Today’s post brings us to a genre we haven’t visited since day E: memoir. And as this one focuses on a father’s relationship with his daughter, it is guaranteed to pull at your heartstrings.
And since Dan Alatorre is the author of Savvy Stories, you’re also guaranteed at least a few laughs.
Savvy Stories begins before the baby is born and the father-to-be is stressing about all that is to come. My first laugh-out-loud moment occurred here, when Dan was recounting a babysitting experience.
The girl was about 1 1/2 or 2 at the time I think; not potty trained. To “help” me, her mom changed the diaper before she left for her errand, showing me how to clean all the “girly parts.” I had to look away. I was fully prepared to drop that kid into a Hefty bag and tie it off at the waist if necessary rather than change her diaper.
To be fair, changing your own kid’s diaper is somehow less gross than other kids’. Must be an evolutionary thing.
Shortly after this, Dan and his wife learn that the baby they’re expecting is a girl at their ultrasound.
“Here’s the head, and here’s the spine…” the nurse says, pointing at gray blotches that look like, well, gray blotches.
“Okay, so it looks like you’re having a little girl!”
Crap. I mean, hooray!
Oh, I’m screwed, I’m screwed. HOORAY!
Don’t worry. By the time little Savvy arrives, the parents are prepared, logistically. But they weren’t prepared for their new bundle to spend a week in the NICU. You’ll have to read the book if you want to know more about that. I’m not going to recount any of that section here because it makes me cry.
But on the other side of that, there are more humorous episodes, including a messed up baptism, the effects of lost sleep, and a public temper tantrum (the baby’s, not Dan’s) which Dan affectionately calls The Publix Meltdown.
I grab the box, slide it into the rack under the cart, and start to push the cart away from the bin of bouncy balls
And. She. Lets. Loose.
She is screaming like I am killing her.
I am completely caught off guard. It took me a moment to even figure out what she was screeching about. Then, I apply some ADULT logic: “Honey, you have about SIX of those at home (which is 5 minutes from here)…
HA! What, are you nuts? Trying to use Adult logic and reasoning on a crying baby?
She goes bananas.
Any parent can relate to this. My own child pulled one of these so severe I had to carry him out whilst he held himself stiff and horizontal. That was a fun day.
Anyway, the meltdown story ends well.
At this point my kid is once again on the floor and she has been crying so hard that she is red-faced and coughing. I’m pretty red-faced myself.
I tell the lady, in my best I’m Not A Child Abuser voice: “Ma’am, I will try anything right now.”
So the lady asks my daughter, “Sweetie, would you like a balloon?”
And……..the crying stops.
Instant silence from my daughter.
My kid looks up and asks back: balloon?
The lady hands her a small latex helium balloon on a string. LIKE A WATER FAUCET THE TEARS STOP. THE CRYING STOPS. THE TANTRUM STOPS.
Such are the trenches of parenting.
Also in my Bookbag: Sanity’s Thief, Sacred, Secret Diary of Portergirl, Shift, The Shack
What S titles are in your Bookbag?
6 thoughts on “The A-Z Bookbag: S is for Savvy Stories”
Thank you for choosing my book to profile here. Savvy Stories was a labor of love, written in the dark hours of the night when my young daughter needed a diaper change or a bottle, and because she had reflux, we had to use a slow-feed nipple and hold her upright afterwards for 20 minutes. (Or we could fast feed her and clean spitup shortly thereafter.)
So I would change the diaper and warm the bottle and spend 20 minutes feeding her and another 20 minutes holding her upright, usually in a rocker we borrowed from a friend… I’d put on a late night TV show comedy, Scrubs reruns usually, on Nick At Night, and watch that while I did everything, so I wouldn’t fall asleep or get to bored.
And after 40 or 50 minutes of not falling asleep attending to my daughter – I was wide awake.
Sometimes my baby girl and I would snuggle up on the couch and watch TV together until 4 of 5 in the morning, falling asleep as the sun came up. Sometimes I’d write about whatever funny stuff happened that day. Time goes by quickly at that age, and funny stuff happens all the time, but parents of a new baby are too exhausted to write any of it down. But the warnings from my older brothers and sisters echoed in my ears: They grow up fast. So I used that quiet, middle of the night time to have quality time with me and my daughter. Just us. Bonding.
And when she slept, I wrote.
Ideas, mostly, or a few sentences to remind me of what it was that was so funny the day before. And the day before quickly became notes about rolling over by herself, or standing, then walking, then… first day at school??? Then she’s riding a two-wheeler and turning eight?
So as I look back on a book that started my writing career, it’s easy to dismiss it as an early work. It’s just as easy to pick it up and find three hours have gone by and you’ve read it cover to cover. Because what’s inside is universal to any parent and any kid. It’s fun moments we’ve all had, written down to recall and remember and laugh over. And cry, sometimes, too. But mostly laugh.
One day she’ll move away and go to college or get married. Those books will be a written photo album of the time I shared with her. Fond memories. Treasures.
And I’ll be able to hand them to her one day and say, “Here. This is all about how fun it was growing up with you.”
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You’re trying to make us all cry again, aren’t you? 🤨
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I also really enjoyed Savvy Stories, Allison. I have part II as an audio book. Lovely review of Dan’s book.
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You know…. that flop on your back while you thrash your arms and legs thing works for adults too.
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Works great for getting out of uncomfortable social interactions.