Originally published in the Summer 2008 issue of Playground Magazine.
I’m writing to you from our bomb shelter, or at least that’s what is feels like since we never leave the house anymore. I am documenting the battle in hopes that other new parents can take solace in knowing they are not in the trenches alone.
Written by Jason Skipper.
Torture Chamber 21 January 2008, 0300 HRS
Operation ‘Desert Parenthood’ is no more than 48 hours old and we have officially lost the battle. We’ve dug in for a long war. The responsibilities of a newborn have hit us hard and fast. Wide-eyed and shell-shocked, we are up at 3 a.m. swaying back and forth with our crying baby. “Medic! We need some sleep here, STAT!” If we make it out of this, I am writing Senator Mel Martinez to insist that sleep deprivation officially be listed as an unlawful ac of torture.
Code Violation 24 February 2008, 0400 HRS
I am beginning to think we should have packed more food. Earlier, I decided to call in reinforcements- my buddy Steve. But things weren’t right; he was fidgety and avoiding eye contact. Then I had a moment of clarity. I was sitting next to my wife while my infant son was “eating dinner.” Occasionally, there was a flesh-flash that would make the FCC knock down my door. Turns out, my buddy was doing everything in his power to keep from violating “Military Code Section IV, Paragraph II” – Though shalt not look at thy brother’s wife’s naked breast. It seems my son is not only sucking milk, he’s also sucking the fun right out of the room.
Battle Wounds 5 March 2008, 0245 HRS
The scars of these battles may not be as dramatic as missing limbs, but trust me… they exist. I always thought a ‘tick’ was something you pulled off a dog. Well it turns out anyone can grow a ‘tic’ of their own. Combine a total lack of sleep, an abundance of loud crying, then mix is some fiscal fallout and BAM! My eyelid moves on its own, as though it were trying to drag the rest of my body to bed. (Without much luck, might I add)
Days of Yore 12 March 2008, 1900 HRS
As the battles grind on, I long for the days of lounging in Longwood outside of Tijuana Flats with endless time on my hands. I used to think the only thing I could fit into 30 minutes was vegging in front of the TV. With 30 minutes free now? My drill sergeant (wife) kicks into high gear and I can change a diaper, clean the kitchen, have sex, and take a nap. Please spare what is left of my manhood while considering which activity takes the most time.
Mutiny 20 March 2008, 1100 HRS
We are starting to feel the effects of long-term exposure to ware. When you’re pushed this far, your nerves are fried and then re-fired. A simple comment like “Honey, the diapers go on the second shelf…” descends into a sleep-deprived frenzy of foul-mouthed insanity. “Wait! We’re letting it get to us…” Like our baby is some foreign agent breaking us down. Huddled in the corner of his room, we make incoherent plans for escape, “You sneak first, if he cries, don’t look back for me, just RUN!” No amount of technology can help us; battery powered swings, vibrating bouncers, event the best 007 gadgets are all rendered useless when confronted with the crying baby.
On rare occasions when I do escape the bomb shelter, you can spot me carrying my son down Park Ave., and you’ll see my new found strength in action. Women swoon to his coos, they cannot resist his tiny toes and fingers. His giggle is like some sort of primordial woman-call. Although I am sworn to use my powers for good, I wear him like a badge of honor. This little guy is worth every backbreaking, eye-twitching minute.
The battle rages on… in my home, and in the home of new parents everywhere. However, the future of our children is worth the fight.