He has the vise-like grip of a gorilla. He has the powerful jaws of a great white shark. He has the razor-sharp claws of a wolverine. He has the merciless kick of an irate kangaroo. He has diaper rash.
My son, the juggernaut.
In eight short months, my boy Brendan has gone from a little pink bobblehead who didn't weigh much more than a really good dictionary to an aspiring one-man brute squad. Just holding him is an invitation to pain: he grabs and claws at my face, yanks my fingers into his mouth and chomps down. Not that I'm complaining; at least he's not after my nipples. But all the ladies at church just think he's an angel.
OAKLYN, NJ, July 8 - The father of a teen accused of plotting a shooting spree in Oaklyn said Tuesday he believes his son was play-acting when he and two friends were found with weapons and ammunition. Ron Lovett described his son, Matthew, 18, as "basically a child inside..."
I was chatting with a co-worker last week; she's a single mom. Her boy, who's four, is Brendan's polar opposite. He doesn't do well in social settings, whereas Brendan works the crowd with all the charm of a stumping politician. Brendan is a relentless flirt and quick with a grin, especially for the ladies. Being happily married, I have no need to use Brendan as a chick magnet. But I could. Those baby pheromones just reel 'em in.
BURLINGTON, VT, June 27 - Jason Hann pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder Friday in the 1999 death of his 5-week-old son. Hann may also faces charges in another state for the death of a second child, a 5-month-old daughter. Hann and his girlfriend were both being held in Arkansas, where police said their daughter's body was found in a camper. Another child, a 1-month-old baby boy who suffered rib, skull and femur fractures and other injuries, was found with the couple at the time of their arrest...
My beautiful wife has developed the sneaky habit of asking me to monitor Brendan while he naps, so she can run errands. Given that she's the one who has to get up far too early in the morning to feed him, and she's stuck with him all day while I'm at work, it's the least I can do. But I swear, he's got a Mommy Sense that tingles whenever she leaves the house, waking him within seconds. Instead of getting some work done (or conquering Rome...again) I'm tromping up the stairs to yank him from his crib before he bawls. Faced with such a situation today, I ported the snuffling, whimpering snotball (he's got a cold) downstairs and plopped him on the floor to watch his Baby Mozart DVD. I went upstairs to save my files and grab a book to read. I returned to the basement to find that in the intervening two minutes he had managed to completely cocoon himself in a bedsheet that had been left on the floor. I extracted him and he just giggled and giggled.
SYLVESTER, GA, June 23 - A mother who lost custody of her children last year because of abuse complaints was charged with murder and arson for allegedly setting a house fire that killed the two toddlers.... At least three child abuse complaints have been made against Tamari Lovett since 2001, said Renee Huie, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services...
This morning Brendan graduated from his infant car seat to the toddler seat. This is both good and bad. Good, because no longer will we have to lug him around strapped into his car seat (which snaps into his stroller and also into a base in the car). Bad, because if he falls asleep in the car, we can't just lift him, seat and all, into the house. Installing the new seat was straightforward enough: fish the car's seatbelt through this slot, and then fasten it as normal. Only the girth of the seat is enough that the seatbelt must be pulled tighter than latex on Carrie-Anne Moss. I mounted the seat in a position even the Kama Sutra wouldn't recommend and shoved against it, fighting for every micron of nylon strap that Kathy could pull through. With a barely audible click, we got the thing latched. For his part, Brendan sat on the front lawn, eating grass.
LANCASTER, CA, July 9 - The operator of a high desert daycare center was arrested after her two little foster sons were left in a sweltering vehicle for five hours and died.... Authorities said Smoot later told them she forgot to take the boys out of the car and discovered them when she returned in the afternoon...
