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Again and again and again…

Looking for more George?  He’ll be back soon – in the meantime please enjoy the following “standard” blog post.  Also if you have the time check out some of the other great Fatherhood Friday posts over at Dad-Blogs.

My wife and I did not take any parenting classes, only the ones that prepare you for natural childbirth (and which do not provide refunds in the case of a c-section despite my repeated calls and emails).  I assume that such classes cover the basics of diaper changing, temperature taking, proper college selection, dowries, etc. But I’ve always wondered if they also work on mentally preparing new parents for the constant and mind-numbing repetition that young childhood care has in store for them. This is a vital area that I believe most folks are entirely ill-prepared for when the stork dumps a baby on their doorstep.

Now, I’m not talking about the repetitive tasks that we as parents are confronted with each day, whether it be the mundanity of shoveling  food down our child’s screaming maw, or the weekly chore of hauling the foul-smelling mountain of dirty diapers amassed under the kitchen table out to the curb in the hopes that this time will be the time the trash guys are brave enough to attempt it.  No, instead I’m discussing the dual facts that a) kids love repetition and b) kids love repetition.

I’ve discussed before the insidious sludge of children’s songs, that penetrate deep into the “Don’t Stop Believin’” area of the brain and take firm hold of your unconscious mind.  But this repetition extends well beyond the musical variety to encompass other activities, including the endless ball toss, the ever popular “this is for you” game (where Justine endlessly hands you things), and above all the limitless reading and re-reading of books.

So it is that we find ourselves sitting on the floor of our daughter’s room before bed, a ritual we have cleverly dubbed “story time.”  Despite a plethora of books, from the classic “Belly Button Book,” to the less popular “The ABCs of Infectious Diseases” (I is for Impetago), we still find that for the most part we end up idly flipping through the pages, while reciting the stories word for word by memory.  Our nightly closer, Goodnight Moon, is so ingrained in our collective consciousness that we now recite it from memory in different theatrical genres just to break up the monotony – last night it was beatnik style, the night before as a Norwegian opera.

Even worse than the nightly stories are the bath books.  As you can probably imagine, books that designed specifically to be submerged are relatively few in number, very short in length,  and so it’s difficult to justify the expense of purchasing what amounts to maybe 20 minutes a day of bath-time literacy.  Consequently, we have two bath books, which i can recite for you now if you like.  After all, within a fifteen minute span yesterday  I covered both at least two dozen times, to the happy delight of my soaking daughter and the endless disdain of my prefrontal cortex.

I suppose it may it be foolish to wish for an end to the repetition, as we will be forced to find new stories and activities to placate the growing brain of our little daughter as she matures into toddlerhood. But at least the well-worn neural pathways in my brain might get a rest, and fill themselves back up with the usual obscure historical tidbits and arcane macrame patterns that had previously inhabited them.

At least until the next kid comes along.

- MWF -

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

Posted in Day to Day Baby Living. Tagged with , , .

  • http://www.realmendriveminivans.com PJ Mullen

    I feel for you, I’ve been reading my son’s favorite night time book in a British accent to keep from going insane. Between reading him the same book and listening to him repeatedly hit the same button on the same toy throughout the entire day its a wonder I haven’t reacquainted myself with single malt scotch.

  • Jason

    “Today is a busy day for Bob. What will he need to do the job?”…

    yup, I’m there…

  • http://www.postpartumdadsproject.org Lauren

    All too familiar with Goodnight Moon.

    imagine my horror when the cartoon version came on HBO and my kids saw it. *shudder*

    Anyhoo – just found this when I googled Goodnight Moon. Thought it might give your prefrontal cortex a giggle or two. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/04/opinion/04karbo.html

  • http://lifeofanewdad.blogspot.com Otter

    I haven’t reached that point yet. Hopefully my dimentia will be full blown at that point. Seems like it would be more fun that way.

  • HeirApparent

    @Lauren – Thanks for the heads up on the cartoon version – I just canceled HBO. And that opinion piece from the NYT is hilarious…

  • HeirApparent

    @PJ – The scotch would probably be a nice assist on the British accent, although you may end up reading in more of a “Scotty from Star Trek” rather than a “James Bond”…

  • http://thedevoteddad.com The Devoted Dad

    That is so true! I still can recite Mr. Brown Can Moo, and I haven’t read it in over 6 months because my daughter has moved on Thomas The Train and Curious George. When I first read GoodNight Moon- I was so bored- first read! I have since performed similar variations to try to erase the monotony.

  • http://belladaddy.blogspot.com/ BellaDaddy

    And people wonder why our daughters favorite movie is The Rocky Horror Picture Show…LOL…(edited version, of course)

    Kudos!

  • http://worldofweasels.blogspot.com WeaselMomma

    Well, at least it’s not War and Peace.