*Disclaimer: The following article is not representative of Mary Larsen’s thoughts or values, and she is not liable for the views expressed in the following commentary. In other words, don’t blame her for what this moron says.
I never wanted to be a dad.
Nope. Not even a little bit. I enjoyed the simple things in life – you know: free will, my dignity, drinking myself into oblivion on the golf course at noon, or playing Madden til 4am with my best friend over the internet. Best of all, I had the prettiest girl I ever met- who also just happened to be a local TV celebrity
– by my side, and we were 100%, completely, sickeningly, stupidly in love with each other. I was content with my life. But, then it happened. Tall Mom got pregnant.
When Mary found out she was pregnant, I was definitely happy. But, I wasn’t excited. No, it’s certainly not the most glamorous of reactions, but it’s nonetheless true. Could you blame me though? I loved my kidless life. I tried for years to avoid even the word, “pregnant,” and then, all of sudden, my wife was pregnant? I had extreme difficulty reconciling thirty years of avoiding pregnancy altogether, with immediately having to be cool with the fact that it happened. The feeling was…weird. I was happy, confused, frightened, and exhilarated all in one. But, most of all, I didn’t want to be a dad. I wasn’t ready. I pretty much felt this way for the entirety of Tall Mom’s pregnancy.
But, then the baby was out, and I could actually hold his little life in my arms. It was at this singular moment in time when EVERYTHING changed. As adamant as I was about not being dad, I became that much more of a fervent defender of being a dad. Something in my brain just clicked when Itty Bitty was born. So, despite my initial fears of being a parent, I was gladly, thoroughly, and irrevocably, thrust into “dad mode.” I didn’t expect to feel this way, but I didn’t care anymore. It was remarkable.
I will admit, however, being a dad (so far) is an emotional roller-coaster. For example, I went to see Man Of Steel with Tall Mom recently, and cried like a little girl when Jor-El sent his newly born Kal-El to Earth in a spaceship – before their native planet of Krypton exploded. And it wasn’t one of those cute, one-tear-down-the-cheek-cries either. I was approaching the Chris Crocker, “LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE” level.
Suffice it to say, I love being a dad now. When it comes to my wife and kid, I would literally do a deal with the devil to make sure they’re cared for perfectly. But I’ve still got one teensy tiny problem – yes, I’ve got my awesome tiny baby, but what the hell do I do with him now?I don’t know shit about shit. Me? Taking care of a newborn? Raising an effing child?! George Bluth knows more about how to properly raise children than I do. So, as we discussed in part 1, and part 2 of WWJBD?, my only option is to guess what I think the ultimate male would do in raising his family. So, Jack? What do ya got for me?
The Most Important Rule About Living With Your Newborn
Your wife is your teammate.
Think of it like this: she is the Kevin Mchale to your Larry Bird
. So, make sure you talk to her. No, not just about work, the weather, or what color poop the kid just muscled out. Actually talk to her about these strange things you experience every so often: feelings. What scares you? About what are you insecure? What actually makes you happy? What do you want for your kid? Rely on her. Work together. Everything else will fall into place.
Tips For Living With Your Newborn
1. Don’t go full dad*
– It’s very easy to fall into a rhythm of focusing your entire life on nothing but the baby. Understandably so. You’re in complete charge of another human, and you have no idea how to handle him. Watch out – you can fall in to this soul sucking trap very easily, lose your identity, and devolve into only, “dad.” Soon you’ll get the paper at the front door in your underwear, fall asleep on the recliner with your hand down your unbuttoned pants after dinner, and tuck your sports jersey into your jeans
. My cure? Take three deep breaths, call your buddies to have a couple of beers, and watch a James Bond Marathon. If this doesn’t work, up the ante to Die Hard. (*This also applies to moms. Don’t waive your white diaper in defeat, and let go of you, or your looks. There is absolutely no way you should be saying, “oh I can’t wear that, I’m a mom now.” Or, “I’m not pretty anymore because I’m fat.” Fuck that. Go to the gym, or don’t go the gym.
It doesn’t matter. Either way, you can CHOOSE to wear whatever, or act however, you want because you’re sexier than ever. Why, pray tell? You’ve just birthed husband’s kid for christ’s sake, and you should have a lot more respect for yourself after what you just accomplished. Act like it. Consider this like D.A.R.E. – but instead of drugs; just say no to Mom Jeans.)
