“Yesssss” I said to a group of friends. I had just laid my six week old daughter down to sleep. Yep. You got it. No help needed from my wife Saturday night. I had things under control.
“Good job, dad” said one of our friends. “You must have the magic touch” another person said. Wow. This felt good. “I guess it must be the father’s touch that she likes and after all I have been laying her on her side. She sleeps perfectly that way for about three hours at a time.” They looked at me like they were impressed. I smiled because it felt good.
At that point, I gave my wife a high five, sat down, and started talking with some of the guys who were pretty impressed at this point. Then the unbelievable happened. The unthinkable, unimaginable, and frustrating moment.
She cried. It wasn’t a soft mellow cry. She really cried. She screamed like someone was torturing her. She was not happy. She was not sleeping. She was irate and appalled by my actions. She needed something else. She was my little six-week-old daughter.
It was terrible. Everyone stared at me. The guys laughed. The ladies said that my touch must not have been so magic after all. I wanted to hide, not in another room but in a cave somewhere in another country. I felt my body sinking in my chair.
My wife walked back to the bedroom, soothed our daughter, bundled her up, and laid her back down to sleep. She returned to the living room where we all were. Five minutes passed. Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes.
Then they started looking again. These weren’t casual glances. These were the “you thought you were good, you moron” kind of glances. The kind that makes you want to vomit. The kind where you realize someone else just schooled you in putting your child to bed, and that someone is your wife.
Then they mocked me. First it was with their eyes, then it was with their words. “So much for the father’s touch,” one person said. “Spoke too soon didn’t you,” Mr. I’ve Got it All Down Dad. At that point, I would have changed limitless diapers if I could just take back my arrogant words and actions from earlier.
My haughty words built myself up. I fueled the flame by bragging. My daughter still cried and my wife put me to shame in the parenting department. I realized the error in the way I’d been acting. I felt shame in my pride.
In something as laying my child down to go to sleep, I let myself, my wife, my friends, and my daughter down. In a simple thing, I boasted in myself and was overly confident of my achievement. It came back to bite me.