Chernobyl/The Best of Days

Sept. 12–13

It’s certainly a bit overwrought to compare a child’s tantrum to a nuclear disaster, but that’s what it actually feels like when it’s happening: there’s searing and immediate devastation which, if not immediately contained, can lead to widespread fallout.

I’ve seen Thomas have a moment before, but nothing like what happened on Tuesday. On three different (and exhausting) occasions, he totally lost his whole damn mind. I’m not sure what set it off…maybe lack of food? Not enough sleep? An unexpected noise? Some combination of the above? Whatever it was, it was awful, and anxiety inducing, and made me feel powerless in a way I’d never felt before. I tried every trick I could think of to calm him down, but one thing I’ve quickly learned as a parent is that you can’t reason with basic instinct. As an adult you learn how to handle things like hunger (I get hangry, so maybe that’s not the best example) or fear, but children — especially relatively newborns—don’t have the ability to cope well if they’re feeling out of sorts. The first meltdown, which was only 20 minutes, felt like an eternity. I also kept wondering how something so little could make so much noise for so long. Eventually I was able to calm Thomas down, but it was a humbling experience. On the upside, Thomas was able to accompany me for an eye test (he literally just hung there in the Bjorn while I completed it) and he even got his civic activism on a bit. Keep that free universal pre-K, Mayor De Blasio.

I was told there would be toys in the voting booth.

The next day was the polar opposite though, I’m happy to report. Daddy learned an important tip from mommy on Tuesday night; Thomas likes to go for a walk (relatively) early in the morning. I’d been taking him out for the first time after noon and I think I blew up his spot, so we were out by 10 am on Wednesday, and it was amazing. The weather was great, so Thomas had a nice tour of the West Village, complete with naps in Abingdon Square Park and by the Hudson River.

Ah, the good life.

We’ve settled into a nice groove over the past few days and had more excursions over to my old hood (Soho) for fun, so I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that I get more Wednesdays and fewer Tuesdays over the next two weeks.

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