the birth of our 6th daughter. Surrounded by so many women, one can imagine that I am pulled in a number of different directions. Or another—and probably more accurate—way to say it is: I get bossed around a lot. However, after a few months with the new baby, I realized something: My wife was no longer giving me any directions at all. Or at least not when the baby was around.

Nowadays my wife provides me with suggestions of what I need to do in soft, gentle tones, imbedded within conversations between herself and the baby. The baby’s’ name is Everleigh by the way. We call her “E”. She is going to grow up thinking her name is Missy, since she seems to hear, “What are you doing Miss E?” so often, especially since she is now walking. But I digress.

The point is: Now I have to listen closely to what my wife is saying to E in order to discern what instructions my wife is laying out for me. For instance, before the baby was born, and the family was preparing to head out to some destination, my wife might say to me, “why don’t you start loading the car so we can get out of here and hit the road?”. However, now those instructions are beautifully woven into the peaceful inflections my wife uses to speak, not to me, but to the child. She will look at the baby and softly speak, “We will be able to go, just as soon as daddy gets the car ready.”

And there you go. I am expected to “overhear” this conversation, and immediately jump into action, loading the car with no further instruction. And this is not limited to vehicular preparations; virtually any job duty imaginable may be delegated to me in this fashion. “Would you like daddy to feed you dinner so mommy can do a little work?” “Daddy is going to give you a bath in just a little bit.” This one is tricky because she uses the phrase “a little bit”. She says, “a little bit”, but she means, “Right now”. “Why don’t you see if daddy will change your diaper?” This last one also conveys a sense of urgency. This sentence could be boiled down to just two nouns: Daddy & Diaper.

My child has become a human walkie talkie. A covert message delivery system designed to trip up the male of the species in order to prove the much debated saying that men do not listen? Well of course we men understand that it’s simply rude to eavesdrop on other peoples conversations, yet once the babies come along we must learn this skill. We must become more than husbands, more than fathers, we must become international super spies, able to decode the encrypted messages exchanged from spouse to offspring so that we may maintain a state of readiness.

And to answer the question that is on the mind of so many first time fathers out there: No, this does not work in the opposite direction. This will be a one-way form of communication. If you soothingly tell your child, “I bet mommy is going to dress you in the cutest outfit,” she will move about her day as if you had said nothing at all. It is quite impossible to speak in a soft voice and be heard over the commotion of thoughts taking place in the mind of your wife. The female brain multitasks, every second of every day, while men have a difficult enough time feeding ourselves while watching the game.

Learn to listen my friends, to whomever your wife may be saying it to, especially the human walkie talkie. Breaker Breaker 1-9, listen up good buddy. James Bond only succeeded with the ladies, because he was wearing his secrete decoder ring. At least that’s how I see it, living in This World of Hurt.

Welcome to This World of Hurt

In Babies, baby, Birthdays, daughters, Humor, husbands, life, love, Men, Moms, Parents, Pregnancy, Uncategorized, wives, Women on August 3, 2014 at 11:24 am

In thinking back to your youth, do you recall the difficulties in falling asleep on the nights preceding exciting events? The night before a big family gatherings or an exciting vacation, Christmas eve or your birthday, any attempt at drifting towards the restful slumber greatly sought after by adults, as quite an impossibility. When it did come, it was short and largely ineffective at providing any true rest. Sleep was simply the brain powering down non-essential portions of the body and placing itself into a stand-by mode in order to allow time and space to fold around you, creating a slipstream to pass instantaneously from one day to the next. Through the worm hole, the days merge, night turns to morning, and you woke up and see all your awesome relatives, hit the road to Disney Land or wherever, open your presents and check your stocking, eat cake and ice cream, blow out your candles, and hear “Happy Birthday”.

As you get older this feeling of sleeplessness and the brain’s form of suspended animation still occurs, but at different times and for different reasons. It usually precedes surgeries, or court cases, and is similar to the kind of sleep that undercover police officers must experience: neither unconscious nor awake, like some form of slumbering preparedness. Like a set animal trap or a bucket of water resting atop of partially opened doorway, resting in silence until that precious moment and then Wham! death… or utter hilarity as the case may be.

