My go-to solution in the case of a Bub incident isn’t very scientific. It isn’t based on baby books or politics or even ergonomics. It’s based on movement. Lots of movement, with a side order of big goofy grin. I call it Daddytainment.
Necessity is the mother of invention, true. And sometimes it’s also the invention of stupidity. When Baby really gets to wailing in the banshee-blushing register, it forces your hand a bit. You have to innovate, extemporize. You have to act a fool. Luckily, this comes pretty naturally for me.
Case in point: We were having a little quality tummy time today. Crawling thus far is not coming naturally to the lad, so I got down on my man-belly with him. What I immediately realized is that I have completely forgotten how to crawl. It’s totally not like riding a bike. What I did instead—aside from provide a poor model—did create a veritable chucklefest. Point for Daddy.
My demonstration of crawling was much more in the vein of Sean Connery in The Untouchables dragging himself through his apartment, all riddled with bullets, leaking blood the way a K-Car leaks transmission fluid. Okay, minus the blood, bullets and cinematography, but otherwise spot-on. Now for some reason when I put my arm ahead of me perpedicularly and said, ‘Puuullll,’ it brought down the house. The House of Bub.
He’s been laughing now for a few months. The first time I heard it of course I thought he was choking to death. But with an incongruously satisfied look on his face, the way one might choke on beluga caviar. I think it all started with his toy telephone. Every time I answered the phone, he would look at me and then giggle his face off when he learned it was for him. This routine has been since downgraded to smile-only, but it’s earnest.
He also likes my stubble. One day on the changing table, in between zerberts (another fan favorite), I grabbed his flailing hands and stuck them to my cheeks. As he dragged them across about four days of slovenly manliness, he started gut-laughing. Too bad that doesn’t work for Mommy.
Yes, my bag of tricks is pretty deep these days. We’ve got a rigorous karate-kick routine, in which I play the role of the dead-weight bag. We dance (I lead). If he’s in a bad way, sometimes I have to go above and beyond. Sing Vampire Weekend at the top of my lungs. Play some Eddie Van Halen air guitar. Generally sacrifice my body for a cheap laugh. I never thought I’d call myself a Vaudevillian, but if the clown shoes fit…
It occurs to me now that many moons ago, I played a nearly identical entertainment role as that of the older brother. My lot in early life, to dazzle my brother by any means necessary. I served up a fine comedic cocktail of two parts slapstick, one part screwball, with a splash of obnoxious that my brother would drink up for hours on end (or so I’m told). Who knew it would come in handy thirty years later?