Due to Extenuating Circumstances

Adventures in Unplanned Parenthood

I am a roadie

My son stays up until four in the morning, screams at his entourage, ingests dust that costs more per ounce than platinum, and drinks til he pukes in my hair then face plants into it, fast asleep. I’m parenting Keith Richards.

As we settle into our life at the Casino/Hotel, I become aware that there isn’t very much substantive parenting to be done at this stage. He doesn’t need to be disciplined, taken to soccer practice (I married a Canadian. There will be soccer practice. My husband wrote it into our wedding vows) or helped with homework. What I am, in reality, is a roadie.

Everywhere we go the baby is the superstar. His job is to Be The Baby. Everyone will adore him for this. My husband and I have the job of making sure The Baby makes his appearances. The Baby sleeps whenever he wants, throws a fit when everything isn’t to his liking, and is expected to be moody, well-dressed and then covered in vomit. Our job is to stage manage everything that goes on behind the scenes of Being the Baby.

The baby is supposed to meet new family? Great. The first thing people will notice is the New Baby Multi-Sensory Experience. They expect him to be soft, smooth and have that luxurious New Baby smell. Get him bathed, dried, lotioned and diapered. Pick out what Baby will be wearing. Be CERTAIN that is what Baby is in the mood to wear, because you know how he feels about those little tags that poke out. Get him dressed and looking sharp.

Coordinate with staff at the venue. Make sure The Baby will be arriving in a warm car, right at the door, there will be no waiting to get inside. The fans wait for Baby, never the other way around. It’s winter in Iowa and there will be a backup plan for all roadtrips in case there is ice, snow or biting wind. The Baby does not do inconvenience.

Assemble all of the gear you need to travel. You know if he’s gone for any length of time there will be peeing, pooping, spit up and gassy farts. It’s the roadie who loads everything in the car to make sure these events are handled properly. You’ll also need a way to get him around (what, you thought he’d walk? He’s The Baby, not some peasant) and then a place for him to sit. He requires entertainment at all times if the people surrounding him are too much/too little/too whatever to handle. Remember that he has special dietary requirements. He will not be ordering off the menu no matter how swanky the restaurant thinks it is. The Baby eats on his own schedule. Should the roadies also want to eat, they may do so when it is convenient for The Baby. For this reason, roadies ordering food designed to be served at a certain temperature are foolhardy.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not all the glare of the spotlight. At the hotel you get to see a side of private side of him when he’s not “on” and that feels pretty cool. Just remember, that doesn’t mean you’re actually equals. He sets the schedule, he dictates the mood in the room, he makes the staff rota. It doesn’t matter if Daddy hasn’t slept since Tuesday, if Mommy is boring as hell and we want Daddy, then Daddy better quit working on his (unapproved) side gig as a “professor” and come back to his only real responsibility. Right. Now. DAMMIT.

To be fair, it’s hard to hold a grudge against a superstar whose shit literally doesn’t stink. **A sidenote here to thank Mother Nature for that grace period. Think about that for a second…two people new at diapering and there isn’t another room in which to throw away the diapers or put dirty laundry.** It’s also fair to say that he never, ever lets down a crowd. Sure, the hotel room looks like a bomb went off and feeding him costs more than the GDP of Finland. Isn’t that the price of stardom? Who ever hears of a really big name that picks up his own socks, eats generic soup and turns in at 9:30?

So I’ll pack the gear and buy the special formula. He can barf on me and I’ll take it. Hell, I even paid for the privilege. Tune in next time, when we cover the Farce of the Swing and it turns out I’m Bob Newhart.

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