salty faced baby

I’m sitting here in the dark. The sink’s running behind me. (I’m in the kitchen.) The baby is on the floor next to me, in her car seat. It took an hour and a half, but she’s finally stopped screaming. Now she’s just kind of sobbing in her sleep. She hates me. It happens every Tuesday night, but some are worse than others.

Linette has something she has to do every Tuesday night, so it’s just me and the baby – for five hours! It usually follows the same pattern — we walk the dog together, we come home, I feed her some organic sweet potato, we play for a while on the floor, and then she realizes that she hasn’t seen her mommy in a while. Everything’s great until then, but at that point it all starts to fall apart. I try to feed her the milk that Linette left, but she won’t have it. Somehow she manages to make her tongue a solid cylinder that blocks the nipple of the bottle from getting in. Her face crinkles up into something that could best be described as Sam Donaldson-esque. The blood drains from her forehead. It turns pasty white. Pimples rise up on her chin and cheeks. The tears, after the first few minutes, begin to leave white streaks of salt down her chubby, hot cheeks. It breaks my heart. And it doesn’t stop.

Tonight, the screaming started at 7:00 and went until 8:30. Now, I’m just sitting here in the dark, hoping that she sleeps until 10:00, when Linette should be getting home. The water’s running (I thought it might calm her), she’s still sobbing in her sleep, and occasionally the dog will amble by and poke her snout in, wondering what in the fuck’s going on. I just have to hope that the dog doesn’t bark and that I don’t cough for one more hour… I think there might be a cough-drop across the room, but I don’t dare try to get to it. (The only reason I have my laptop is because it happened to be on the kitchen counter, within reaching distance.) I don’t dare move… Do you remember how , in the first “Halloween” movie, Jamie Leigh Curtis curls up and hides at the bottom of the closet, hoping not to attract the attention of the knife-wielding Jason Vorhees? Well, that’s pretty much the situation I’m in now. I sitting here on the floor, curled up into a ball, terrified of my 6 month old daughter and what might happen should I wake her.

When I first realized that the laptop was above me, on the counter, I thought that I’d get it, pry it open slowly, and begin typing softly about the news, the controversy over the announced winner of the Clementine drink contest, and the woman who wants our John Ritter cutout, but I really don’t feel like doing any of that right now… Actually, I think I’m just going to curl up here on the tile beside the baby and take a nap… I promise that I’ll be back in form tomorrow.

Good night, my invisible friends.

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24 Comments

  1. Brian
    Posted February 1, 2005 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

    Jason Vorhees was in Friday the 13th, not Halloween. Your thinking of Michael Myers.

    Anyways, my brother and his wife have a kid and I baby sat for a few hours one night. It was the same thing. Playing, laughing, making fart noises, and then screaming bloody murder for an hour.

    They came home and I went to bed. I never felt so drained in my life!

  2. Posted February 1, 2005 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    Oh yeah, check the link.

  3. mark
    Posted February 2, 2005 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Yup. Michael Meyers. I told you that I wasn’t thinking straight last night, right? I was a mess… I don’t want to volunteer Clementine for duty in Iraq, but I’m confident that she could break even most hardened insurgent in a matter of minutes.

  4. Kristin
    Posted February 2, 2005 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Mark- I will come over Tuesday nights and jiggle the baby for you if you like. I know that will not stop her from knowing that Linette isn’t there, but at least you would have another adult to whimper with.

  5. Chris
    Posted February 2, 2005 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Mark, I have the opposite problem with my baby girl. Imagine if you were the one she was attached to and she would begin the bloody shrieks every time you left the room. I have to try to leave for the office every day before she wakes up. Just to keep the house in a fairly quiet state, I have to take Jayne to the gas station, to the grocery store, to pick up food at restaurants, or to just go into the other room to change shirts. My wife thinks this is hilarious. However, on the rare instance she does go wack when she’s with me, I find that handing her a lit up flashlight usually does the trick. Keeps her spellbound for about an hour. However, you should also have the video camera within reach to film this. You’ll want to guilt her out in the future.

  6. pat
    Posted February 2, 2005 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Wish my visit would include a Tuesday night to help you out – but you’re on your own. Hopefully Clementine will be nothing but pleasant with me.

  7. pat
    Posted February 2, 2005 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    By the way, the flashlight seems like a good idea. Try it next time.

  8. DR
    Posted February 2, 2005 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Mark, I love that your mom is now reading and posting comments on your blog. Hi Mrs. Maynard!!
    Remember the fear you lived in for so long, dreading the day your parents would find out about it? Now, they are fans.

