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August 13th was the day my beautiful daughter Madeleine was actually scheduled to be born. As you might have guessed from our previous entries – Maddie has her own ideas about timing and schedules. She also has a rapidly developing sense of humor that is leaving her daddy in the dust!
First things first, Maddie became an official member of society Saturday as her Social Security card came in the mail. I hate to admit, but there is something oddly appealing about seeing an official document with your baby’s name on it – kind of like her first invitation to play in a Grand Slam tennis tournament. (But, perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself)
Maddie also planned a wide variety of bathroom hi jinks and adventures for Daddy to celebrate what was supposed to be her “scheduled birthdate.”
At 2am – I was doing what originally appeared to be a typical diaper change. However, once the diaper came off – Crouching tiger, hidden Maddie had a sneak attack planned for her father. The urine started to flow and the Stay Home PaPa was not prepared for combat!
Round One went to Maddie as we had to change course for an impromptu bath in the sink:
- Maddie – 1
- Stay Home PaPa – 0
At 4am – It was diaper change city once again – and wouldn’t you know it – Maddie’s bladder was spring loaded. The cold air hit my little comedian where it counts and the Fountain of Youth surged forward yet again. This time, in the process of trying to save her nightshirt – Daddy played opposite Brad Pitt in the movie A River Runs Through It. The mighty Blackfoot River of questionable liquid swept down Daddy’s bare chest and both father and daughter were in dire need of a good HAZMAT scrub down. I can assure you that there was no fly fishing that morning!
Round Two was no contest:
- Maddie – 2
- Stay Home PaPa – 0
I believe that once you hit 15 days old – you should slow down a bit. Not Maddie – she had one last card to play. More than 12 hours after her last assault – my little girl was looking for the sweep and PaPa was ripe for the picking. Cue the “Eye of the Tiger,” by Survivor!
Maddie had just enjoyed a premier milk-fest feeding and Daddy was in the process of burping her when he felt an odd disturbance in the force. Was there something on my arm? Yes, some type of foreign vinaigrette dressing matter had taken shape on my arm and was spreading quickly.
Suffice it to say it wasn’t pretty.
Well played my friend!!
- Maddie – 3
- Stay Home PaPa – 0
In the movie Step Brothers – Dr. Doback is so disgusted with Dale (John C. Reilly) and Brennan (Will Ferrell) – He’s forced to make the ultimate final decision.
“We’re putting the house on the market!” he shouts at them.
Brennan is suddenly on high alert, “Is the house haunted?”
I have noticed that when Maddie is out the house – and I’m not tuned into listening for her every move – the house may not seem haunted, but it’s definitely a little creepy.
As a new parent, you are so focused on what the baby is up to at all times, that it’s virtually impossible to turn off your brain. Butttt, when she’s out and about with her Mom – suffice it to say, it’s just a little too quiet!
My wife took the baby for a walk at the local park this morning without me. Truth to tell, the silence is deafening! Maddie was born exactly two weeks ago. However, in just 14 days, there is no question that both of our brains have been recalibrated to listen for every possible noise that the munchkin might emit.
On the flip side, when the baby is home – you perceive many noises incorrectly. The squeak of the chair on the floor or a gurgle from the dishwasher can be completely misinterpreted as a cry or whimper from the baby.
I’m sure sleep depravation plays a role in this – but I have never had more fun being exhausted in my entire life!
The set up was perfect.
We recreated every detail down to the time of day, temperature, even clothing.
Our drive down to Virginia a week earlier had been a smashing success – Maddie slept the whole way and we were in awe of our brilliance.
Enter the Klumps – despite our elaborate planning and meticulous attention to detail – Maddie proved that what works one time, is no guarantee for success during the next go around.
Our seamless drive down to Virginia was the polar opposite of last night’s funny little trip home.
The little lioness was wild right of the box. As we gently placed her in the car seat – “The child done lost her mind!” The screaming started and we realized that we might be in for a rocky trip. We went through the checklist – Maddie was in good shape, but man, she was cantankerous! The little lungs that initially emitted a tropical depression, were revving up to hurricane speed. We made it a little less than 20 minutes when we pulled over see if we could calm the storm. 45 minutes later, the little girl was finally ready for sleep.
The next 140 miles were smooth as silk, it was the magical carpet ride we had all dreamed about – until we ran head long into the diabolical maze of NIGHT CONSTRUCTION!! Oh yes, I-95 went down to one lane ONLY 2 different times during a 6-mile span in the useless state of Delaware!
Somehow Maddie slept her way through it – but it was the construction project on the wild and wonderful New Jersey Turnpike that proved to be our undoing. Mad Maddie unleashed the fury and we were stuck in the toxic New Jersey soup.
Finally we made our way to a rest stop so Maddie could pick up some Mom’s milk – but by that time – the weary trio just wanted it to be over.
Less than an hour later – Mom and baby were safely tucked away in bed – and Stay Home PaPa was left to ponder where it all went wrong.
Perhaps watching the beginning of Bloodsport with Jean-Claude Van Damme with Maddie in the room wasn’t the best move last night. After all, she was already in the midst of a pretty impressive temper tantrum and every time she heard Jean-Claude’s voice, her fierce gaze contorted and her biceps quivered.
Recent diaper changes have been marred by violence as Maddie has begun the new practice of delivering roundhouse kicks to my head with every attempt to fasten the diaper along with hand thrusts that would make Mr. Miyagi bubble with pride. Every diaper change is now conducted with a precautionary mouth piece and padded crash helmet for that added Maddie protection.
