5:00am is the new 8:00am

“Oh look, another sunrise,” I said to my wife Kara yesterday, as the black sky turned to gray outside our bedroom window. “Wouldn’t it be a shame if we missed one of those?”

Our newborn son Evan is quite the sunrise enthusiast, though unfortunately he’s not a big fan of watching them alone. Some parents dream of their children someday showing up on a box of Wheaties, but I think Evan has a much better shot at replacing the rooster on the Corn Flakes box.

Every morning just as dawn begins to break, he crows, “Waaaaaaah!” which is baby for, “cock-a-doodle-doo!”

At least Evan is cuddlier than the actual rooster that lives in the woods behind our friend Christi’s house. Presumably having escaped from a local farm, the rooster prefers to announce the arrival of each new day from the top of Christi’s shed.

“After a few months, you don’t even hear it anymore,” Christi told us. She called the local animal control officer, a person that I didn’t think existed outside of Marmaduke cartoons, and found that the plucky rooster had been evading capture and generating phone calls for over a year.

“We’ve given up on catching it,” the officer said, probably whilst absent-mindedly twirling a giant butterfly net.

As Christi described the story of the escaped rooster surviving in the wild, thwarting its potential captors and crowing triumphantly every morning, I began to wonder if perhaps, instead of telling the story to us, she should be trying to sell it to Pixar. Or one of those companies that makes movies like Pixar, except bad.

While Evan won’t be voiced on the big screen by Billy Crystal anytime soon, he does a fine job of vocalizing for himself.

“I think we need to carpet the walls,” I said to Kara, wincing as Evan screamed while his bottle warmed on the bedside table. One thing fatherhood has taught me, besides the incredible variety and velocity of things that can come flying out of the human body, is that if you don’t want anyone screaming in your face, you shouldn’t sign up to be a referee or a parent.

“It’s good that he’s crying,” Kara said. “It’s his job to let us know when he needs something.”

“Why does he have to be such a workaholic?” I asked.

“If his crying wasn’t loud and annoying, you could ignore it,” Kara said, waxing scientific. “If babies didn’t scream in your face, maybe you wouldn’t be as driven to give them the kind of care they need.”

“Yowch!” I replied, as Evan reached up and grabbed a fistful of my shirt, ripping out the chest hair behind it. With his recently discovered pneumatic grip, Evan has become the scourge of jewelry and body hair everywhere. Kara stopped wearing necklaces last week. If she hadn’t been too wimpy to ever get her ears pierced, she would have had to stop wearing earrings, too.

You’d think someone who had been through childbirth from the stirrup end of the transaction would scoff in the face of the piercing gun, but Kara still won’t even think about getting earrings. It’s too bad Piercing Pagoda didn’t have a shop set up in the maternity ward; Kara might have had enough drugs in her that day to consider it. In any event, after nearly ten years together, I’m running out of ideas for presents.

Also, since my pro wrestling career never took off, I thought I might get through life without ever having to shave my chest. That it took the arrival of our son to make me seriously consider manscaping is just one of the many surprises that parenthood has held. And one of the few that didn’t arrive at 5am.

You can press the snooze button with Mike Todd at mikectodd@gmail.com.

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