Frankie loves boobs. And while my wife is gradually weaning her off, she is still an avid breast feeder. So Mum’s boobs are still the go-to when it comes to putting the Frankfurter to sleep, including when she wakes in the night like a vampiric banshee. For the most part, we’ve been blessed with a fairly good sleeper, and if she is being difficult it’s often just a case of the hangries. So, for the most part, when Frankie wails it’s Mum who stumbles through the bedroom door holding, as far as Frankie is concerned, a fully loaded Restavit Rocket Launcher.
In an effort to break this cycle, I’ve recently taken over the role of the night-watchman. And the Frankster’s reaction to this has been nothing short of hilarious.
Frankie will stir in the night and begin screeching, as toddlers do. Often, she’ll hear me trudging to the door of her room. This causes the crying to momentarily cease in anticipation of ‘the one with the boobs’ coming to her rescue. I can only imagine the bubbling cauldron of suspense and excitement. The infinite power that she wields. After causing a whole lot of noise and disturbance, she’s to be rewarded with a face full of knockers. Only that’s not what she gets. She gets me. And that will simply not fucking do.
Her initial reaction is akin to being told that Elmo’s died in a horrible Snuffleupagus riding accident. Her arms are thrown in the air and slammed back down again, before she completely collapses face first into the mattress. It’s like a scene from a 90’s action movie where the slightly-crooked-but-lovable cop reacts to losing his veteran partner during a raid on the dodgy warehouse that the Chief warned them not to go near and now he’ll be suspended and have to chase down the generically non-specific Eastern European ringleader of the notorious drug gang. A violent eruption of anger, frustration and utter, utter disappointment. It says to me, UUUGGGHHHHHHH WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?
From here, generally I’ll try and snuggle her a while, as she thrashes around like a freshly caught Sturgeon fighting its way off of the boat in a desperate attempt to slip back into the ocean. Eventually, after most likely losing the battle, I’ll release her back into the crib.
Then, more often than not, she’ll continue to whine, unhappy with the initial outcome. In her head, she’s thinking, ‘this time the one with the boobs will come’. But no, it’s me again. And she really loses her shit now. It’s like the moment a super-villain realises they’ve lost all their powers due to their heroic arch-nemsis shattering the dreamstone they dug out of a cursed Egyptian tomb. Or something. She screams to the heavens and throws herself into the mattress, like Macho Man Randy Savage finishing a foe from the top rope. It says to me, ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS? AGAIN!?
It’s nice to know that, at only 16 months old, I am already a monumental disappointment to my daughter. At least I didn’t have to wait until she was a teenager and we just got it over with quickly.
Sometimes if she gets really, really angry she’ll do a ‘doo throw’, where she communicates her intense displeasure at my presence by aggressively throwing a dummy across the room. This says to me, FUCK THIS SHIT. YOU GUYS ARE FUCKED…
All the while, my wife watches this play out on the baby monitor, in hysterics.
Generally, we’ve been repeating the above process until she comes in, like a SWAT (Special Weaponised Assault Tits) operative, and knocks her out.
Recently, however, we’ve had somewhat of a breakthrough. It’s somewhat of a breakthrough in that we seem to be putting an end to Frankie’s prolonged tantrums aimed at getting a milk cannon stuck in her face, but not a breakthrough in that she’s reacting in a ‘oh hey it’s my Dad!’ kind of way. That’s still very much as it was.
Now the disappointment has become so ingrained that she just throws in the towel. I open the door, she sees that it’s me, and drops her head in anguish… Even if I try and pick her up, she’ll just point back to the bed in a clear admission of defeat. Complete surrender. A white flag flapping in the breeze.
And then, she just cuddles her plush donkey, and goes back to sleep.
So, it seems that we may have discovered a streamlined sleep time routine, in lieu of me being treated like some kind of terrible cover band who’s just walked on stage in front of a packed stadium who were expecting the real deal.
I have become the sacrificial lamb sent to the bedtime slaughter. But if that is my burden to carry, in order to squeeze a few more precious moments of sleep, then I suppose it is my cross to bear.
Because, some of the time, that’s what being Dad is about. To just be there when you’re needed. To show up when your name is called. To take a few on the chin.
So, Dads, mould yours of granite, and not glass.