Maddie’s aggressive training regimen now includes bare-knuckle pushups, triple back flips and unbridled boppy biting. My baby is also perfecting her uppercut motions and head-strike combos for reasons I am unable to comprehend. She’s even put up a Joe Eposito, “You’re the Best” poster in her crib!! (Listen to Maddie’s soundtrack at the bottom of this post)
Maddie got a head start on her training before she was born because her Mom continued kickboxing classes throughout the second trimester. This gave our little warrior the edge she needed to make sure she was keeping Dad in line.
Even in her deepest sleep – you will often hear a primal scream ring out accompanied by a double fist pump. I’ve taken to crouching in the corner at night with a large flashlight and an industrial grade cattle prod to ward off any unprovoked attacks.
It doesn’t happen every day, but when Maddie goes to the dark side, it almost always happens between 3am and 6am.
Her jaws began to snap and her screams reach a fever pitch that will not be silenced for any significant length of time. It’s actually quite a phenomenon to behold. Gina and I first encountered this fearsome predatory behavior the day she was born in the hospital.
Since then, we have struggled with what we were doing that was so wrong. What terrible mistakes were we making as parents that would make someone we love so much so terribly angry?
What strikes us during these episodes is the intensity and determination displayed these each tantrum. Maddie is bound and determined to rage for this short period of time even if all of her basic needs are met.
Its part of the learning curve I suppose. Unmistakable patterns have developed and once you have determined that the diaper is clean, the swaddle is sound and the belly is full – you just strap in and hang on for the ride of your life.
I’m actually learning to appreciate these magnificent and shocking acts of nature. A couple hours of unbridled fury is not the end of the world. I also have to respect a tiny little lady who is so determined to share her strong opinions with anybody in earshot.
Who knows where this special brand of obstinacy could take Maddie. Whether this mind set is directed towards studies, athletics or exploration – her competitors will likely shrivel up in fear at the mere mention of her name.
It’s also remarkable that these incidents only occur during such a small three-hour window. This actually provides the recipient with shades of hope that the sun will rise and the storm shall pass.
The fact that my wife and I are completely ready for bed each evening by 8pm each is a pretty stern indicator of how life has changed a bit since the arrival of sweet baby Madeleine less than two weeks ago.
Sleep for all three of us has become an intricate game of cat and mouse.
During a recent car trip, Maddie was sound asleep with about 60 miles yet to drive. But Daddy was losing his edge and we had to make a high-risk stop to refuel the batteries. High risk because we risked incurring the wraith of the one they call Mad Maddie!
We glided to a gentle stop while I did a commando roll out of the vehicle applying just enough pressure to shut the door without any offending noise or vibration. I silently fled the vehicle in search of some caffeine.
I was gone no more than 90 seconds when I noticed my wife frantically signaling me from the passenger seat. It instantly dawned on me that the Phoenix must be stirring from her slumber – and our DEFCON Threat level had just been elevated to PANIC! The seismic readings were registering off the chart and my mini Mt. Vesuvius was ripe for an eruption!
Go Go Go – All hands on deck! This is not a drill. I scrambled towards my post, silently praying that all was not lost. I got to the driver’s side door initiating Silent Delta opening procedures while using Ninja breathing techniques to slow my heart rate.
As the door opened, I could sense the creature’s restlessness – I tried to strengthen my resolve, “Steady man, she’s not a lick over seven pounds!” But who was I trying to fool; those tiny lungs could rupture eardrums and shatter windows! The Banshee was nearly awake.
My wife silently implored me to get the vehicle in motion – as she dared a glance into car seat in the back. I slipped the car into reverse and the briefest of shockwaves hit – Maddie was coming to and she did not sound pleased!
I fumbled with the gears and got the car into drive – we didn’t have a prayer! We made it to the ramp heading for I-95 – hitting each gear seamlessly and praying for a miracle. My wife and I cringed as our daughter emitted a little grunt and cough – here we go – All hands, Shields Up, Brace for impact!!
I eased off at 60 mph and locked in the cruise control. Silence radiated from the back seat like a beacon of hope and promise.
A few miles down the road – we realized that we had dodged the bullet. With the crisis averted – Gina and I smirked at each other, basking in the satisfaction of the great escape. However, we also knew that although Maddie was asleep – she was plotting her next strike and next time we would not be so lucky!
What our baby has accomplished in the past three days truly goes beyond the scope. Our little jet setter has traveled the I-95 New York/DC corridor, attended a wedding and even her own baby shower. Maddie made it through each event with class and dignity – charming all that have come into contact with her.
It seems that we might also have an Oscar worthy actress in our midst. Gina and I have speculated that when the crowd around Madeleine grows past the eight-person mark – she plays a little game of possum. No matter how much the volume swells around her – Maddie slips into a rich deep sleep – or does she?
Is it possible that this so called slumber of the angels may just be a ruse? Both parents have noticed time and time again that when Maddie is immersed into a crowd of people – she covertly checks them out. It only lasts about a second and she only uses one eye – but she does a quick scan and then is seemingly knocked out again.
Gina and I are starting to wonder if she’s really sleeping as soundly as she exhibits. When she sleeps with us – she never checks out anything – but in the crowd – she’s actually going undercover.
Is this just a quick check or perhaps some sort of atavistic defense mechanism?
I know what you’re thinking – a nine-day-old infant doesn’t plot anything. But Gina and I are quickly learning that it’s never a good idea to underestimate the one we call: “Maddie A!”