Admittedly, I can be a bit scatterbrained.
My Lovely Wife was terrified I would leave the baby on top of the car and drive off (a la “Raising Arizona”), going through a half-dozen red lights, thinking, “I know there’s something I forgot ...”
She also envisioned me taking our precious bundle to the grocery store and leaving her in a buggy in a parking lot.
She would often call me during such outings “just to make sure we were OK,” not wanting to come right out and ask if Jellybean was safe and sound and within eyesight.
Half the reason she got so excited when Jellybean finally started talking was because, in case such a nightmare scenario ever played out, Jellybean could shout, “D-A-D-D-Y! Yo, Daddy … Mama’s gonna be mad if Walmart has to call her to come and pick me up.”
I am proud to report that, four years in, I’ve avoided any major parental transgressions. Granted, I’ve made a few poor decisions, like taking her into the beer store when the drive-thru line was too long.
At least I didn’t leave her in the car. Apparently, even with “Grease” playing, the doors locked and the air conditioner running, that’s still a big no-no.
I’ve occasionally been guilty of giving Jellybean a piece of gum rather than brushing her teeth in the morning. But it’s sugar-free gum, and it makes her breath smell like mangos. Dora the Explorer toothpaste can’t do that.
I’ve been doing pretty darn good … at least up until Easter week, when I almost blinded Jellybean in front of her whole class.
The daycare held an Easter egg hunt, and suggested that parents bring sunscreen so their little ones didn’t boil and blister like a Vienna sausage on a car hood in the middle of August.
I remembered the sunscreen … all by myself. I should get credit for that at least.
When we got to daycare, I asked Jellybean’s teacher if I should put on the sunscreen, or if she wanted to do it.
“You can,” she said, smiling, with a half-dozen kids shouting and pulling at her.
“No worries,” I answered.
With that, I started spraying. First the arms, then the legs – front and back. This was the same sunblock I put on my noggin before doing yard work to keep the skin cancer away, so I figured it was good enough to protect Jellybean, who is so fair-skinned that, with too much UV, the poor child is apt to burst into flames.
“Is this safe to put on her face?”
I turned to Jellybean. “Now, I want you to hold your breath and shut your eyes really tight. Don’t open them until I say so.”
Jellybean nodded. I shook the can … ready … aim …
“MR. BUCKNER!,” her teacher shouted. “Ummm …” She made this rubbing gesture with her hands, suggesting I spray the sunblock on my palms and then rub it on my daughter’s face, rather than spraying.
It took a second for this near catastrophic mistake to sink in. The teacher just gave me a “Dads do the silliest things” grin.
Meanwhile, Jellybean was still standing there – breath held, eyes shut.
At least she didn’t get sunburned. And what My Lovely Wife doesn’t know won’t hurt her.
Contact Brett Buckner at firstname.lastname@example.org