Friday, December 2, 2016

Old Dad Syndrome

As I walked past the mirror this morning, something caught my eye. It was me. But it didn't look quite like me. It looked like an older version of me. And then I realized, I am an older version of me!

Actually, the person I saw in the mirror reminded me a bit of my Dad. And then I did a little math in my head (always a dangerous thing.) When my Dad was the age that I am now (forty-ten), I had just returned home from two years as a Mormon missionary. I was 21 years old.

So, just to clarify this comparison, when my Dad was fifty forty-ten, his youngest child (me) was 21 years old and had been out of the house for the better part of three years. Meanwhile, as I am currently fifty forty-ten, I have a six month-old baby boy and a girl who turns two years old this week. And that's not even mentioning the six year-old boy or the eight year-old girl who, believe me, are often worth mentioning, too.

When I looked in the mirror I saw an old man, but that's probably because I haven't been getting much sleep lately. Last night I literally got about one hour of sleep. It started with me being so tired that I couldn't get to sleep until after midnight, despite the fact that I went to bed around nine o'clock. Then, the baby woke up screaming for some reason around one o'clock in the morning. The Wife cuddled him back to sleep, then I put him back in his bed. No sooner had I gotten him in bed than the two year-old decided to start crying. I changed her diaper, brought her in bed with us for a few minutes to calm her down, then put her back in her bed. She was calm for two minutes, then started screaming. I let her scream, hoping she would go back to sleep. The Wife had heard enough screaming and got up with her, only to find that she had pooped out of her diaper. (I had just changed her fifteen minutes earlier!) We brought her back to our bed and cuddled her some more. I put her back in her own bed. She screamed again, for several minutes. This time, though, she did finally go to sleep on her own. Within a minute of her quieting down, the baby started fussing again. He had wiggled his way out of his blanket and was cold. I snuggled him back in his blanket and held him in bed with me. Then The Wife's alarm went off. As I was ready to put the baby back in his bed, the girl started crying yet again.

I'm getting too old for this stuff!

It was a long night. (And that's not even taking into consideration the evening before going to bed, when I changed the sheets on the eight year-old's bed because she barfed in it, even though I was holding a garbage can right next to her to catch the barf. She, instead, barfed in the opposite direction of the garbage can. Because, why not?)

Most guys my age aren't dealing with screaming babies or barfed-in beds. They're just getting up three times in the night to go to the bathroom. (Don't worry, I was doing that in between all the baby screaming, too.)

Sometimes I wonder if this Old Dad Syndrome is worth it. But then the baby gives me a big smile and sticks his tongue out at me while he farts. Or the girl smiles and giggles as we sing "Popcorn Popping On the Apricot Tree" together. Or the six year-old tells me his latest plan to be a construction worker/dentist/school teacher. Or the eight year-old tells me the latest adventures of her and her friends in Pretend World.

They each make me smile in their own way. And that's something I'll never be too old for!

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