Kicking and Screaming: My losing batter with Fatherhood.
Pt 2. Mother Munchkin.
When Mother Munchkin showed up to drop the child off with us, she did so in a frazzled furry. She was late for work, which she moaned about the need to keep doing now that she was a mother.
I had an allergic reaction to this, I’m sad to say. I could clearly remember moments before her child was born wherein she talked about the empowering feeling of running her own business, how it was a dream come true, and how she’d never want to give that feeling up.
“Tim knows it’s always been my dream to be a stay-at-home mother, but he doesn’t want to take on another job so I can be with little Edmond. Which, just kills me, you know, since it’s so important for babies to be around their mothers for bonding purposes.”
“Oh, I’m sure that’s tough,” sympathizes Bonnie.
“You’re not just saying that now?” I ask. “I mean, aren’t most new mothers paranoid they’re not giving their child everything it needs, even if it doesn’t really need it ? Kids grow up in huts in Africa just fine, and their mothers aren’t around for every second of it.”
Mother Munchkin abruptly stops operation Baby Deploy to look me over. I sense her rethinking our bid to rent her kid for a day. I’m about to push that notion, say something about how I’d better get back to looking for that missing bottle of toxic household cleanser we’ve misplaced, when she realizes who she is talking to and dismisses me with an, “Oh, Dirk.”
Bonnie takes my hand. “He’s just kidding,” she says. “These months are crucial moments for both mother and child and we understand your frustration.”
“Yeah. I totally understand that you want to make your husband work twice as hard so you can stay at home all day with the kids.”
“Hey, if you don’t think raising kids is hard work then you’re nuts!”
“I love it how everyone who has kids acts like it wasn’t their choice—”
“Okay, that’s enough out of you.” Bonnie hushes me, then quickly offers to help Mother Munchkin unload her little, red Ford Taurus, parked at the front of our house, next to our open door, heat pouring out. Mother Munchkin, waves her off, “You’d never know what to take,” Says Mother M. I find that ironic, since, from my point of view, everything in her car was coming into our house.
Mother Munchkin left her driver-side door open with the car running and the child strapped into the car seat. Kiddy-bop music, or what I like to call Hell’s Soundtrack, flooded the drive way with giggles and cheer as Mother M. shuttled back and forth between car doors, circling from the front to the back, to the trunk, in and out of the steam cloud of the car’s exhaust until every possible door that could be open on the car was open and bags and totes were everywhere.
“Tim has the time to pick up another job” Says Mother Munchkin, bringing in a bag of baby supplies big enough that it should have come with a cargo manifest. She pushes her hair out of her face, blowing a straggling strand from her eyes before continuing, “But he says he doesn’t want to go back to being a teacher, which I think is stupid of him because teacher insurance is like, hello, government goodness! You know?”
“Did you think he was stupid before the baby, or is this something you only realized after the baby?” I ask. “Personally, I’ve always had my suspicions, but they do say a baby opens your mind it strange ways.”
Mother M. shakes her head in a disdainfully amused manner. “It’s good to see you Dirk. How have you been?”
“Living the dream of no kids and two incomes.” I say. We exchange polite hugs. “Can I help you with any of that crap?” I point at the baby cargo.
“No, no, no. I’ve got it.”
In comes bag after bag. Diapers. Formulas. Clothes changes. Toys. More diapers. So many diapers. Jesus Christ, is the house going to be completely covered in baby shit by the time this is over? Blankets, pacifiers… the living room is nearly full of baby items, and yet, there is still no baby!
Then, as if he should have been announced by trumpets and a chorus of angels on high, in comes little Edmond. Mother Munchkin holds him to her, near her face, whispering promises that he will be okay, that she’ll come back soon, that she loves him and that he’s her little angel-wangel-woo-woo. The child sleeps, oblivious to everything mommy says, but—and I insist it is coincidence—smacks his lips together and pushes a tiny, balled fist across his cheek, which is enough to produce, from both my wife and Mother Munchkin, a gushing squeal of ecstasy that, even in my most inspired moment of sexual prowess I could never even come close to replicating.
“Oh-My-God sooo cuuuuuuuuuuute. Uh-Door-Uh-Bulllllllll!”
What follows is like an act of worship. Everything about the baby is miraculous. Its little feet are just perfect. Its little hands are just perfect. Its little nose is just… shoot me. “Oh my god, will you two stop already? You’re letting all the hot air out of the house.”
The pair giggles at me.
“Oh, Dirk,” says, Mother Munchkin, “You’re such a buzz-kill.”
I exhale. “You’re child is adorable. Everything on him is perfect. Now shut the door.”
“Dirk isn’t keen on babies, but that’s what I’m hoping to fix with”—she’s talking to the baby now, in a high pitched, fairy god-voice— “a visit from little Edmond here.” Says Bonnie. Then, back to Mother M, “We’re thinking about having kids and Dirk has some misgivings on the matter, but I think it’s from lack of experience with babies.”
“Oh. Ohhhhh!” Says Mother M. “You’re thinking of having kids soon! Oh my gosh that is so great, good for you! Oh, Bonnie, you are going to make the best mother. Oh and our kids can grow up playing together. Ohhhhh that is so wonderful!”
“Woa.” I interject. “We’re just test-driving here. If we don’t like the ride, we’re not going to buy it. Right honey?”
“I may have used that vernacular in getting Dirk this far into the process,” confesses Bonnie, “but, no, we’re going to be buying whether he likes it or not.” She smiles sincerely at me.
“I see,” Says Mother M. “Well, you’re in luck Dirk, Edmond is a great baby. I’ll admit that not all babies are good. Some can be really fussy. Vomit. Bad poopy. Upset stomach. Trouble Sleeping. Rashes.”—Mother M. rattles off a list of possible side effects fit for an experimental drug—”But Edmond, oh sweet little eddy-woo-woo is a great, great baby. He’ll make you want to have one, and then you’ll want to quit your job and stay at home with him every day.”
Bonnie is beaming now, like a 1,000 watt bulb. This is everything she wants me to hear, and, unfortunately for me, Mother Munchkin realizes her role in the production and goes on a diatribe about how babies make everything better and how happy she is. Bottomless happiness. Bottomless, unyielding, pulsating, happiness that springs from the center of her womanhood like a fountain and illuminates the future with a pure and perfect light of satisfaction that all woman both respect and envy.
Finally, Mother M. realizes that 1) she is not only late for work, but 2) has not let anyone hold the source of unending joy since she’s arrived, and 3) if she does not hand the child over to my wife, Bonnie may get so hot from anticipation she’ll melt. Then, as if handing over one of the slabs the 10 commandments were recorded on, Mother M. places little Edmond in Bonnie’s arms.
Bonnie is effervescent. Finally, her own baby, to have and to hold, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, in loaded diaper or spit-up, all hers for the next 8 hours.
God help us all.
Content that Bonnie will do well with the child, Mother M. gives little Edmond a final, parting kiss on his tiny, shriveled little alien head and rushes out the door for work.
Bonnie sits down with the child.
I sit down across from her.
No sooner does the sound of the Taurus disappear into the distance than the crying starts…
To be continued…
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