For adults, family gatherings are sometimes a dreaded event, and if not, it at least requires enough preparation that by the time the night arrives, sleep comes easy. Family vacations have a similar effect, the planning, the packing, the checking and rechecking, and checking again. And then let us not forget the impending drive to the vacation destination that must be rested up for. Christmas eve is similar to family gatherings, in that there is a lot of preparation for the arrival of Santa, and there is always, always plenty of stuff for the elves to put together on site. Most adults get sleep the night before a birthday in the same way they would any other night of the year. Try as we might not to allow it to happen, birthdays become just another day to adults until we hit triple-digits.

Yes, sadly for adults, birthdays become quite commonplace and are but a ripple somewhere between Wednesday and Friday. That is unless the anticipated birthday in question is the birthday of a child yet to be born. On the night before this birthday, the adults become filled with the overwhelming anticipation that sends us right back to excitement of our youth. Because that’s what children do: they keep us young, and they make us old at the same time.

My wife and I got little sleep the night of July 30; we were anticipating a birthday the next morning after all. We were up and out the door by 3:30 am. We were at the hospital by 5:00 and beginning procedures by 7:30.

A cesarean section birthing is one of the most terrifying events that I have ever been through. Now, I know right now there are hundreds of women out there that cannot believe that I just made it out to be all about me. They are probably speaking out loud to the computer screen, “What you have been through? You?! What about your wife? She is the one who is numbed half way down her body, the one being cut open. She is the one who is having the baby. You’re just sitting around trying to not get in the way.” I can’t blame them for that, but let me follow up by saying that I would have traded places with my wife in a heartbeat.

I have been able to do some pretty tough guy things throughout my life. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I am a “man’s man,” but I am a man of action when the situation arises. I am probably like many other men out there in that I am a fixer: a problem solver. There are things that need to be done, overcome, worked out, or what have you, and I recognize these issues, formulate a plan of action and implement that plan in order to reach a resolution in the timeliest manner possible.

But now the time has come for a child to be born, and my wife is too small for that to occur in a regular way. I just can’t fix this. Now I have to allow one person to cram a needle into her spinal cord, allow another person to take a razor sharp piece of steel and slice into her body. All I can do is hold my wife’s hand and pray to God that she can’t see the unadulterated terror in my eyes that I am feeling at this point. This stranger now pulls out the baby. The baby starts to cry. My wife cries. I start to cry. Then he hands the baby off to another group of people who rush her off to another part of the room where she continues to cry.

My wife looks at me and says, “Go be with our daughter. I’ll be fine.” Let me tell you ladies, there are few things in the world harder than to try to decide in a split second where you need to be. I have never felt so disloyal in my life than when I let go of my wife’s hand to go see our baby.

The team of nurses measured, and tested, and rubbed, and cleaned, and finally they handed me my brand new baby girl. I took this bundle of perfection over and sat down beside her mother as the doctors finished up with their work, but she had been given some additional meds and was asleep. I looked at my wife’s still face, held our baby girl, and wept until I saw her eyes flutter open and a smile stretch across her face.

Some of you are thinking all of this is very dramatic. Doctors perform C-sections every day you may say. True enough. People fly airplanes and drive cars every day too, accidents happen, and I didn’t want one to happen today. Two of some of the most important people in my life were being worked on by doctors, and I couldn’t do anything but sit there and try to stay out of the way. There are fewer more helpless feelings of inadequacy that one my experience than to turn the well being of a loved one over to a stranger, let alone two loved ones simultaneously.

But we had a more than professional staff of people working for us, and they worked brilliantly. At 8:09 the morning of July 31st, we welcomed the newest addition to our family into the world. “Happy birthday baby”.

And if you are a follower of this blog—wink wink, nudge nudge—you are probably wondering what middle name we decided on. We ran through a gambit of names, no doubt about that. But in the end we went with something simple and close to the heart. My wife said that I could name her after the first woman that I ever loved: My Mom. So we did, and her middle name is Sue. I think it has quite a lovely ring to it wouldn’t you agree?

Everleigh Sue, welcome to This World of Hurt.

Everleigh  Photo by: My Oldest Baby, Kyndra

Everleigh Sue Hurt
Born: July 31st, 2014
8lbs 15oz
20.5 in

Along Comes… Wait, Are You Sure?

