Monday, September 15, 2014

Man Under the Moon

“Look, Daddy! Moo!,” Link says excitedly pointing at the half-moon directly overhead as we walk into his daycare center. All I can think of is loving him to the moo and back and squashing the inner voice telling me to take him back to the car, speed home and spend the day hugging him and showering him with kisses.

I’ve been chatting him up about the great first day of “school” and how he’s a big boy and gets to go learn just like his older sister since we dropped her off 10 minutes ago and he seems excited. After 5 and a half years as an at-home father it is time for me to start a new chapter.  Last week I had the first job interview and soon I expect to be getting back into my career in investigations.

As I punch in his student number (how can a 2 year old have a number?) on the panel outside, the door clicks and we walk in to the impossibly clean facility. Don’t children attend here? I’m confused. After some small talk and administrative details with the director I walk down the hall toward Link’s classroom. I hear his sneakers pattering along the hardwood floors and see his soles blinking like tiny emergency vehicles (which reminds me of him yelling “Beedo, Beedoo, BEEEDOOOO!” on the way to school when a fire truck passed us). I fear the lack of that pattering when I get home, I smile at the teacher. Does it look sincere? I doubt it.

After she has a little chat with Link about Lightning McQueen on his shirt, to which I know he’ll say, “Ka-Chow!” before he even does, the teacher shows me to Link’s cubby. 

“Well, here are his things. He has a little eczema break out right now, but I forgot his lotion {more guilt, too heavy} so please don’t use anything else unless you have Cetaphil or Aquaphor even though it looks red.” I manage to squeak out before giving him a quick hug and telling him bye. I leave quickly because I know it is best that way and he doesn’t cry, but I put on my sunglasses before I’m out the door.

In the car, I breathe.

At home it is too quiet, so I write.

Tomorrow, he’ll be with me and we’ll pack every minute of fun in our two weekdays per week off school until I get back to work. I’ll cry, we’ll laugh and life marches on under the moon.  


  1. Travel is not good for babies. They get motion sickness and dysentery and there's really nothing in it for them--for them, the living room or the back yard are just as entertaining as London or Paris. My parents never took us to nice places. They might dine out at a real restaurant, but when we were with them they stuck to "family restaurants." Dad was a traveling salesman and we did not accompany him. When Mom and Dad wanted to go on vacation, usually we stayed with a grandparent, aunt, or neighbor, and it was a thrill for us! When we did stay in a hotel, it was a cheap motel, because: we were children! My parents had the sensitivity to know that other adults do not pay for an expensive hotel room or vacation because they would like to have to just grin and bear what other peoples' kids might do. Honeymooning couples don't need to hear whooping teens, or share the hot tub with crapping infants. Businessmen traveling do not need to hear a baby all night. People go on vacation to get away from all that. Babies really don't care if there's arugula on the salad bar or if vegan cake is available, or what time Margaritas are $1 cheaper. If any of those things is a selling point, don't take your baby there.

  2. You are a saint. I wish that's what I'd do, but it isn't. If she can't be bothered to get her own kids toys, why are they even traveling? I probably wouldn't knock on the door that night, because I know that parents are probably doing the best they can. I wouldn't put a note under the door, either--if they weren't doing their best what good's a note gonna do? If they don't care, they don't care. I'm afraid I'd request a room change, make a noise complaint, and if I couldn't get a room change I'd just be tired, sad, and VERY unfriendly the next day, because I don't think very clearly when I'm sleep deprived.

  3. THIS! Yes! This! So much!

    A "good" brother would have babysat the kids so his sister and her husband could have a nice vacation. A baby is going to have a LOT more fun at Grandma's house or playing with cousins, than on a ski trip! Travel is hard on babies, bad for their immune systems, etc... They get dysentery, ear infections, colds, flus, etc... Travel makes babies sick! That is why historically people didn't travel with babies unless they had to.

    It IS selfish to bring a baby. It just is. If you can afford a ski trip, you can afford a sitter. You are asking people to "just deal with" a problem you are creating for them. That's not nice.

    I'm sure I was disruptive as a child. My parents did all they could to avoid inconveniencing other adults. Hotels, fancy restaurants, and sexy parties and vacations, were baby-sitter occasions. We kids were as excited about frozen pizza or fish sticks and tater tots with the sitter, as we could ever have been about a candle lit restaurant full of strange adults..

    As for the letter, it is obvious from the tone of "open letter" that this is not a family who would ever express concern or sympathy for someone who complained to them about anything, ever. Far from sympathizing or apologizing, they are angry and self-righteous. Because they are a group, and the person they harmed is alone, they are sure that the whole world is on their side.

    Given that the complaining neighbor arranged the trip a year ago, odds are very good that she DID request a room change, but that the hotel was full and could not move people around. That does happen sometimes. And maybe she could have knocked on the door, but she was probably afraid to. These are sort of scary people, especially if you're a shy and timid person. Shy loners don't like to confront loud, boisterous groups.

  4. You know what? I bet it is fake.

    I'll bet the mom wrote it to shame her brother for refusing to babysit while she went on her trip. She didn't count on her brother making it a cause celebre.

  5. Self-righteousness at its best.

  6. Laurie Hollman, Ph.D.October 29, 2014 at 5:52 PM

    Hi Eric, You sure sound like a great, devoted dad. Hogan gave me Dads Behaving Dadly and I enjoyed your chapter. I wanted to invite you to November is Dads Month at my blog, Parental Intelligence. I'll be writing about dads helping kids with fears, dad guilt (I heard a bit of that in this post of yours), Dad empathy, Dads and Daughters and more. Please visit and comment leaving your blog address if you wish for other dads to see.
    Join me at


  7. Calling someones child a brat does not endear anyone to your side of the argument.

  8. Why should they have to move? They are not the ones with the loud child.