Monday, August 27, 2007

Solids, Liquids, & Gas

How often are you confronted with a nagging question, the answer to which you once knew when you were a child? And now that you're an adult, with a career and a mortgage and a family, you have little to no use for that information? Until that one day someone asks you, and you can't remember. And it bothers you so much that you're forced to google it.

Well allow me, with all due respect to the FOX Network (and I mean that sincerely, since Rupert signs my paychecks), to give you a refresher course in 5th Grade Science.

As a new parent, you learn pretty quickly that there are an infinitesimal number of states of consciousness and hysteria through which both yourself and your baby can function successfully. There, do, however, remain just three states of matter in this universe. And my darling daughter reminds me of what they are every day of her precious life.

Let us start with the solids, since they're the newest. Penelope began eating actual food a couple of weeks ago. First it was rice cereal, then oatmeal with bananas. Now she has graduated to sweet potatoes and peas. She's celebrating a very vegetarian Thanksgiving daily. And she's loving it. Wildly kicking her legs and groaning in anticipation between bites.

Still not used to the art of chewing and swallowing, she uses her thumb and fist as a chaser after every spoonful, as if she's doing a tequila shot. That gets the food on the hand, which gets the food on the face and the legs, which gets the food on the seat, which gets the food on the clothes. That leads to her least favorite part of the routine: the post-meal clean-up, where she thrashes like a freshly caught bass, arches her back, and starts yelling simply to avoid the washcloth. And of course, she grabs it when you go to clean her hands, creating a shockingly one-sided tug of war that somedays makes me feel a little less of a man.

Here's a question, Mr. Wizard: if she just ate sweet potatoes, and she spits up, why is the spit up still white? I would actually like to know the answer to that if anyone knows. Kind of like why a driveway is called a driveway when you park in a driveway, and a parkway a parkway when you drive on a parkway.

That leads us into liquids. We've recently been blessed with another new substance oozing from an orifice: boogies. Snots. Yes, Penelope has been fighting a cold. We all have. Isn't that fun! That has allowed introduction of that medieval looking device known most commonly as the nasal aspirator. When my wife first unveiled it and pointed it at me, I had no idea where and into whom she wanted me to stick it. I was nervously excited. You could imagine my letdown after learning its true use.

The nasal aspirator cannot be used until the saline drops are administered. So let me set the scene: Snorty, but otherwise happy, unsuspecting baby. She's kicking and cooing and being all kinds of cute, when you sabotage her with this salty liquid quicker than you would give your kid brother, or in my case kid cousin (sorry, Nick) a wet willie right in the ear. That brings on the frantic blinking and coughing, some of it, we have been able to distinguish, for dramatic effect.

But you're not done. That's not the hard part. Now you've got to play this real-life game of Operation. "You're the doctor...collecting all the pay." Instead of playing with that creepy naked guy with the blinking red nose, you're doing it with this delicate and adorable being you have sworn to protect. "You're the doctor... it's so much fun to play."

It's impossible for Penelope not to see this thing coming at her. And you can't do it quickly, because you risk poking an eye or injuring the nose. Then she starts turning her head back and forth as if she's learned to say 'no.' It's easier to give medicine to the dog. When you finally are agile enough to squeeze this evil little tube into that tiny nostril, and you're lucky enough that the child sits still, and you release it, and the snot comes out, there is actually a little bit of relief on her face. Then.. wait for it.. here it comes... a smile! Now, repeat at least two more times, and then another three on the other nostril. I am they Boogieman.

With the nasal liquid comes another, more annoying one. We are approaching the time in Penelope's life where teeth may start popping through. And that has brought an onslaught of drool. Sometimes so much we actually have to change her because she is soaked. Or just put a bib on her. Picture what that bib looks like at the end of the day, since my wife and I refuse to use more than one in a given day. Caked with drool, snot, cereal, oatmeal , sweet potatoes, peas, and God knows whatever else. We could frame some of them and pass them off as a miniature Jackson Pollock.

As for the gas, well, how would you feel if the only things you ate all day were oatmeal, vegetables, and milk? Exactly. Pretty gassy. Her farts now come like power outages. Sudden, unexpected, and without sympathy. She poops more regularly too, and it's a little more solid.

And there you have it, it all comes down to 5th Grand Science. The solids go in, turn into liquids and gas, and eventually, come out as solids again. Full circle. Isn't it glorious? Class dismissed.

1 comment:

  1. it is my understanding that "parkways" are called such because they were constructed through landscapes so as to give the driver the sensation that one is driving through a scenic, natural park. otherwise, the more attractive brother to the concrete highway. but i could be wrong.


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