In Babies, baby, Dads, daughters, husbands, life, love, Men, Moms, Parents, Pregnancy, wives, Women on June 11, 2014 at 1:26 am

There have been quite a few changes in this old World of Hurt since my last post, when I complained about flip-flops last summer. I’m still not a fan by the way, but I haven’t thrown them away either. My eldest daughter has gone off to college where she is doing well, we have the remaining five living with us throughout the school year, but my son—who is now a going to be a sophomore in high school—will turn fifteen in a couple of weeks, and I, of course, have become the worlds biggest idiot. I began a new career in the world of pest control as an inspector for Orkin. I like the new job, but it’s harder than you might think, lots of studying. The biggest change in This World of Hurt took place over Thanksgiving. Let me tell you about it.

The family loaded up the Suburban, and hit the road to Colorado to visit my parents. The day after we arrived, my wife had said that she felt kind of sick. We had just come from about 350 foot elevation in Texas to about 7,800 foot elevation in Colorado, and my wife would not have been the only one of us who had come up there only to suffer elevation sickness. The kids and I had plans for skiing and snow boarding the following day, so I told her to get some rest, and by the time we got back she will feel right as rain. After all, elevation sickness only last about 24 hours or so.

As planned, the kids and I hit the slopes, and as we were leaving the mountain, I received a text from my wife asking me to pick up a few items from the store. One of the items was a pregnancy test. Don’t jump to conclusions here; this is not an unusual request. My wife has made this request on many occasions in order to start a flow. Im sure that many men are aware of this strange medical anomaly. The way this works is this: the monthly is late, and the woman gets worried. She asked the man to pick up a pregnancy test at the store, which he does. He goes to the store, makes a selection, goes to counter, exchanges some form of legal tender for the item, and ta-daa… the menstrual flow starts right up before he even makes it back to the car.

This did not occur however. Instead, my wife took the test… twice. The test was quite clear. We were going to have a baby. All I could think was: well crap; I’m going to be the oldest dad at the little league games. All of us are actually quite excited. We will be expecting a little girl—which will bring the daughter count to a total of six to the one boy—and she is due to arrive in August. However, we have her delivery date scheduled for July 31st. Her name will be Everleigh, but we have not yet found a suitable middle name yet. Feel free to send me any suggestions that you have. It would be nice to have a name that starts with a “D”, but it’s not necessary.

Let me break down the last seven months for you. The first trimester was pretty miserable: lots of vomiting and unusual mood swings. The second trimester was pretty easy-breezy, and the baby really began to grow. She had begun to become quite active, and my wife looked fantastic with the whole motherly glow that everyone talks about. Now we are into the third trimester, and we have pretty much come full circle. Back to miserable. Resuming some occasional vomiting, and crazy mood swings: crying, laughter, explosive yelling, crying while yelling, crying due to the guilt of yelling, crying while laughing, and of course, pure unadulterated joy. All of this sometimes occurs over the course of a single afternoon. My wife still looks great, but she thinks she is fat, and her feet swell. But we are almost there; just a little over a month and a half to go.

One of the most difficult changes over the course of this pregnancy is the distance that has grown between my wife and I. Mainly we have become distant in the bedroom. I’m not talking sexual, or even emotional distance, I am referring to a true physical barrier that separates us at night in our bed. This barrier that I speak of is substantial, light and fluffy… pillows my friends, pillows. Many pillows.
In fact, my wife is up to a minimum of four pillows. These pillows are arranged in such an ingenious architectural fashion that my wife’s side of the bed more resembles that of a lounge chair than an actual sleep surface. In fact one of these pillows is actually commandeered from my side each night just before bedtime. I don’t mind. The level of unconsciousness that I am able to acquire requires no bed at all, let alone the need for two pillows. And I’m happy to make the sacrifice for the cause.

All of that said, I will be happy to have this new little girl in the world. I’m looking forward to meeting her, and I’m not too proud to admit that I’m a little jealous of my wife being the only one who gets to spend any time with this kid. Even though I will have to share time with all of the rest of the family, and my wife of course will get to have all the quality bonding through the feeding process—since she has all of the food—while I quite literally get the crap jobs. Still, I can’t wait to hold her and introduce myself. Hello baby Everleigh, I’m your Dad.
Just a little less than eight weeks to go, and you can all help my family welcome the brand new addition to This World of Hurt.

 

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