It’s hard out there for a newborn. And youngest child. And being one of three boys. And having twins as older brothers. And those twins being crazy toddlers. When mom and dad have to chase toddlers around, sometimes the baby gets lost in the mix. Sometimes the only person looking out is the dog, who slowly drags her disgusting tongue across baby face in a caring, yet gross, way. Another day in the life of Ezra, who is known as Emu. Another day of dad forgetting I’m in the cart momentarily.
We don’t intentionally give Ezra the short end of the stick. It happens though. I mean, Diana and I somewhat have a handle on parenting a newborn. Diaper, bottle or pacifier. You can’t really fail with that formula, and its been super effective for our first boys. yet, with Ezra, all the gentleness and skittishness is replaced with firm knowledge in effectiveness. And because of that, Emu doesn’t get the beck and call treatment his brothers grew accustomed to. Make no mistake, a cry is our bell and call to action, we are Pavlov’s dogs for sure. But it takes us a little longer to get there with Emu. Urgency has largely left the building.
I will treat all my kids with the same amount of love and tenderness. Just because he is the youngest and I’ve been through this before doesn’t mean anything, I will treat him as a treated his brothers! For I am father of the year!
Two months ago, I believed firmly that this was to be true. I held these truths to be self-evident, that all children are created equally and are to be treated with the same amount of my energy and focus! Then I found myself chasing after a toddler in the grocery store, completely leaving my baby to be snatched from my cart. Relax, he was sort of still in view! But fuck, for a second I forgot all about him to chase his brother down an aisle.
It’s not just at the grocery store. At home, sometimes kitchen dance parties will get loud and popping. during poor Emu’s nap time, the house shakes like a rave. Sorry kid. I get why you are grumpy all the time.
Maybe it was because I wasn’t thinking, but I didn’t expect my second foray with parenting a newborn to sometimes feel neglectful. Caring for a baby is not that hard. Caring for a baby AND toddlers is damn exhausting. Whenever I get a peaceful moment, it’s quickly shattered by banshee screeches. The new favorite sound off of the house. It feels like discovery channel. As the toddlers circle preparing to duel, each lets out a ferociously high-pitched squeal of challenge. If the father doesn’t intervene soon, Megablocks will be used as weaponry and bite marks will ensue. So goes the constant battle for the same toys. SEE!! In a piece I sat down specifically to write about Ezra, I forget him to talk about toddler gladiator fights!!!!!
I like to imagine that it’s because of a lack of mobility and activity in a newborn that factors in to my shortcomings. Maybe when Ezra is bigger and can run with the pack it will be easier to divide my attention. Right now, having him in stationery form, it’s hard to chase around two toddlers and remember baby might want to play Peek-A-Boo. So, here’s to hoping that is not just another Punk Rock Papa fallacy waiting to rear it’s head in a year! Shit, where did I set down that baby to write this?
I can’t catch a break when it comes to trying to be the best father I can be. I’m sorry Ezra, I really would love couch cuddling and showing you off to people. These brothers of yours, they are a full-time, exhausting job. And we love you, it’s just an adjustment having you. I am sure I will start to get it right, the learning to share my time and attention equally amongst the three.
Do you ever have issues as a parent with spreading the love? Are you honest enough to admit it if it’s true? were you the asshole who told me to pay better attention to my kids at the store the other day? Blatantly stealing this next line from Samara- Talk to me, I’m listening