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Saturday, January 5, 2019

Ready or Not, Here I Come - The Nightmare on Second Avenue

It is Saturday morning, 3 AM, and I am unable to sleep, filled with dread. My wife has a small cold.

So what, you may ask, is the reason for the level of my concern. What could make such a seemingly innocuous issue a potentially calamitous event?




My granddaughter was born 16 weeks ago yesterday, September 14th to be exact. She is as perfect as is anyone's first grandchild, brilliant far beyond her days, with a newfound belly laugh that is as cute as anything you could ever imagine. And the time I spend with her, well, you know how the rest of the sentence reads..



My daughter went back to work shortly before Christmas. My wife and I volunteered for babysitting duties every Monday. Actually, I volunteered for seven days a week, but my daughter said that would kind of defeat the purpose of grandparent visits.


The day with our granddaughter begins about 8 AM and ends around 7 PM. There are the feedings, the changings, the naps, the playtimes, the walks in the neighborhood, weather permitting. Rinse and repeat a few times and then it is over. E-z, P-z. Two on one, that is.

My wife and I have a simple division of labor worked out. She does everything hard and I just play with the baby. It is exactly the way our marriage has gone for over 40 years. She toils endlessly and I try to do no harm.


  • As anyone understands who has either read my blog posts or been in my presence for more than 60 seconds, I am a total disaster as a functioning human being. People who know me for decades still have a difficult time believing it is not some elaborate ruse, that I really can't be as illiterate in the ways of the world as I appear. Trust me when I tell you I am not bright enough to create such an ingenious scheme. I really am that frighteningly incompetent.




Back to my wife's small cold. You see, if she does not improve in the next approximately 53 hours, come 8 AM on Monday, I may be flying solo for the day. Mano a mano (or womano to be more precise). That little, sweet bundle of joy now turned into a series of complex equations that I must solve in rapid order.



The milk must be warmed in a bottle to precisely the right temperature, like a real life version of Goldilocks. This mandates my heating up the water on the stove (if you think this is a given, think again), placing the bottle in the water, testing the same by squeezing a drop or two onto my finger (without creating a first degree burn) and then feeding that most precious child.

This means getting the bottle at the correct angle, holding it there for a prolonged period, burping my granddaughter, or attempting to, without overly annoying her or otherwise committing some egregious error of omission or commission.

If you are saying to yourself, this guy is an idiot, you are starting to catch on.



And let's assume that somehow I muddle through this undertaking without overt disaster, I next face the daunting task of changing a diaper and the clothing which will inevitably have the markings of you know what a few times over the hours of my labor. The odds of everything running smoothly on the changing table are just about the same as your winning the lottery tomorrow. Congratulations on your becoming the next billionaire. A dollar and a dream.

That trip in the stroller around the neighborhood? Forget about it. The possibilities of my getting this little person into the correct position, hooking her in and having her comfy and cozy as we meander for an hour or two in freezing temperatures are as likely as your winning the lottery on consecutive days. Two dollars and two dreams. They haven't even invented a word to describe the chances of this happening.

So now, instead of it being the best day I could imagine, watching my daughter's daughter do what she does, thinking back to when my little girl was a little girl, this endeavor suddenly shapes up to be the nightmare on Second Avenue. Hoping that the baby and I are on speaking terms at the end of the day. And praying she will not remember, when she is grown, the time she was left alone with a loving but totally helpless and hopeless grandfather.

But really, what is the worst that could happen? If she didn't eat for 11 hours she would  gain a healthy appreciation for how fortunate she was to be fed regularly. If her diaper was not changed she might learn self control and be toilet trained virtually at once. If she stayed inside all day she would understand how meaningful being out and about really was. In fact, having me babysit alone for a day could be invaluable, teaching her more lessons than she could ever learn if her grandma were there to "properly" oversee her care.

Maybe this will work out after all. Ready or not (and I am definitely not) here I come.






6 comments:

Amy Cohen said...

Hahaha. Get well soon, Joanne!! (No really. SOON.)

Skip said...

You’re too hard on yourself. I still don’t believe you’re an idiot, just not adapt to adult male abilities. PS, you’re probably the second best grandfather. Just saying.

Unknown said...

🤧😷.....face mask for joanne will prevent the breakdown on second Ave...it helped us.😃

Anonymous said...

Can’t catch my breath from laughing!
No matter which course you take, you’re a winner, Grandpa.
Can’t wait for Tuesday’s blog!
...And hope I’m around to have one of my great grandchildren read me the one C writes in or around 2039!
Rest up JN!! 😘❤

EA

Anonymous said...

Adorable! Not easy but
you will be fine ! It is the best!

LB

Anonymous said...

Laugh out loud funny. So have hope. There is something you do really well. Actually two: think and write. And of course love your baby grand daughter.


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