2. Get over it, your kid is ugly
– When your kid is born, you’ll think he’s just the most beautiful awesomest fantastic creation on the planet. But, he’s not. He’s ugly. Just like all the rest of the babies in the world (except my kid
, who’s just the most beautiful awesomest fantastic creation on the planet). When he’s born, your kid will look like a Xenormorph
from the movie, Alien. His deformed head will correct itself as he gets older, but he’ll still be just as ugly because he’ll gradually transform into a mini Mr. Magoo
. By the way, anyone who tells you that your kid is, “sooooo cute,” or, “ is just the best looking baby I’ve ever seen,” is lying out of their ass. They know he’s ugly. We all do. Just accept the fact your kid is ugly, your friend’s kids are ugly, and you were definitely ugly as a baby – that way we can all keep playing pretend, and be polite to one another.
3. Never change your baby with your mouth open
– You WILL end up with kid shit in your mouth. Seriously, he will shit as far as Apollo 13 could fly. Believe me, when you taste the bitter shame of baby poop in your mouth, you’ll be saying more than just, “Houston, we have a problem.” Oh, and always have the next diaper prepared for action. As soon as the used diaper is loosened, that’s his Pavlovian cue to start pissing, and shitting, like Old Faithful
. And just when you think he is done, and you turn around to get a new diaper, he’ll let loose again. Sometimes I feel like I catch Itty Bitty doing it with a smirk out of the corner of my eye because he knows he’s fucking with me. Little bastard. So, if you like cleaning pee, and poop, off the wall, the floor, the CEILING, your ear, the windows, and your wife’s closet down the hall, then by all means, please take the risk. I ALWAYS have the next diaper beneath the used diaper – ready to go – so I can at least use it as a shield/sponge.
4. Baby poop is weird – It’s seedy, and smells like really buttery popcorn. NEVER AGAIN will you be able to enjoy your favorite cinema snack. Why? You guessed it, the bitter shame of baby shit. Also – babies have two kinds of poop: Rocket Poop (mentioned above), and Volcano Poop. This is when he shits so much that it’s like a reenactment of ancient Pompeii. You will literally be frozen in time due to the shock of how much crap can actually come out of something so small. No joke – it erupts out of his diaper, up his back, and into his ears. When this happens to you (and it will) here’s a helpful hint: don’t even bother using wipes. Save yourself the time and aggravation – throw away the clothes, plop him in the sink, and spray the fucker down.
5. Colic sucks, and it’s very real –True, no one knows what Colic is, or what causes it. If, however, someone tells you that Colic is either “fake,”or “easy,” – punch them in the face. Immediately. Why would they say this awesomely moronic statement? Because they thought their kid had colic, and they solved it. Their kid cried. Their kid fussed. Sure, I can buy all that. But, here’s the scoop, Brokaw: all babies cry/fuss. They cry because they’re hurt, hungry, tired, or just bored – they cry over anything, and everything. Hey, it’s Flag Day? Let’s fucking cry about it. But, Colic? You know your baby has Colic when he’s howling a cry so high-pitched that only dogs can hear it, and you’re falling asleep standing up because you’re bouncing him in your arms from 12am to 4am. Every. Fucking. Night. Worst of all, your bicep feels like it wants to burst out of your skin, you’re legs are giving out, and you’d personally go all kinds of Aaron Hernandez on any member of One Direction just to guarantee at least one hour of peace in the wee hours of the morning (too soon?). There is no solving Colic. You just have to endure the agony until it chooses to go away. Anyone who tells you otherwise, never went through that personal hell.
6. Stay home with baby, and schedule visitors – There are a lot of good people in this world who will come to visit you once the baby is out – on your timetable. No one should visit unless they are announced ahead of time, or you’ve established visiting hours. Normal people understand that visiting YOUR house is good because all of your kid’s shit is there, and it’s a perfectly controlled
environment. Then, however, there are those who expect the baby to be presented to them. They don’t want to take time out of their day to see the kid, and/or help. Fuck these narcissistic, self-important dinks. (exceptions: friends/ family who live out of town, or those who are considerate enough to allow you bonding time with your kid. They’re patient, and will wait til the hoopla/visiting has died down.) The people who matter to you, and who will eventually matter most to your child, will make the time to come visit you. Don’t worry about leaving the comfort of your own home, because NOBODY should expect you to do so. If they don’t visit, well, they don’t matter.
