We all want to be judged, it's in our genes. Everything we do is
being "judged" by someone else. Our bosses at work, teachers at
school, it's even in the evil eyes of the monkeys at the Lincoln
Park Zoo. We are always being evaluated; it's what helps us reach
our own personal idea of perfection. For instance, my wife judges
the way I dress, and I (internally only) judge my wife's sense of
style. I get a better understanding of what she thinks I should
look like, and she gets to feel like she's helping me from being
ridiculed. Needless to say, I've never really cared a lot about
what people thought of me. But that all changed at 7:24pm on
Wednesday April 12th 2006. That was when Lucy was born into our
world. What followed was a new kind of judging system. I would be
judged as a parent! I would be evaluated and ridiculed by friends,
family, and passing strangers, but more importantly I would be
judged by Lucy. This little person's opinion of me is gonna matter.
Every step I took had to have a purpose; I had to be
I began to base all my new found parental decisions largely on a
dream that one day while accepting an Oscar, Grammy, Gold Medal,
Emmy or even a Tony, Lucy will look down at her prewritten
acceptance speech and thank a very special man for all the love,
support, and patience throughout the years without whom none of
this would be possible. The camera would pan to an attractive older
gentleman sitting in the audience with his chest plumed out with
pride and a tear welling-up in his eye. He nods his head with
approval; she blows him a kiss and lips the words "Thank you" to
him. Not surprisingly, that the handsome older fellow is Chase Todd
celebrity action hero and unconvincingly twice her age. I on the
other hand am sitting in a bar watching all of this unfold like Jon
Voight watching Angelina Jolie accept a Golden Globe. That's right,
somewhere during her first years of life I was judged and deemed
not worthy, and because of that, some chump named Chase Todd gets
my seat at the Oscars. This of course is not immediately true, and
only a worst case scenario…
My journey as a stay at home dad started six weeks after Lucy was
born. That's when Cathy went back to work, and left me all alone
with a small impressionable baby. A crying, pooping, eating,
sleeping, sleep-pooping, sleep-crying, poop-cry-sleeping,
cry-pooping, cry-poop-crying and my personal favorite the "when did
she eat chili" poop?
How boring it must be to eat nothing but white liquid all day? I
feel as if I'm taunting her with my steak sandwich, extra blue
cheese, sautéed mushrooms, and a little brown bag of greasy fries.
Damn this is good! I can't wait till she can eat solid foods, foods
with color and flavor: red apples, red meats, red soda, red
popsicles and ohhh sweet Jesus… RED-FILLED-DOUGHNUTS! Yup, she'd
have to wait a few months before she could experience the flavor of
red, but for now it's just plain ol' white breast milk. Sorry Lu, I
don't make the rules. I just follow the simply written caveman
directions from my wife: Feed Lucy. Lucy sleep. This seemed simple
Lucy and I had just begun to settle down for our third nap of the
day, and everything to this point had gone according to plan until
I was startled by the familiar sound of the impending summer
months. Although I could not see it, I was completely aware that a
not so common house fly was somewhere in the living room.
As most house flies do, this one seemed to circle my head just as
my eyes began to close. The buzzing was tremendous and non-stop. I
blindly estimated the size of this elusive insect to be about the
size of a peanut M&M, a peanut M&M, with wings! How in the
world was it possible that I couldn't visually locate this beast?
The frantic buzzing continued; first as an irritating hum of
anxiety, but then it became more of a white noise. Lucy seemed
impervious to the buzzing, and I also became more immune to it. One
last glance around the room and it was lights out. Boy-O-Boy, being
a good dad was easy. Then suddenly I was jarred awake by a sound.
This "sound" was a new sound, a different sound. It was not the
familiar buzzing, but in fact it was the sound of silence that
jolted me from my slumber.
Something was wrong and I knew it. I shot up from the couch,
surveyed the floor plan and then focused my eyes to a black dot on
the other side of the room. Bingo! I had located the creature. It
was still, it was quiet, and it had landed… to my absolute horror…
it had landed! It landed nowhere near the uneaten crust of my steak
sandwich, nor did he stall on the corner of the television screen,
and what I found most peculiar was it didn't land on a small smudge
of dog crap across the side of my sneakers. Nope, that now
non-buzzing menace landed on Lucy's bottom lip, and it was
She was dead asleep and no more than 10 feet away. My initial
thought was to throw a pillow at it, but I couldn't take the chance
of waking up the sleeping Lucy. I had to go about this much more
methodically. Then, just as I stood up, the fly disappeared. But it
didn't fly away; in fact the S.O.B ducked inside of Lucy's mouth. I
froze; if I made any noise perhaps the fly might fly down her
throat and choke her from the inside. Even worse yet… how long had
I been sleeping? Did this stealthy Oreo with wings already settle
down with his family inside the belly of poor defenseless Lucy? Was
she now doomed to unleash a new buzzing menace into this world
every time we burped her? Cathy would absolutely kill me if she
knew Lucy's first solid food was black, let alone a fly.
