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Second Tour
part 3
by Will Nuessle

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Mission Nine: Stealth Training

In order for Bravo to attempt to catch up on her sleep, Alpha will take over Delta duty at 0400. Five minutes after Bravo returns to her bunk, Delta will awaken and demand sustenance. Alpha is required to traverse the creaky living-room floor multiple times to heat water, put milk bottle in water and remove said bottle all while soothing the baby. Mission is considered a fail if Delta is not fed; if Bravo is awakened; if Charlie is awakened or if any neighbors call the police due to the screaming. Mission is not considered a fail if, subsequent to Delta’s successful feeding, Alpha breaks down sobbing on the living-room floor.[1]

Mission Ten: Triple Duty

Fast forward two months. As Bravo has only had two nights off from infant care since Delta was born, Alpha will volunteer to take over. With an evening Daddy Boot Camp (DBC) and Bravo’s work schedule, this somehow leaves Alpha in charge of one or more children for thirty-six straight hours. Besides the aforementioned DBC which Alpha will be responsible to co-lead, he will also take both children to Delta’s four-month doctor appointment where the doctor will leave him waiting in a small room with Charlie and Delta for no less than one hour. Because Alpha cannot fall asleep until after the baby has fed and Delta will not feed until 0430, the thirty-six hours will be accompanied by no more than three hours’ sleep.

Mission is considered a success if both of the children are healthy come nightfall and all of the words in the above paragraph are correctly spellled.

Mission Eleven: Forward Deployment II

Team BABIES will travel 1300 miles by air to Grandparent Zone (GZ). The layover between flights will afford zero lag time; all members must board second flight. Mission is not considered a fail if Alpha forgets Charlie’s sippy cup on first aircraft.[2] Delta will decide he is hungry five minutes after boarding begins inexplicably without “Small Children Pre-boarding” announcement. Boarding will require walking out onto tarmac in pouring rain. Airline travel computer will have humorously assigned the three paying passengers of Team BABIES three separate seats in the aircraft. Alpha and Bravo must reassemble the team, feed Delta and water Charlie without inflicting lasting trauma on any team members. Mission will not be considered a fail if lasting trauma is inflicted on any non-team members.[3]

Mission Twelve: Sack time

Upon reaching GZ after a day of travel, Team BABIES will sleep together in single bedroom. Charlie will not wish to sleep on assigned bunk (floor) but rather ‘with mommy and daddy.’ Delta, who at five months rolls over easily, will not wish to sleep on flat crib surface. After the day of travel Bravo will not wish to sleep with any team member.[4] Points will be awarded if Bravo figures out a way for Delta to sleep,[5] also if Alpha gets Charlie down to the floor and then later out from under the bed all without waking him.[6]

Mission is considered a fail if Bravo, Charlie and Delta do not sleep. Mission is not considered a fail if Alpha does not sleep.

Mission Thirteen: “The Trials of Hercules”

With Bravo having returned to work, Alpha will be required to provide for the care and feeding of Charlie and Delta as well as clean home base, as Bravo’s parents are unexpectedly arriving a day early.[7]

Mission parameters: the vacuum cleaner is broken; Alpha must find a workaround.[8]

Delta is reacting badly to Bravo’s previous evening chili dinner and will have random screaming gas-pain fits throughout the day.

Charlie is reacting badly to being two-and-a-half and will have random “isn’t it great how loud I can be” screaming fits throughout the day.

The dog and cat will be as annoying as possible and at least one solicitor will ignore the “No Solicitations” sign, ring the doorbell, and waken Delta five minutes after Alpha finally gets him to sleep.

Mission Success parameters: If, at the end of their visit, Bravo’s parents express appreciation for being able to visit; if Charlie runs to give Alpha a hug when he sees him; if Delta smiles at Daddy when he sees him; if Alpha and Bravo get out at least occasionally for date nights and remember why they fell in love in the first place…this and all above Missions will be considered an overall success.

If All Missions Are Successfully Completed:

Congratulations! Alpha and Bravo are hereby officially recognized as Extreme Parents, grade II. Charlie is recognized as a Good Older Brother. When Delta is old enough, he will officially recognize how Lucky He Is.

[1] That didn’t happen. That you know of
[2] Lucky for Alpha
[3] Lasting? No—but I did manage to whack my head pretty hard during one of the airplane roulette seat changes
[4] Which is how we got into this mess in the first place
[5] Car carrier IN the crib. My wife is brilliant
[6] Mission accomplished
[7] At least we had warning. As opposed to walking in unannounced a day early—not that any family members of mine would ever do that…
[8] I picked up what I could find by hand, then dragged a heavy book back and forth to make the usual carpet lines

Excerpted from 'Fire at Will II: Will Tell Jokes for Food'

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