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I Get My Smile From Her

by Vincent Maertz about a year ago in children
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No sleep for the weary

I’m losing my mind. In the past four days I’ve lost a jacket, $100, and a new prescription. To be fair, I believe the jacket and pills were stolen from my vehicle while I was working, and I only think that because none of my camera footage at home shows anybody going into my vehicle at night. The $100 I think worked its way out of my back pocket at the post office when I went in for mail on the same day everything else went missing. I assumed I had misplaced all of it and couldn’t remember where because of my complete lack of sleep and a combination of said new medicine which makes me feel a little loopy.

I’ve had chronic back pain for a few years now, and the MRI confirmed some arthritis, and the X-ray confirmed some other supplanting of vertebrae. The pain actually comes from muscle ache because they (the muscles) are trying to pull my spine back into alignment, and I do no real stretching so they are all just knotted up back there. I went to a chiropractor for a bit, but I couldn’t afford that. They want me to get steroid injections, but I can’t afford that—yes, even with insurance—and now I’m onto a massage therapist. I had my first deep-tissue massage last week and she got into some muscles that I had only unsuccessfully tried digging at with the corner of a bed post and a tennis ball, and it felt amazing (the massage.) I can’t afford it in the long run, but for a while I think it will help me through the day.

My first new medication is called Cymbalta, which is a non-narcotic medication commonly prescribed for depression, nerve-pain management, fibromyalgia, and more. My second new medication—the one that was stolen, or maybe I really lost it somehow—is called Artane, and it is a replacement for Mirapex, which handles my RLS. It works quickly vs. Mirapex which can take up to three hours to take effect. I have plenty of the latter on hand to make it to my next refill, so I’ll not worry much.

Exhaustion has my number. Many nights I get fewer than four hours of sleep, and I rarely am able to doze for longer than two hours at a time. It is currently 7:14am and I have been awake for nearly three hours. Elsee was hungry at 4:30, but she was crabby for a while after she ate, so here I am. My fatigue takes a back seat to fatherhood, and no matter how tired I am, the baby wins, and I succumb to her little squeaks and cries.

She is becoming quite a little chunk. Her little arms and wrists are just a complicated series of folds and wrinkles that a Shar Pei would be envious of. Her belly is bloated like Daddy’s, and for roughly the same reason; we both panic eat every couple hours and pretty much lounge around. Her little cheeks, oh man, it looks like she’s holding on to a supply of food for later consumption; my little chipmunk. The nickname we have held on to is Booger. It has nothing to do with snot, it just fits her.

She gets her nose from me, but I get my smile from her. When I’m not at home, I think of her. When I’m at home, I stare at her, and I need constant contact. Her mother calls me a baby hog, and rightly so as I spend as much time holding her as possible. She’s incredibly strong. Not as strong—or as smart—as me, but she can almost flip herself over from tummy-time on the Boppy. The last part of that sentence only a handful of people will understand. A year ago, I would have been lost after the comma.

Anyhow, fatherhood is challenging. It isn’t so much the time at home, it’s the time away. I can’t take a nap at work, and getting up rather consistently at three and four in the morning and having to work until 10-11 is grueling. But it is so worth every minute of it to watch this little creature grow every day. I am in awe every time I look at her and I know that I have made myself successful enough to give her a real shot at life, and me a real shot at being a good dad. I’m going to be around for all of her accomplishments, and she will be around for all of mine.


About the author

Vincent Maertz

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