It's great that Brendan has a set of grandparents right here in town. It's even better that they're first time grandparents. Kathy's mom has had twelve grandkids to dote on, and while we know she loves him, the novelty just ain't there. My folks, on the other hand, love having him so accessible. They buy him clothes. They buy him books. They take videos of him along on vacation, to show their East Coast friends. Me, I'm just looking forward to the day he's eating real food, so we can dump him off at Pap and G'Nee's house and have a night out. Or a weekend. Or sex.
FLEETWOOD, PA, July 12 - A woman has been charged with poisoning her 5-week-old granddaughter by pouring salt into the infant's formula, authorities said. Police said that Merry Long, 43, poured about two cups of salt into a can of powdered baby formula because she was angry at her son and his girlfriend, who is the child's mother.... The mother unknowingly mixed the formula with water and fed it to the baby, who went into convulsions and died...
Eating real food, though, doesn't seem to be on Brendan's agenda. He spits just about everything out -- sweet potato, acorn squash, rice, oatmeal, avocado. Kathy continues to try. I think nipple anxiety spurs her on. He's fascinated by our own meals, usually served hot and eaten tepid. We've almost got the system worked out, though. Kathy keeps a steady flow of toys into his hands while I eat my meal, and then I entertain him with funny faces while she eats hers. By the time we're done, it's his bedtime. It's practically ours. We're exhausted. And we've got to do it all again in the morning.
MAGNOLIA, NJ, July 9 - Authorities in Camden County confirmed Wednesday that three of four bodies discovered in a Magnolia, N.J. home Tuesday died as a result of a murder-suicide.... Neighbors said that Steven Wasserman verbally abused his children in front of them. NBC 10 News has also learned that police had been to the house for domestic violence calls for his wife and children...
I am his role model. I am his favorite toy. I am his provider. I am his transport. I am his mentor. I am his last line of defense.
He is my son. I will not fail him.
If the media is the eye on the world, Russ Carr is the finger in that eye. Tune in each month to see him dispersing the smoke and smashing the mirrors of modern mass communication. The world lost Russ on 2/7/12, but he lives on.
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IF YOU LIKED THIS COLUMN...
7.23.03 @ 10:48a
This brought me to tears for a variety of reasons. Well done.
And as always, I stand firm by mandatory and irreversible birth control for some people.
7.23.03 @ 11:01a
Oh - and you really need to submit this to some of those parenting/baby mags.
7.23.03 @ 11:05a
sweet potato, acorn squash, rice, oatmeal, avocado
Have you considered offering him foods that children might actually like? Think applesauce and chocolate pudding.
7.23.03 @ 11:19a
He does have razor sharp claws, doesn't he? (Kathy). I am missing my last line of defense this weekend (Congrats John and Michelle). Chilling. Parenthood has been challenging (as you all can see) and rewarding. It's so much easier with my cohort. In my defense, the boy hates apple juice so I am sparing him the sauce for now and milk products like pudding are taboo for now (doctors orders). Cookies are choking hazards! Nothing is as sweet to him as my milk anyway.
7.23.03 @ 11:57a
No wonder he's belligerent.
7.23.03 @ 12:03p
My daughter was only five days old when my sister got the bright idea to stick a Milk Dud into her mouth. And they actually let my sister have children of her own after that.
This is wrenching to read, Russ. The juxtaposition of your obvious joy in your child with horrors committed against other kids is stunning in the truest sense of the word.
7.25.03 @ 7:07a
Having gone through divorce, I found that there is a whole host of the population to which I can now relate. In a strange way, I don't feel as isolated as I once did. The same is true of parenthood. And you, my friend, have been initiated. Let the hazing begin! And enjoy this time. Perhaps it goes without saying, but the experiences you'll have with the first will never be repeated. I'm sure you'll agree I know of what I speak.
7.25.03 @ 8:01a
I fully agree. Of course, in scant hours, you'll be a parent to even more chil'rens. Early public congratulations, John and Michelle. I'm leaving for the airport in 20 minutes.
9.24.03 @ 9:49p
And then, there's this. I don't understand it, I can't even imagine the pain and suffering for this family and it simply reduces me to tears.