One Hand Dad


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I’ve been working out a lot lately. About ten pounds at a time, but that number continues to rise.

Carrying the baby around in a car seat all day, results in my right arm hanging a bit lower in its socket than it used to. There’s not much I can do about it, I can’t set him down or the dogs will lick his face. I could switch arms back and forth but it would only serve to put both my hands closer to the ground. I can’t be the first person in the world that’s lopsided.

Simple tasks are not so simple when carrying an unsteady baby in one arm. I have to chase the diaper bag hanging from my shoulder with my free hand for a burp rag — like a dog who just found its tail. If I drop it, it requires a deep, upright squat and my long arm to pick it up. It’s impossible to fold clean clothes with one hand. We just pick what we need out of the pile in the guest bedroom each day. We can clean them, we just can’t put them away. And daily routines, like drinking coffee in public, become slapstick with a baby in one hand. A wet napkin sticks to the bottom of the mug and comes up with it each time I take a sip, making me look ridiculous.

It’s the same when cheering for the Denver Broncos: No sudden movements. My wife and I tiptoe through the house like there’s a cake in the oven. The boy is easily startled from sleep. He waves his sleepy arms whenever a motorcycle rumbles past. I see the blur of his hands in the swing from across the room. So, when Peyton Manning threw his 509th touchdown to break Brett Favre’s record, I sat in place — exercising extreme discipline — and channeled all my excitement to my face, which erupted in silent cheers.

My wife and I do get some time to ourselves. The baby takes a lot of naps throughout the day, which I guess I should expect from a guy who starts his day before it’s light outside. We put our free time to good use, finally: we brush our teeth, or I put on pants.

There are moments where I don’t mind having my arms taken; like when I’m rocking the little guy to sleep long after the Colorado sunset faded orange behind the nursery shades. By that time, I’m so exhausted that I don’t care much about the things I didn’t get done during the day, and all concerns disappear when I look down at the flickering eyelids of our child.

Let me worry about the world, son. Let me worry.

Pico spent his childhood years in the Springs. Now, as a father, he's seeing the city (and life) in a different light. Follow him on twitter at @DavidXPico.

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