b Papa Dog's Blog: "Everything is Back to Norble"*

Papa Dog's Blog

A Thing Wherein I Infrequently Write Some Stuff

Thursday, April 14, 2005

"Everything is Back to Norble"*

Mama Dog was home a bit before midnight last night, and our domestic paradigm has reasserted itself. Just as we were ready to finally go to sleep, Baby Dog belatedly noticed that there had been noise and commotion and woke up. Mama Dog dragged herself back out of bed to nurse and I rolled over and reclaimed the prerogative of going to sleep because I had to work in the morning. Quo the status, evermore.

Thirty-six hours as Mr. Mom may not seem like a lot to you, but it was in many ways a revelatory experience for me. Mama Dog pointed out something that might not have occurred to me; this wasn’t just the first time I’d cared for Baby Dog solo for a whole day – it was the first time either of us had gone it alone. I think I’m justified in considering it an achievement.

A strange thing has happened on the road to nuclear familyhood. When Baby Dog was born, I took the full three months of leave guaranteed by law so that I could take part in the earliest days of our child’s life. We were both tyros at the child-rearing business, though I had a slight advantage in experience, having been around for the infancy of a whole passel of nephews and nieces. Mama Dog and I learned the very basics together. We learned how to change a diaper, how to burp a baby, how to swaddle, how to use a car seat, all that stuff. As much as biologically possible we shared equally in childcare duties during the first weeks of life.

As time went on and Mama Dog grew more confident in her mothering skills, my help became less and less necessary. The three months passed and I went back to work. That got me off the hook for responding to cries in the middle of the night, but it made me feel ever more like an unnecessary appendage in the child rearing department. We were somehow devolving into a Traditional Family where I put on my hat, grabbed my briefcase and smoked my pipe while I rode the commuter train to the office and Mama Dog stayed behind, smiling benevolently at the kinder and vacuuming in pearls. I was still in charge of getting the girl to sleep every night, but the dog could manage most everything else I did as well as I. When even the night-time shushing proved unnecessary, I couldn’t help wondering if I had any paternal utility beyond the twice monthly paycheque.

When this whole Okra thing came up and it suddenly became necessary for me to step up on the home front, I was actually quite daunted. I didn’t know how Baby Dog would react to her mother’s absence. I didn’t know if I could figure out how to make the meals properly. I didn’t know if she’d actually take the formula at bedtime, or what I’d do if she woke up in the middle of the night.

I can’t tell you what a boost it is to my parenting confidence that the whole thing went off without a hitch. I didn’t know it a week ago, but I know it now; if I were ever so lucky as to be a stay at home dad, I know I’d be up to it. For that knowledge alone, these were thirty-six of the most rewarding hours of my life.

Still. Going back to the office today and having to work through lunch seemed like a restful interlude. All hail Mama Dog, the domestic goddess year-round.
*A fabulous prize to the first person who can tell me the source of today's titular quotation. Mama Dog, alas, is disqualified on account of being known to know it. I already gave her a surprise present this week anyway.


Blogger Judy said...

Don't know the quote, but cheers for you for surviving! DH and I trade off frequently...my shift with the boys ends after dinner (except for nursing the wee one), and he frequently takes over during the weekend....we actually fight over who gets to watch the kids, because whoever draws the short stick is mowin' the yard! YucK!

7:27 AM  
Anonymous Mama Dog Duvalier said...

Hi Judy: Papa Dog would only mow the lawn if Baby Dog's life depended on it. In other words, he doesn't do gardening. But, he absolutely excels at everything within the great indoors.

Papa Dog: I knew that leaving Baby Dog alone with you for a couple of days would be a confidence booster, but didn't know how profoundly the experience would affect you. You did exceedingly well and have now achieved SuperDad status!

11:12 AM  
Blogger Judy said...

Okay, it is 4 a.m., I've been up for an hour and, while it is something else keeping me up (sinuses), I'm chomping at the bit to know the significance of your title! I even googled it and came up with nada.


I'm thinking a Chevy Chase line, something about a busted nose, but at this point, my mind is not really in full swing. Help me out here!

2:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I, too, am searching for the source of the quote, "Everything is back to norbal". As I recall, it was from a satire in Mad Magazine in the '60's, about an LSD trip, where the "tripper" wrote a diary during it, the quote being the last line after he "came down", implying that one is never completely normal after taking LSD. We thought it hilarious at the time. But I looked through my Mad Magazines and can't find it.


12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes! The phrase comes from a Mad Magazine article which looked like a picture from a journal. Hilarious. I have been searching for this

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone know where I can find a picture or copy of the text? The pics posted on this site have been deleted.

5:36 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home