7. You’ll never do as much as the mother – This is a huge mental hurdle. Mom carried him, birthed him, and is the sole source of his nourishment (especially if breast feeding). She has a far greater connection to the baby than you. But, it’s ok. She’s supposed to. So, don’t get frustrated/lazy. Work together, and agree on a plan on how best to help her out. Don’t be the douchebag who makes his wife do everything (emotionally, or physically). If mom and baby are up, so are you. Change the diapers, bottle feed when the kid is ready, do the baths etc.. Just beware, even if you do ALL of these things, you still won’t be doing enough. Your wife also realizes that you don’t do as much as she. And she has no problem throwing her weight around. So, if you’re having a good time without her, and you’re not paying full attention to the baby, (watching football, playing PS3 etc.) you can be sure as shit that an, “oh, can you burp the baby?” is coming your way. Yes, it’s a pain in the ass to always feel insecure about how much you’re doing, but don’t be a pussy about it. Do your best, and help her out as much as possible. Otherwise, you’ll travel down misery road to argument station.
8. Arguments are inevitable – Even if you’re one of those asshole couples who say, “oh, we never argue because we’re so in love,” count on your record with “0 accidents on the job” being blown faster than Lindsay Lohan’s last line of coke. Both of you are under a lot of pressure to keep your baby alive, and it’s a harder job than you could ever fucking imagine. What’s worse is that you’ll both be super tired, and even more sensitive. So, she’ll bitch about something ridiculous like – how you didn’t match the baby’s mittens to his hat, or nag you about the endless honey-do list. Naturally, you’ll snap back because she’s yelled out to you so many times that you can’t possibly tolerate the sound of your own name anymore, nevermind her screeching voice. But, for the love of the gods, try to avoid arguments as much as you can – especially those about who got more sleep, who does the most, or who does it best. Firstly, no matter what you say/do, or how awesome you think you are, you’ll never win ANY of these arguments. But, secondly, and most importantly, your wife is Kevin McHale, remember? Be an adult, and figure that shit out.
9. Embrace your inner Jabba-The-Hut
– If you are a fitness fanatic, kiss that shit goodbye for at least two months. You neither have the time, nor the energy to work out, or eat well. To that end, people will bring foods by that are full of sugars, and carbs, because they are the easiest foods to buy and/or cook. Eat them, and be fucking happy about it. Because if it doesn’t have to be cooked, is ready to serve, and doesn’t take up the precious time that you could be using to nap – then it’s gonna be right up your alley. Trust me, when it’s 2am, and you’re hungry/tired, and haven’t eaten/slept in thirty two hours because your kid has been crankier than Mel Gibson ranting about minorities, you won’t have ANY problem devouring that Death By Chocolate Cake
Aunt Bessie brought over. Eventually, around the three month mark, you’re life will get back to normal so you can start to work out, and eat vegetables again.
10. Random Musings, Pontifications, and Warnings:
-Don’t refer to your baby as something stupid like 47 weeks. He’s 11 months. Better yet, just round up and say he’s a year old. Otherwise, you sound preachy, and self absorbed.
-Your kid’s first smile is the best prize that’s ever existed in the long history of humanity.
-Don’t get those annoying stick family stickers to put on your car. Dear lord those are pathetic. Nobody gives a shit about how many kids, or cats, or whatever it is, you have in your family.
-The two month shots are nothing short of torture. Yes, for the baby. But, mostly you.
-There’s no better feeling than your kid sleeping on your chest. None.
-A man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.
-You’ll find yourself celebrating burps, yawns, poops, and farts like they’re Christ’s miracles.-Explaining fatherhood to non parents is like Morpheus explaining The Matrix
to Neo. It’s impossible. They need the red pill.
-Don’t tip toe around the baby – blare Thriller
as loud as you want. Otherwise he’ll never learn to deal with sound.
-Dress him up as much as you want, in whatever you want. It’ll be great fodder for his girlfriend when he’s 16.
-Don’t make every conversation about the baby. You’ll have no friends left.
-Avoid baby clothes with buttons like the fucking plague. Trust me, zippers only.-Set up one day a week for mom to be alone, dad to be alone, and one date night. ASAP.
-Dust off the ol’ highlight real. You’re in for your longest dry stretch since virginity
-Make sure your baby sleeps at least 16-18 hours per day. If you don’t, your life will be one giant suck sandwich.
-Avoid your wife’s other crippling disease, “buy-way-too-much-shit-itis.” Your kid doesn’t need half the shit he gets.
-The four most important things for a newborn: a Rock And Play, a WubbaNub, a Swaddle Me swaddle, and a white noise machine. Get them. Now.
-It’s impossible to spoil a baby in the first three months. Hold him. Cuddle him. Rock him to sleep in your arms. He’s only going to be that small for so long.
-Read, or watch, The Happiest Baby On The Block by, Dr. Harvey Karp. Yesterday.
-Don’t listen to a fuckin’ thing anyone has to say. Do what you feel is best for your baby.
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