Sunday afternoon, the temperature dipped below 100, so Sean and I ventured out into the backyard to putter around and enjoy some fresh air. Having been indoors since the 4th of July, we both immediately began hacking and coughing. Apparently our lungs were no longer familiar with this fresh air stuff and were trying to reject it as a foreign substance.
After we acclimated, I got busy pulling weeds and stomping down mole holes and trying to spruce up our sorry yard. Sean got busy dragging every toy he owns out into our sorry yard. I noticed that what few leaves remain on my fern, have little black dots on the back, so I foraged around in the garage until I found some sort of fungicide. I gave the fern last rights, made the sign of the cross and then anointed it with the fungicide. I don’t think it will do much to deter its demise, but I will know that I did all I could and that it’s going to a better place. And it makes me feel like I’m doing something in the same way that stomping down mole holes makes me feel like I’m doing something. The black dots and the moles laugh at me. This I know. I hear them chuckling outside my bedroom window after dark as I’m trying to go to sleep.
After administering extreme unction to the fern, I noticed my neighbors strolling up the jogging trail with their 6-week-old infant. I was at their Christmas party when they announced they were twenty minutes pregnant, so I have been waiting to see this little fella for quite some time. I set down the fungicide and ran through the gate wiping my hands on my pants as I hurried around to greet them and get a look at their new little guy.
They both sported that glazed-over walking-dead expression that all new parents wear. They proudly told me they were getting four straight hours of sleep now and how that has made them feel so much better. I told them I remembered what those first months were like — the lack of sleep and the non-stop crying. And the baby cried a lot too.
I tried to offer her encouragement, telling her that I’d been there and that I know how crazy it can be. “If you ever need a break, I’d be happy to come over and help you out,” I offered. She raised her eyebrows and her eyes grew wide, so I continued talking, thinking she must be thrilled to have an offer of help from someone like me who knows what they’re doing. “If you’re having a tough day, just give me a call and I’ll pop over and watch the baby while you take a nap or get out of the house for a little while or whatever.”
I noticed she was looking past me as I enlightened her with all of my fascinating mothering know-how, but I assumed that with so little sleep she was probably having a hard time focusing. She finally interrupted my blathering and asked, “What’s that bottle of stuff Sean is holding?” I turned just in time to see Sean spray fungicide into his ear.
“What? Oh that? That’s nothing. Just a little…um… fungicide.”
I ran through the gate and tried to wrench the bottle away from Sean. We wrestled it back and forth for a while like two actors in a bad movie trying to gain control of a gun. After a brief scuffle, I finally snatched it away from him, but not before I sprayed myself in the eye in the process. When I victoriously turned back to my neighbors, I could see out of my of my one good eye that they were hurrying on down the jogging path.
After that display of skillful parenting, I’m sure she’ll be calling me real soon to help her with her baby.