Now that Hurricane Irene has come and gone, we are back to the business of focusing on our vivacious little vixen, Maddie. Today is actually a graduation day for Maddie’s dad, who now gets to add the title of bottle feeder to his honorary duties of burper, diaper-changer and swaddler.
Before we talk about the intricacies of bottle-feeding – we must first pay homage to the world of the SWADDLE!
More than a year before Maddie was born, I spent a great deal of time with my friends Mike and Connor and his newborn daughter, Kaleigh.
I was always amazed at the lockdown swaddle technique he employed when he wrapped Kaleigh up tight. He would vacuum seal his little girl’s squirming body like a sausage and suddenly, all would be right in Kaleigh’s little world.
As soon as Maddie was born – I always remembered my hard-knock swaddle lessons from her Uncle Mike. My wife is still amazed when the baby starts swinging for the fences and I employ the intricate Maddie Mummy Maneuver. Once the baby is strapped securely into her papoose – she gives me that look that says, “Took you long enough!”
But as I told you at the beginning of the story – today I made my first awkward attempt at bottle-feeding. I understand that this is a technique that must be truly perfected before you can become a true Stay Home PaPa.
It must be very boring to be fed by me – because Maddie kept falling asleep on the bottle. I finally got her take the whole thing – but not without a great deal of cajoling and prodding. Obviously, there will be many more chances to get my technique worked out – but it will never be as fun as the “Lockdown Swaddles.”
Maddie blew town Saturday morning in the wake of Irene and headed for her grandparents place in western Jersey. Riding out the storm with the grandparents has been the quite the adventure for young Madeleine.
She’s been terribly fussy and you have to wonder if it’s the bizarre climatology that’s driving her to the brink. Between the rabid rain and loss of power – she’s had a great deal to cope with.
At around 10pm – Maddie took her dad out for a closer look – We opened the garage door for a little peek at the ill-mannered conditions.
As soon as the sound of the rain hit the baby, her inner commotion stopped in mid-strife. Her eyes opened wide as we watched the rain pepper the driveway. There was barely a hint of wind, but Maddie seemingly put her stamp of approval on these questionable conditions.
But as soon as we returned indoors – the inner turmoil returned with a vengeance. After a restless feeding around midnight, I took Maddie downstairs and left Gina with a portable battery-powered lantern.
Maddie had just fallen asleep in my arms when the power blew! Gina appeared like a character from a Dickens novel behind her lantern. I sent her back up to bed while Maddie settled down for a snooze in the pitch-black hurricane darkness with her papa.
Once she was knocked out – I left her with her Mom so I could join Maddie’s grandpa for hurricane hijinks with the generator and bucket brigading in the basement!
Maddie slept soundly until the winds picked up around 4am. She woke up angry and made it perfectly clear that she’s fed up with Irene and her wicked ways.
What a way to celebrate your first month on planet earth as we are just moments away from Maddie’s Jersey City evacuation adventure. The hurricane is slated to unleash her fury later this afternoon and we are already about 70 miles inland with Maddie’s grandparents.
Little did we know that our daughter had some real issues with our evacuation strategy yesterday and she employed a wide variety of civil disobedience tactics to distract us from our plan. Friday morning started off well with a nice walk in the park – but Maddie had obviously spent her quiet time plotting a little bit of chaos to unleash against her parental units when their guard was down.
Lunch seemed to go well enough – and Daddy was more than happy to take on that afternoon’s burping duties. The baby seemed to be a bit restless when she launched her first preemptive strike of the day. Maddie reared back her head and belched forth a surprisingly generous stream of mother milk down Stay Home PaPa’s shirt.
I looked down to inspect the damage when I realized that the magical goop had already doused my shirt and pasted it against my chest. She looked at me coyly, apparently very satisfied with her art work. It reminded me of a line from the movie Juno, when the store clerk tells a pregnant teenager, “That’s one doodle that can’t be undone home skillet.”
Well that shirt was shot – and Maddie was still trying to figure out new and creative ways to avoid the inevitable evacuation. Since the baby had gotten covered in some of her own goo – It was the perfect time to try the mini bathtub for the first time. Suffice it to say, bath time was a complete success and things were really looking up.
We watched the non-stop hurricane coverage while the baby took a little nap. When Maddie woke up, we went to her room for a quick diaper change before dinner. The change started off well enough – Everything was in the green, all systems go, the finish line was in site, when suddenly my little race car developed a problem.
It was eerily similar to a NASCAR crash on the final lap. First your engine coughs, then it sputters and suddenly parts and oil are flying across the track – Or in this case, stuff is shooting out of our little girl and I have no place to hide.
The yellow caution flags came out – but the damage was already done. I had some post-race cleaning to take care of before more damage could be inflicted. Casualties included my hands, the changing pad, the cloth diaper we use for added protection and even the fresh diaper that was supposed to cover the chassis.
But hey – that’s what dad’s are for – better luck next time.
As for Maddie, her tactics were brilliant – but rain or shine –we’re headed west to seek shelter from the storm with her grandparents. Hey munchkin, better luck next time!
Being born in New Jersey, Maddie thought that of all things she would have to worry about – earthquakes and hurricane landfalls were pretty far down the list. But much to her dismay, both of those anxieties are climbing up the list at a breakneck pace.
Stay Home PaPa is stressing out the family with his evacuation plans and Maddie is not taking it well. She went on the warpath for the better part of the evening. Her only peace came when once again, the only way to soothe her was by going outside.
It was a little gusty outside and that’s just how the baby likes it. We tromped around for the better part of 40 minutes much to Mad Maddie’s delight – but once we came back inside, the dark side reared its ugly head.
Forget about Irene, Hurricane Maddie released the full scope of her fury. Those tiny, but powerful lungs generated winds in excess of 95 knots – tearing trees asunder, overturning mobile homes and giving her dad the beginnings of an aneurysm.
Like the Big Bad Wolf – she huffed and puffed until the house was barely standing. If we board up the windows, it’s hard to tell whether it will be to keep us safe from the storm or the outside world from Maddie’s wraith.
Either way – what’s been a long week is shaping up to be an even longer weekend.