I must admit, sleeping alone is not as cool as it once was. Sure you have all the room you need to yourself on the bed, but once you have a wife, things feel so empty when she is away. For three full nights I was alone without Marge while she was in the hospital after giving birth to our second child Lisa. At first I thought the idea was great, more room for me for a few days, but then on the first night as I lay there, I realized I had no one to hold on to. It's definitely a crushing experience, and I hope nothing horrible ever happens to Marge because you never realize how much you miss your wife until they leave you for a while.
But the loneliness is gone for the moment, thank God. Marge came home this afternoon with Lisa in tow. She is a darling little thing, so tiny and so innocent, unlike Bart who had the mischievous look in his eyes the minute he burst from the womb. Of course, looks can be deceiving; maybe she is hiding it for a few months before she shows her true colors. Or maybe I am just paranoid, that can happen to any Dad after they've seen what their two year old can do.
Oh well, for now though I can enjoy the company of my wife by my side, she is sound asleep now, I can hear her soft breathing against the pillow. It had been a rough labor for her, shorter than Bart's but still longer than it should have been. This is of course the reason as to why I am awake; I am on cry patrol tonight. Marge needs her rest, I do too but I know that if I fall asleep I won't wake up unless Marge gives me a good shake, and I really don't want that to happen. So I think it's best to try little cat naps while waiting for the cry of a hungry baby.
But sometimes comfort is important too, I decide to turn over and face Marge, her back is toward me so I snuggle in closer to her and put my arm on her side. Even though she is sound asleep, her hand takes mine and I let out a sigh of approval. Yeah life is good. It's had its ups and downs, but really I think it's a good life. Sure both the kids were a real surprise, but that's what makes it interesting. Yeah Bart can be a real handful and a pain in the ass, but I still love him and want to take care of him. Like Marge says, he's our special little guy and now we have a special little girl too.
I smile at the thought of little Lisa and her cute little face that looked back at me for the first time moments after she was born. I was such a proud father, I still am too, it feels great to know you helped create the little miracle. That is until you hear them crying, which is exactly what Lisa is doing according to the baby monitor. For a moment, it's just a quick soft cry, nothing that sounded serious to me. She was probably dreaming in her sleep. Until another cry comes through the system, yup she needs me. Of course I am comfortable now and I don't want to leave, maybe she will stop soon and no one will notice.
"Homie?" I hear Marge say as she lets go of my hand. Well I guess I can't pretend any more.
"I'm on it," I said quietly as I sit up in bed and put my pants and shirt on before stumbling around in the room to find the way out. Time to be a good Daddy.
I enter the room adjacent to ours, a room that we turned into a nursery just for Lisa, the crib used to be Bart's, so of course he was little upset when we moved him to another bed. But I made up for it by making it fun and created a clown on the frame. I thought it looked nice, Bart…well I am not sure what he thinks really.
Lisa is lying on her back at the moment, crying her little heart out. Marge said she would most likely be hungry, of course I would have to change diapers shortly after feeding her but it's what us parents have to go through I guess. I pick her up gently and hold her in my arms; she continues to cry until I rock her back and forth and talk to her quietly.
"It's okay Lisa, Daddy's here for you," I say softly. Apparently that was enough to get her to stop as she slowly calms down while I walk down the stairs to the kitchen. While doing that, she looks up at me with curious little eyes and I can't help but smile.
I reach the kitchen and open the refrigerator and find a small jar of milk labeled "Breast milk: do not drink unless you are a baby." I think it's a good warning, I already learned that mistake once when Bart was as tiny as Lisa. Definitely not a pleasant taste. I pour some into Lisa's bottle and then warm it up in the microwave while Lisa quietly sobs, good thing she is not crying the entire time. I really don't want that this late in the hour any way.
