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05/23/2005

Charlie's drinking problem and other late-night thoughts

Yes, he has one. Just like Robert Hays in Airplane. He grips the bottle in his pudgy little fingers, pushes it out of his mouth, regards it for a moment, then pulls it back in. To his cheek, or his chin, or his nose, or anywhere else where he can't actually drink from it.

It was much funnier when he had a sucking problem (QuickTime, 3 MB, noisy), because then we could just watch the errant path of his fist and laugh. And plug in a pacifier if he got too desperate. Having Charlie help when he's starving and I'm trying to feed him at 2 in the morning really doesn't tickle my funnybone in quite the same way, although I realize it should.

At 2 in the afternoon, of course, I think it's hilarious. And in another couple of months, when he gets the coordination thing down and I can just toss him a bottle from the other side of the room to drink by himself, I'll think it's great.

Charlie and I are neither of us at our best in the wee hours of the morning. So as I listen to him yelling while he refuses to burp, try to rock him to sleep, or pat him in his crib in the vain hope that he will stay down this time, I try to think about something other than how many seconds until he goes to jail or college.

After the fourth or fifth variation on "but that's not important right now" my mind wanders to such observations as, "I never would have thought that having a kid would make my quadriceps hurt so much" or "I wonder whether my knees will hold out till Charlie starts walking." Or "Maybe if I were in an electric wheelchair I could drive to Kansas."

Then comes what passes for wordplay when one party hasn't learned to talk yet and the other is half asleep muttering under his breath. For the past couple of weeks I've been obsessing over what "Soddenfreude" would mean, if only it were a word. I like to think that it describes the happy feeling that makes Charlie smile and kick his legs when I remove a pound and a half of diaper with its magic moisture-absorbent crystals loaded to the brim. Julie says no, it's the happy feeling I get watching Charlie fill his pants while she's feeding him, and knowing that I don't have to clean up the resulting carnage.

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