I coined a phrase. I think it’ll catch on. I mean, anyone can SHOOT themselves in the foot. It takes a special person to fart themselves in the foot.

Allow me to explain.

As some of you might know, we’ve been having some sleep problems with Declan as of late, the result of which has been malaise and misery and confusion and, more often than not, Declan sleeping in our bed instead of in his crib. For naps, he’ll fall asleep in my arms and then we’ll crash on the bed. And by “crash” I mean, he will sleep and I will stare at the wall when my head resting diagonally above a pillow and one arm asleep and my hip situated like a wheel well that’s about to come off a car. I might be able to sneak away after 15 minutes when he has gone from light to heavy snooze. But I also might be in bed with him for the whole nap.

That’s the position in which I found myself Sunday night. It was 6:30, and Declan had just stirred from our first attempt to get him down for the night. So I went into the bedroom, picked him up, and started rocking him. It was like Groundhog’s Day. He’d fall asleep, I’d try to put him down, he’d wake up, and we’d start the process over. Pretty soon an hour had passed. One more attempt, I thought, and began mentally reciting lines from the most honest children’s book of all-time.

Sure enough, it wasn’t long before Declan konked out in my arms again and we curled up on the bed. But this time he was still asleep 20 minutes later. So I started to plot my exit. No easy task with a baby who sleeps lighter than “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.” The challenge: we were linked like a Jenga board or a game of Pick-Up-Sticks. His head was partially rested in the crease of my left elbow, which was under a pillow. My left hand was holding his left leg. My right hand was under his butt. Part of my shirt was pinned under his back. So, like a guy in a heist movie, I had to be slow and deliberate and precise in my movements so as not to set off any alarms. At first, I removed my left hand from his leg. No stirring. Then, the right hand. Still good. Now the tricky stuff. I started to wiggle my left arm, pushing it down into the mattress and gently pulling it under his neck and toward me, being careful to support his head, being careful not to move the pillow. It must have taken me 5 minutes. But eventually I freed my left arm, too, without waking him. The only thing remaining? Pulling my shirt out from under his back.

Maybe you think you know where this is going. The title gave it away, perhaps. But there’s a twist, as they say in my line of work. A developing all-new breaking news (wind) twist.

Before I get to that, let me say this: I’m not inclined to talk about farts. I’m more “let’s pretend it didn’t happen” than “pull my finger.” More “it was you” than “it was me” in an elevator. So I’m going against my own natural tendency to share this story. My embarrassment for your amusement. You’re welcome.

Now back to it.

All I had to do was pull my shirt out from under his back, roll off the bed, and put my feet down on the floor. After that, I’d be free to go back to the couch and finish dinner. So I tugged at the shirt a little bit. And a little more. And I realized I needed to put some body English into it. So I rolled a little bit. And a little more. And finally, I was free. No movement on his end. No problems on mine.

So there I was, standing up in the middle of a darkened room, just watching him. Somewhat incredulous, as any parent can understand, that I was able to succeed at putting him to bed after so many failures…and with no real change in strategy.

And that’s when it happened. You’re picturing, I imagine, a loud flapping together of butt cheeks. Or maybe a long, but high-pitched release of air. But no. The fart that I let out was the SBD type. Silent but deadly. And I have to admit: it was pretty nasty-smelling. Enough so that I decided it was time for me to leave the room, and maybe, once out there, to forego the rest of the burrito bowl. Unfortunately, I never got the chance. Within about 10 seconds (about the time, I calculate, it’d take for the smell to spread from where I was to the bed), Declan’s little body jolted, his lips turned frowny, and he let out a wail. No dog in sight to blame. No getting him back to sleep. I’ll never know if it was the fart, or something else, but just in case, I’m suing Chipotle for mental anguish.

And that, my friends, is how you fart yourself in the foot.

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