  9. pat
    Posted February 2, 2005 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Well Dan, it took me a while to to be able to read some of it but I try my best to find the humor in it. Miss seeing you – bring the family and come for a visit ANY TIME!

  10. JF (Visitor)
    Posted February 2, 2005 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    DR and Mrs. Maynard. This is becoming a NJ reunion website. Just checked in to see what was going on here these days. Mark any parent can sympathize with your Tuesday night plight. Hang in there. Blasting music always worked well for me. Maybe not the kids but sure blocked them out well.

  11. JF (Visitor)
    Posted February 2, 2005 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Dont worry Mrs. Maynard me and MB find the humor in it as well. That is why we stop by once in a while.

  12. Tony Buttons
    Posted February 2, 2005 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    I just saw a website jump the shark with my own two eyes. I can’t believe it.

  13. pat
    Posted February 2, 2005 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Hey Jerrod – how are you? One of these days all you guys will have to get together and catch up. Hope you and your family are doing well. Doesn’t Newton seem a long, long time ago. (Never mind, it was!)

  14. JF (Visitor)
    Posted February 2, 2005 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    We probably dont have much in common anymore based on what I read on this website. Our views are polar opposites.

  15. pat
    Posted February 2, 2005 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    That’s what makes life interesting.

  16. Tony Buttons
    Posted February 2, 2005 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Damn, watch that shark go!

  17. JF (Visitor)
    Posted February 2, 2005 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Swimming fast Tony. Soon we will swap kid stories and talk about the good old days just for you.

  18. Posted February 2, 2005 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    That reminds me of when I was 13 and was left babysitting my newborn baby sister from about 6pm to 3 or 4 am every weekend night while my mom and the guy she married went out to party. I would spend the entire night walking around, holding her, patting her back and singing until she went to sleep. Then the second I stopped to try to put her down she would snap awake and resume screaming. It was Hell. But it prepared me for my own offspring. So by that logic, you should be aces by the time you have grand kids.

  19. chris
    Posted February 2, 2005 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    Hmmmm, jumping the shark tank is a little harsh but I will join that audience if it is true that Mark spent part of his formative years in the uber priviledged Newton, MA.

    Reg-screaming baby, the sling didn’t work? When they’re in there they don’t seem to realize its dumbass carrying them (not you Mark, just husbands/fathers in general and this condition doesn’t usually set in until after the second child and mom’s been a SAHM for well over 5 years, and no that doesn’t mean its all the woman’s problem)

  20. Posted February 3, 2005 at 3:11 am | Permalink

    “the uber priviledged [sic] Newton, MA”? Well, some parts of it. I grew up there and we were on food stamps for a while, so all is clearly not what it seems from the outside.
    Anyhow, NJ was mentioned and I think there is a Newton, NJ.

  21. mark
    Posted February 3, 2005 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Yes, I spent a few years in Newton, New Jersey. That’s where I went to high school. And, it seems as though some of those folks, and my mother, read this site. (The fellow chatting with my mom right now is my old friend Jerrod. I can’t remember all the aliases he’s used here in the past, but he was quite active a ditto-head troll before he fessed up and told me who he was.) It

  22. Posted February 3, 2005 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Mark, I know exactly what you went through the other night. When I lived in SF I offered to babysit for a colleague’s twin daughters so that he and his wife could escape for a night. I wasn’t completely stupid as I recruited a friend to go with me. Well, those two little darlings screamed bloody murder the entire freaking time. I sang Do Re Mi about a thousand times as it’s the only song I know all the words to when I’m stressed. I walked and sang and sang and walked and passed babies back and forth for HOURS!!! I was ready to cry myself. Finally, the colleague called because they wanted to go to a movie after dinner. I felt bad but they came straight home. Damn Stranger Anxiety!

  23. dragon
    Posted March 21, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    Dear MarkMaynard:

    I received an email last week which was quite disturbing and, to say the least, disgusting. It is about dead babies that can be bought from hospitals in Taiwan for $70 to meet the high demand for grilled and barbequed babies!

    I am sure this must be a hoax, although the message comes with an attached slide show, showing how the baby is prepared, cooked and eaten.

    Could you please investigate?

  24. Edward
    Posted March 22, 2011 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    The market for salty faced barbequed babies dried up considerably in Ypsilanti once J. Neil’s closed on Michigan Avenue.

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