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4:53 a.m. - 2001-04-24

PLEASE DON'T LICK THE BABY

Before I had a child to diaper, feed, and sing "The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers" to for hours on end, I never gave much thought to the concept of germs.

And that's "germs", not "Germans". I understand the concept of Germans ... people that live in Germany who wear lederhosen. Thank you ... got it.

It used to be nothing for me to go through the day, shaking hands like a nervous politician, then sitting down for a healthy meal of hamburgers, fries and pizza without washing my hands.

That all changes when you have a baby. Now I wash my hands after using the remote control.

A parent's single goal every single day of their lives, 24 hours a day, is to keep the baby away from germs. It sounds like an easy task but it's tougher than following a foreign film.

Y'see ... Andy has got the immune system of a parakeet. At six months old, he's a germ magnet. He collects germs like they're baseball cards. If somebody sneezed in a grocery store 24 hours earlier and we take him in there ... he's going to be sneezing like a pepper factory manager by the time we leave.

It's natural that if we take him out in public and I hear somebody sneeze or cough, my first instinct is to walk up to the coughing culprit and punch them hard in the ear. How DARE they go out in public and sneeze around my baby. Do they have any idea that each sneeze they sneeze around my baby takes away an hour of sleep that I'll be getting that evening?

Of course, the sneeze brigade aren't near as bad as the total strangers who will grab Andy's little hands with their germ-infested paws and babble on and on about how cute he is. Sure, he's a cute kid ... after all ... he's mine. But please...don't touch the hands. As soon as you let go of his hands, he instinctively crams them into his tiny mouth and sucks on them, which releases every single germ you've carried since 1992 into his mouth, like biting into some squirting gum, thus giving him a smorgasboard of germs to get sick off of.

I'm not sure what it is, but people are fascinated with baby's hands. They'll stick a finger in Andy's palm and there's NO TELLING where that finger has been and Andy will hold onto it like Leo DiCaprio holding onto that raft at the end of "Titanic". And they always say the same thing ... "My! Your baby has a tight grip."

Yes, yes we know. And now he has enough germs in the palm of his hand to shut down the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta. If you really want to experience my baby's grip, let him grab a fistful of your hair. Let's see how cheerful THAT makes you.

As of press time, Andy's got a cold and an ear infection from hell. Which means that every time he sneezes, it jolts his inner ear and he bursts into tears like he's the poster child for colic.

I've tried to explain to him that big boys don't cry. He won't listen. He just stares at me with a facial expression that looks like J. Edgar Hoover after one too many burritos and bawls his little eyes out.

And when he cries ... Daddy doesn't sleep. Noooo ... when Andy cries in the middle of the night, Daddy's standing next to his crib with his eyes closed tight, patting that baby butt with a gentle rhythm and hoping his knees don't lock up and he falls into the crib, thus spreading even more germs on the baby.

I can say this because I spent three hours in bed last night and five hours patting the kid's butt while he moaned and coughed.

And yes ... I washed my hands after the butt-patting marathon.

Like you had to ask.


Whew!

Alrighty then ... there's my column for this week.

I've gotten so lazy these days. I come home at noon every Monday with the distinct purpose of writing my humor column and a few other stories for the paper.

Usually, by 12:30, I'm lying in bed, snoozing.

The easiest time for me to write is when I have just woken up. My brain is fried, things aren't what they seem, and I can usually get some pretty off-the-wall crap to come out of my head.

Sadly, as you just witnessed, that isn't the case today.

I suck.


Oh, I've got that spring cold that 80% of the other Diarylanders have right now.

I think I caught it from Plume. He describes his aches and pains and I'm right there with him, buddy.

Sure he lives in Denmark and it's damned near impossible to catch germs from the other side of the globe.

Hey.

Don't EVER sell Bill Gates short, m'friend. He's probably devised some program where you can catch colds from websites.

Or else that Napster guy did it. He's a freakin' genius, that kid.


Gotta go wake the wife up. BRB.


I think she thinks she's on a Mexican beach. She just ordered a margarita in her sleep.

She's weird that way.


I had a pretty non-eventful day yesterday. I did receive a few checks for my Big Rat campaign from some Diarylanders, which was really pretty cool. The fact that y'all actually contributed just blows my mind. I thank you and will get some hand-written thank you notes in the mail by next week, I hope.

Gawd. I feel like crap.

I have a bucket of phlegm in my throat, my head is pounding and it hurts to open my eyes, so I'm typing most of this with my eyes closed.

I'm a helluva typist. It's one of my more positive traits.

The American Cancer Society sent me a big furry rubber rat yesterday in the mail. Each week they send me some little gift to keep me motivated to raise more money.

I took the rat and put it in the sink of our bathroom in our bedroom and waited for Susie to come home.

She didn't immediately go to that bathroom right away. Instead, she sat out in the den with me for a few hours.

About 8:00 or so, she gets up, goes to the bedroom and I hear a horrified "SHIT!!"

By this time, I had completely forgotten about the rat.

Susie came out of the bedroom and said "Get that shit out of the sink."

So I did.

...And put it in Andy's crib.

The Department of Child Welfare would just looove me.


We took pictures yesterday in our gangster outfits for an advertisement promoting the "Hit Night" thing this weekend.

I was originally going to just do it on Friday night and be done with it. Now I'm doing it both Friday and Saturday, because I really wanna raise as much money as I possibly can.

Besides the Diaryland checks yesterday, I received another $240 in the mail from people.

This would be a whole lot cooler if the checks were made out to me, I think.

Anyway...

I'm tired...I don't feel good and I've got to get into work early because I haven't done crap for the last week to prepare for today because I've been too busy raising money and goods.

With that last bitchy sentence, I'm outta here.

Taketh careth.

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