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I sometimes wonder if, when I started this little blog of mine, maybe I should have set it up a little more anonymously. Some of the blogs I frequent use letters to refer to their loved ones. Tyler would be T, Sarah would be Ess… You get the picture. I tend to be more along the lines of the full-disclosure type along with a couple of the other blogs I follow. There are any number of reasons why somebody would want to maintain a level of anonymity on the internet. You could have worries about the executives within your company knowing about your personal life. Maybe you work for the shadow government and are under constant surveillance. Maybe you’re delusional, and THINK you work for the shadow government and are under constant surveillance. The list goes on.

My reasons for thinking I should have gone the anonymous route are simple. I don’t want you to call Child Protective Services on me. I don’t want to be exiled from my small town. I don’t want to be ostracized by my friends or outcast from my family. But, in the spirit of full-disclosure, I’m going to tell this story anyway.

Tyler is a brat. Maybe “is” is the wrong term. A better one would be “can sometimes be”. Tyler can sometimes be a brat. He caught a cold last week. As a result, he cried a lot, didn’t sleep very well, and ate poorly. If you were to pile all that into a bucket and take it to your local 4-H fair, it would win Best-in-Show as the “Fail Pail”. Needless to say, we’ve had a rough go of things over the past few days.

Yesterday was no exception. Due to his over-tiredness, Tyler would cry and fuss through feedings, and he fought sleep very, very hard. And, due to Tyler being fussy and over-tired, Sarah was fussy and over-tired. She finally decided to take Tyler upstairs, and they would both (try to) take a nap together, because they both needed it.* I stayed downstairs. I had been vegging out on the couch all day, on account of me being sick also, watching MMA fighting.

Two hours later, the dogs come tearing down the stairs. Ten times out of ten, this means that Sarah is coming down as well. I paused the TV – DVR is modern man’s greatest invention, possibly the greatest of all of mankind – so I could see how her and Tyler were feeling after their nap. But there was a problem; Sarah didn’t have Tyler with her.

After a big stretch, she says, “man, I needed that.”

I reply with, “Is TyTy still sleeping?”

“He. Is. OUT.”

Sarah goes off into the kitchen to start dinner – meatloaf, smashed potatoes, and a fruit salad – and I continue to watch Enoch Wilson beat the snot out of some other guy.

About an hour goes by. I finished watching the fights and was looking through the guide, and I had this… feeling. Staying calm, and doing my best to keep my composure, I start up the stairs, careful to skip the first one because it creaks the worst. I count each step as my foot lands on it. “2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14.” And if you’re wondering, yes, I do count stairs everytime I’m on them. It’s my slight OCD kicking in. I could dedicate an entire blog post to the number of steps in houses, buildings, and fire escapes, or on the color coding and design of parking structures. But I wouldn’t do that to you.

Upon topping the final step, I quietly walked into the bedroom. I see Tyler, smack dab in the middle of our queen sized bed, chillin’ like a villian. Out. Cold. I stare at him for a moment, but don’t see his belly moving up and down. Terror washed over me. I sprinted to the side of the bed and knelt down. I stared, senses sharp as a razor. Nothing, no movement. I’m in a near panic at this point.

And this is where you dear readers will say to yourselves, “What is wrong with that man’s head?”

Have you ever had a moment where you’ve got only a nano-second to make a decision, but it seems like millions of thoughts and scenarios have time to swim through your mind? For example, you’re putting away dishes, when a plate slips from your fingers and goes flipping downward to the ceramic tile floor. You have just a moment to decide whether to let it hit the floor, whether to try to grab it, or whether to position your foot so that it will break the plates fall and hopefully save it from breaking into many tiny pieces. All those thoughts go through your head in a flash. Or a dog dashes out in front of your car. You can brake, go left, go right, or go straight. All in the span of a lightning flash, you rationalize everything. Go left and you could get into a head on crash, go right and you sideswipe the minivan next to you, brake and get rear-ended by the Prius that’s tailing you. Go straight, and you take this dog’s life. As morbid as it is, it happens.

Well, I had one of those moments as I tried to see Tyler’s belly move. On one hand, I was petrified that my beautiful baby boy wasn’t breathing. I wanted to (HAD TO) put my hand on his chest/belly and feel for his breathing. I had to put my ear next to his nose. I had to know. My head was swimming in thoughts. Ambulances, hospitals…. worse. But… hold on just a second… on the other hand… I didn’t want to wake him up. If I put my hand on his chest, he may jerk himself awake, and the boy really needed his sleep. DON’T JUDGE ME!!!

Thank the heavens above, I didn’t actually need to make that decision. Just at that moment, his fingers twitched. I let out a deep, deep, quiet sigh of relief. I put my finger on his palm and he grasped it. And stayed asleep.

*I want to note that I’m not calling Sarah grumpy or anything here… I’m just saying that they was tired and needed some sleep.

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5 Thoughts on “The decisions that we make

  1. Natalie on October 1, 2008 at 3:55 am said:

    i totally get what you are saying. i used to do the same thing. i would blow in my kids faces very lightly which would make them purse their lips. it never woke them though. the thought of waking them was more than i could handle!

  2. A Free Man on October 1, 2008 at 6:11 am said:

    You are a lucky man. That old saying about letting sleeping dogs lay? They meant to say sleeping babies. Never wake a sleeping baby. Phew.

  3. J-momma on October 1, 2008 at 1:40 pm said:

    awww…what a good dad. good post too. your son is a cutie. and yes, preschool is expensive but not as expensive as daycare for a baby or toddler.

  4. LiteralDan on October 2, 2008 at 8:59 am said:

    I wonder about maintaining the pseudo-anonymity I’ve got going at my blog, just because it’s kind of a pain, but I figure I’ll keep it up at least for the time being.

    Watching a baby sleep is asking for trouble– they will almost always look completely lifeless, they sleep so soundly, and you will only worry. All you can do is stick them somewhere safe and hope for the best, or you will go insane!

  5. Joanna on October 13, 2008 at 7:47 am said:

    I usually risk the hand on the belly. It has never woken him up. We’re talking a LIGHT touch here. Or maybe it’s the fact that I’ve done it multiple times in nearly every sleep he’s had since birth. Could be that too.

    There is nothing wrong with counting steps.

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