The other morning, it happened.
You know. … It!
The moment I’ve tried to hard to avoid. The moment I’ve been terrified of since Myowndaughter has been mobile. Since she’s been able to climb out of bed and walk into … our bedroom … in the morning … first thing.
I don’t want to awaken any pervs trolling the internet for material.
But, you know, this is a big deal. It is for me, anyway. It scared the bejeezus out of me!
I mean, come on, Myowndaughter, walking in!
She’s impressionable! She’s fragile! And if she has my long-term memory she’ll have vivid images of traumatic moments during her third year of life!
Well, I don’t have those memories. But I do remember times when I was two that I wish I didn’t, like that time when my brother pushed my Big Wheel into the street, right in front of a car, when I was still in the damn thing. I need to remind him of that.
I should have known it was going to happen.
It was just a matter of time.
I mean, come on, for more than two years either the Sexywife, or myself, or both of us, have been exhausted seventy-five percent of the time. There have been random — RANDOM (read — few and bitterly far between) — times that we’ve capitalized on the first quick few minutes of one of Mod’s rare naps. Some mornings … three maybe … no, four … no, maybe three … that Mod’s slept late.
But a majority of the time we’re on the fringe of Mod’s dozing or waking, and we’re on the fringe of something ourselves, and we get interrupted. Many a times there’s come a wail at the most inopportune time! But every time we’ve pulled things together before Mod actually arrived on the scene.
But Sunday morning. Sunday! Of all days. Lord help us.
We thought she was sound asleep, but in retrospect it was after seven, we could have known. Honestly, I think we both didn’t care. It had come to this. And after a minute or two — no, more like five or ten … really — nothing could have stopped us, nothing in this world could have distracted us, nothing imaginable could have pulled us apart … except Ourowndaughter.
It was one of those wailing cries, with the first syllable carrying the full intent of the distress and the second syllable just hanging on
She stood … right … beside … the bed.
Whoa! Where’d she come from?!?!
I might as well have been a savage intruder … bad metaphor … an axe murderer. I might as well have tied up Sexywife … no, wait … I might as well have … been something really terrible, doing something unforgivable. Mod was horrified!
I felt shame! Shame!!!!!
Hey, as a kid in small-minded East Texas I was forced into attending Bethlehem United Methodist Church every time the doors were open. Know the difference between Methodists and Baptists? Methodists can read. (Stole that from “A River Runs Through It”). Point is, I got enough fire-and-brimstone by the time I was 12 to build my own bully pulpit. Thank Heaven I moved away from that … far, far away … my freshman year in college.
I suppose this happens to every couple. Maybe it’s not such big deal. I mean, what do they do in Europe? Everyone’s naked all the time, right? I’ve watched Mr. Bean, and Benny Hill. Don’t they all bathe together until the kids are ready for college? Modesty is not a problem there. Shame is not a problem there. But something in my reptilian brain, or mammalian brain, whatever, some instinct told me “BAD! WRONG!”
And even if it wasn’t, to have such focused concentration broken by a wailing little voice just a few feet away. I mean, man! Everything was going well. All the signs were clear. Surely if Sexywife had been concerned she would have said something. And we always hear the kid, pushing open the door, padding across the piled carpet in her footie PJs. Not this time.
Might as well have thrown a bucket of ice water on me.
I jumped the seven or eight feet from the far side of the bed — the scene of the crime — to the bathroom at the speed of light. And I made sure I stayed in there for a good long while. Finally, with all the lights on and everything in order, I emerged.
I wonder if guys must make a bigger deal out of this than women. Sexywife acted as if nothing had happened. And why not? The woman is sacred. The woman is to be cherished. And the woman is the mother (most of the time). Just ask Freud how messed up a kid could be by walking in. Sometimes a cigar isn’t a cigar. The man is dirty, he’s the perpetrator, weilding a weapon of psychological destruction. It wasn’t Oedipus’s sister who caused all the problems! Thank god Myowndaughter is not Myownson.
Anyway, the kid seemed to be fine. I guess we’ll really find out in eighteen, twenty years if she starts sending us her therapy bills.
The Jan. 29 New Yorker cover shows a little kid in footie pajamas standing at his parents’ bedroom door using a camera phone to catch a conjugal moment. I can’t find the covers archived, but if you run across it, block it out of your mind!