Luckily waiting for the milk to warm doesn't take long and I carry Lisa into the living room and let her feed. Apparently she was very hungry as she took to the milk right away and made happy cooing noises as she drank. She sounded so relieved and happy to have someone rescue her and feed her, and truthfully I was happy to be there for her.
Sure it's really Marge's job to take care of the kids at this age but truthfully, I think it's a good thing to be forced into a late night feeding. It's so quiet in the house this late at night, I can hear the house creaking and crickets chirping outside. It's late enough that everyone is home and you can't even hear a car drive down the road. It's just a nice feeling to sit here alone with my brand new little girl and think about the little things.
Now that she is here, I'm starting to wonder now about her future. I can see in my mind as she grows up to be a beautiful little girl wearing all the cute little dresses her mother bought her. Of course I would not buy those things, Marge has better fashion sense than I do, knowing me I would just find something that resembles a shirt like a potato sack and put it on her. And even though it was a potato sack, I think she would still look cute in it. I can see her skipping off to school with her brother and always excited about new things. In a few months she will be crawling, then she will learn to walk, and then I will hear her cute little voice calling to me while she plays.
I hope I can do my best to raise her right; so far raising Bart has been no pic nic, but I know things will turn out alright in the end, they always have any way. I didn't think I would be living with Bart and Marge when we first started out. I had to work to make sure Marge could take care of her new son. But you can never be away from the one you love forever, the feeling to be with them is too strong and the longer you go without seeing them, the more you're heart urges you to find them.
Still though, I really hope I can give her the finer things, I have a good home for her now, but I know she is going to need to go to a good school when she is older. And I just really hope I can be the best Dad I can be. I guess feeding her and changing her diaper is a good start. In twenty-two years I could be walking her down the aisle. Now that's something worth waiting for.
Lisa is still chugging away at the bottle and I am starting to feel a little groggy, hopefully when she is finished I can sleep soundly for a few more hours before she cries for me again. I let out a yawn and adjust myself on the couch before I hear movement by the stairs behind me. Startled, I look up only to find Bart is wide awake and watching me from the stairs. He should be sound asleep like his mother, but I'm guessing Lisa made enough noise to wake him up for a bit.
"Hey Bart," I say quietly and in a friendly manner letting him know that he was welcome to join me.
Bart stares back at me for a moment, knowing that he has been caught watching me. Slowly he descends the rest of the staircase and slowly makes his way over to Lisa and me.
"What are you doing down here?" I ask as he climbs onto the couch and sits next to me.
"I heard Lisa crying and I decided to come down and watch you," Bart said as he let his legs dangle off the couch.
"Well you should be sleeping, Mommy doesn't like a cranky little boy in the morning," I reply.
"I know…but I've been thinking," Bart begins to say. "…Now that you have Lisa, does this mean you will get rid of me?"
I stare back at Bart, a little startled that he would ask something like that. But I guess that makes sense seeing as how he is often getting into mischief. But he can't help it, he is just a rambunctious two year old, it will grow out with time. I know that by the time he's five, he'll be calmer and not so bouncy like he has been.
"Now why would you say a thing like that?" I ask.
"Well because I make messes and get into trouble. I heard you say that I'm making you lose your hair," Bart replied with a sad look in his eyes that made me feel a little bad for saying something like that. Well it was true, I was losing my hair, might be from the nuclear power plant really, or it could be from him. Who knows, I guess I'll find out by the time he's five.
"But just because you make messes does not mean I don't want you anymore," I reply calmly. I can't put my arms around him since I am holding Lisa and don't want to drop her.
"Really?" asked Bart.
"Of course we want to keep you, you're our special little guy, no one can ever replace you, not even Lisa. You're our little boy and she is our little girl," I tell him hoping that will make him feel better.
"Really?" Bart asks again.
"Yes Bart, we love you very much," I say again.
"Really!" This time I say it a little annoyed so he can stop asking.
"Are we keeping Lisa too?" Bart asks.
"Yes we are," I say with a smile as I notice that Lisa is nearly done with her bottle.