At this point it became a test of wills. Two forces fighting over a
young impressionable being. We were fighting for Leia! That's right
I was Obi-Wan and the fly was Vader (on a personal level, I would
have much rather been Vader; but seeing as the fly was in black and
I was wearing my wife's ridiculously comfortable white silk
bathrobe, I had very little choice in the matter). His buzzing soon
became the hard throaty breaths Vader was famous for. Lucy, an
innocent and unknowing pawn of war was incredibly still sound
"I see you in there," I whispered as he peeked his dirty little
head from out of her mouth.
"Buzz," he replied with a sense of sarcasm and down-right
"Get out. Get-get-get out," I scream-whispered through my clenched
teeth. As a side note, yelling at a fly doesn't do much good; in
fact I think I just further irritated it.
What if Lucy woke up? What would she do? Would she breathe in and
swallow it, or breathe out and send it cascading down her drool
soaked chin? I had to make a move. I took two steps and began to
close in slowly. I didn't know what was going to happen when I got
to her, but I had a feeling either Vader or I was going to die.
Then without warning he appeared again. It crawled out of her
mouth, over her nose, onto her eye and finally to the top of her
head. Then he began to do that weird leg crossing bug dance all
over her face and I was beginning to panic. I slowly raised my
hand, I was going to whoosh it off her head and send it confusingly
into a closed window where it would crash and fall to its demise
or…. simply smash right through it sending shards of glass
everywhere which would be eerily reminiscent of the infamous Death
She'd wake up to see me standing above her covered in glass wearing
that ridiculously comfortable white silk robe, and I would be
judged! She'd be disappointed at the lack of effort I used to rid
her mouth of the fly. In five or so years she would verbalize this
to her mother, who would tell our friends, who would tell their
friends and I would get picked up by the authorities. Lucy would of
course persevere in the face of this tragic event to win her Oscar.
She would later disown her father, and then out of spite, marry
that Scumbag Chase Todd.
...Then in an instant he zoomed off her head, straight up into the
air. What he did next was a death defying-reverse-Blue Angel-throw
triple sow cow-barrel roll which ended with a laser precise
entrance right back into her mouth. It was like watching The
Millennium Falcon dodging the errant lasers of an X-Wing fighter.
It was unbelievable!
I stood there silently trying to re-visualize what had just
happened, no one was going to believe me, but what I had just
witnessed was the coolest buzzing thing ever! Then I felt it…she
was awake. I wasn't looking at her, but I could feel those small
impressionable eyes sizing me up for future ridicule. Finally, I
drew my gaze down and looked her in the eyes. She was smiling! She
wasn't judging me… well maybe she was, but in my mind she was
paralyzed with admiration. She was in awe at her statuesque father.
Man, I must of looked like a Greek God standing there in that most
ridiculously-fantastic, fit like a dream, tickle silk, manhood
murdering, so silky smooth it makes you wanna pee every time you
put it on--white silk bathrobe. Nope, she couldn't possibly be
judging me. She just stared at me with acceptance, knowing I was
her means of support and comfort. She knew I would never let
anything happen to her and more importantly she had no idea that
that she ate a fly. In her eyes, I was a good father. And
She squinted her eyes, opened her mouth and a left for dead
drool-drenched fly appeared. She'd been baiting me! She knew damn
well that a fly had zipped into her mouth. She set me up! Then Lucy
gave me a look that I could only describe as "Evil Genius" she
pursed her lips together, sealing off all oxygen leaving my
exhausted little foe time for one last faint "buzz" and then she
swallowed. It was done Lucy had eaten Vader.
I was sure that she did this on purpose. She was barely two months
old but she knew exactly what she was doing. She must have been
sizing me up for weeks now, waiting for an opportunity to flex her
power and test my resolve. With one eye opened she peered into my
soul. I knew this was a crucial moment in our relationship; she
knew what she did and thus she had given me my first real task as a
father. It was going to be how I handled this particular event that
would inevitably shape our relationship and she knew it. So what
did I do? I changed the next 12 or so diapers so Cathy wouldn't
find the remains of my little nemesis, which would have no doubt
led to some serious parenting conversations. Other than that, I did
Lucy is now three years old and I've stopped worrying about that
seat at the Oscars and that beefball Chase Todd. As a matter of
fact, I just stopped worrying about a lot of stuff and I really
just focused on the things that are gonna make me a good dad. I
realized that everything was gonna be fine and that I was actually
doing a good job raising little Lucy, and now Ruby. Yup, I was done
worrying. No more lame excuses, paranoia, fear of accusatory
negligence and most importantly I had absolutely no concern that
anyone was ever gonna find out that Lucy's first solid food was a
fly, because on that line in her baby book, I wrote bananas.
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