Friday, July 25, 2014

The Realizations of an Expectant Father

[I wrote this shortly after we found out we were having our first kid, which turned out to be Tootie, who's now nearly 4. She's pretty incredible, in that after nearly four years of life she can say her ABC's, talk in complete sentences, go for days without eating and (almost) crap in a bowl. In summary, it's been very special.]

My wife and I are expecting our first baby. And while people keep telling us this is going to be the most wonderful experience of our lives, I've yet to see any evidence of this.

For instance, a few weeks ago we made our first lap together through a Babies 'R Us. On what I suspect was an average day, the place was filled with young parents who already had one or two children and looked to be expecting another. The whole experience just seemed surreal: I didn't see one parent smiling and practically every child was being spanked. One woman had a child in each arm and a third one tied to a leash while moving forward with a steel-faced resolve that looked like something out of a Terminator movie.

Copyright 2014, Travis Ross (Simple Man's Survival Guide)
No one wants to deal with poop up the back.
A few days ago I was having a conversation with the woman who typically cuts my hair. I told her that my wife and I were expecting. She stated that it would be the best time of my life and then gave a 20-minute speech that left me wondering if I would be safer spending the first few years of the baby's life in prison and then magically showing up as the baby approaches pre-school age. One of the reasons I am seriously considering turning myself in for committing random petty crimes in my area is what I can only call "poop up the back" syndrome. My wife has mentioned this, the lady who cuts my hair mentioned this, and I'm currently waiting for random people to stop me while walking through a supermarket to tell me, "Hey, you know babies can magically poop up their back, right?" First, how in the world is this even possible? We can send a man to the moon, we can cram a computer into a cell phone, we can create devices the size of a thimble that hold 9,000 songs, and Michael Jackson can turn himself white, but Huggies can't create a diaper that can actually handle what it's being dealt? I became even more distraught after the woman who cuts my hair informed me that it isn't out of the ordinary for babies to go through 350+ diapers in the first month. I don't even think we throw out that equivalent in trash on a monthly basis. What was she feeding her kid, one of those volcano burritos from Taco Bell?

Also, my wife is one of those people who always needs to have something to worry about. If the government sent out a warning today that split-level houses were the number one cause of coughs in babies, we would be living in a teepee tomorrow in our backyard watching our house burn to the ground. She would probably torch the neighbors' houses to, just to be safe. So, as you can imagine, every feeling that isn't mentioned for one reason or another in "What to Expect When You're Expecting" is a full blown crisis. I've been waiting for my copy of "Where the Hell to Hide Until Your Baby is 3" shows up in the mail, but I suspect that the man who wrote it was killed in a tragic diaper changing incident. May he rest in peace.

However, as long as the house is still standing, my wife says we have to baby-proof everything. And, we can't wait until the baby can crawl. I think in her mind she has it that the baby is gonna come out armed to the teeth like Batman, swinging off of the curtains and ripping the doors off of the cabinets. In light of this concern she has a list of about 3,000 things I need to do to the house to get it ready for the baby. I have to put little locks on the cabinet doors, I have to rip up the current railing on the stairs (because the baby can fit it's head through) and install completely new railing that you couldn't throw a needle through, paint the babies room, and buy kevlar vests for the cats, because God knows, their lives are about to change. I'm sure there are things I'm forgetting, but I'm sure you understand the gravity of the situation.

Don't get me wrong, I'm very excited about being a father: playing sports and video games with a child, introducing them to different authors, watching movies with them, forcing my jaded ideas about life upon them, and teaching them how to make a shank, should he/she ever need to defend himself/herself in a tight spot. In the interim, I'm trying to avoid the Babies 'R Us.

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