"How long?" Bart asks. Boy for a young kid, he really knows how to ask questions late at night.
"For ever and ever," I say with a smile as Lisa sucks down the last of the milk.
"You too," I reply as I set down the bottle and put her on my shoulders to burp her.
"Can I hold her?"
"Not tonight Bart, besides you're too little to hold her, and Daddy needs her to burp or she will have an upset tummy," I reply.
"What happens if she has an upset tummy?" Bart asks.
As if on cue, I could feel her stomach rattling as I pat her on the back and before I could even think about holding her in a different way, I felt a very warm feeling hit me behind my back. Apparently she had eaten too quickly and her tiny little stomach could not digest it very well. Now I had the remains of it on the back of my shirt and on the couch. At least it wasn't the mother of all spit up; Bart won that competition when he was three weeks old. I was holding him in the air and then got a mouth full of barf; I was tasting that stale breast milk for weeks afterward.
I let out a sigh and hold Lisa in front of me; she looks back at me with a smile on her face, like she meant to do that. I hope it's not the start of the mischief, heaven forbid both of them start a little mob and wreak the place. Nah Lisa would never do that, she just looks to innocent.
"Ewww, Daddy what's that on the couch?" Bart asks as he points to the barf she left behind.
"Another reason why you can't hold her," I tell him.
Bart looks from the couch over to me and Lisa before eyeing the couch one more time before giving it a disgusted look. "Yeah Daddy, that's your job."
"I'm glad you agree," I say rather sarcastically. Of course cleaning up would have to wait. Not only did she let loose most of the milk on the good end, but I could smell something cooking in the basement. Time for a diaper change.
Quietly I climb up the stairs with Bart in tow and make our way into the nursery. I set Lisa down on the changing table and get to work while Bart clings to my leg and tries to watch me do a job I was never fond of doing. He doesn't say a word and I'm fine with that, we are sort of near our bedroom and Marge needs her rest. I can't make too much noise or I would upset her. For about five minutes I clean my little girl up, while trying to hold my nose at the same time until finally all is said and done and it's time to put her back in the crib. But first I have to maneuver around Bart.
"Okay Bart, you need to let go for a minute so I can put Lisa away," I say calmly.
But Bart doesn't answer or move, I look down to see what he is doing and I discover that he has fallen asleep between my legs, his tiny hand still clinging to my leg while he sucks his thumb with the other, his head leaning against me for a pillow. I smile and quietly bend down to unhook the boy from my leg; he lets out a small cry but doesn't wake up. Instead he just puts his arm under his head and continues to sleep. I guess he wasn't as awake as I thought he was. Quietly I make my way to the crib and set little Lisa down. She too is fast asleep now and I know she will be that way until at least sometime early in the morning.
I put a blanket over her before turning over to Bart; I pick him up carefully and let him sleep on my shoulder as I bring him to his room. As I enter it, I am a little startled by the clown bedpost; I guess I had not seen it enough at night to realize that Bart was right about it being a little scary. I guess I should fix that problem in the future. Bart shouldn't have any nightmares over that. Luckily he is sound asleep and doesn't care where he is. I give him a light kiss on the forehead and then cover him up with the blanket before making my way out the door.
I'm exhausted now and ready for some sleep, but that's gonna have to wait for a few minutes; it's time to clean up the mess Lisa left behind. As I descend the staircase, I think about how nice it is to be with my children for a few quiet minutes. It was a great feeling to be with them and I hope I get another opportunity soon, well just as long as Bart behaves like he did tonight.
If you would have asked me five years ago what I thought about having kids, I would have probably laughed at you and claimed that kids were nothing but a burden and nuisance. But now that I have had them, I know it's not all true, sure you have to clean up after them and discipline them, but every day brings about something new and exciting with them. And every day you wonder what is going to happen. Yeah I actually like being a Dad and I don't think I would want it any other way.