August 04, 2003
A Dad's Manual, Part 1

What I have learned in the past six weeks of being a father:

  • Babies (well, this baby) are not soda bottles. Bouncing them (gently!) does not automatically result in them fizzing over like a can of ginger ale dropped down a stairwell.
  • People look at you like you're juggling a live hand grenade whenever you bounce a small baby on your knee.
  • It's not just the baby that has fun bouncing.
  • A set of boobs automatically places you in the officer corps of parenting.
  • A lack of boobs makes you literally an enlisted man.
  • Officers give orders, the enlisted are to carry them out without fail or question.
  • Visiting officers from other armies (i.e. any female who is not Mom) will often forget they stand outside the local chain of command.
  • Reminding them they do can be fun and rewarding.
  • Something that eats a pure liquid diet has no business producing solids at the other end.
  • Having mom say "think of it like a butter churn, with legs" is not helpful when one is changing a diaper.
  • The only time you'll need to stick your baby in the car seat and go driving to calm her down will be during the heart of rush hour.
  • Babies will remind you that stop-and-go traffic is not acceptable.
  • Doing laps around the Dulles airport access road makes the security guys at the terminal nervous.
  • Clucking and scratching at the floor does not impress the gaggle of female relations that are flocking around your baby.
  • Saying "I'm just trying to fit in" to them doesn't help either.
  • Baby boys aren't the only ones who can shoot pee. And other things.
  • It is advisable to keep the business end of a baby's bottom facing away from the rest of the furniture at all times.
  • No matter where you put the dirty diaper, your baby will still figure out how to shove a hand, head, or foot into it.
  • When a baby grunts like a fighter pilot pulling 9 G's, it means it's almost time to change a diaper.
  • Almost because changing a diaper after the first "high G pull" merely results in the dreaded "double-diaper change." Better to wait until all the "turning" is done.
  • Watching mom deal with a smaller, less reasonable, more stubborn version of herself can be quite instructive.
  • Infants and LSO's (the guys who help a plane land on an aircraft carrier) have something in common. You'll usually only get 3 ratings from them: "OK", "fair", and "no-grade".
  • When caring for an infant, you will often find there are two courses of action for a given situation: one you "should" do, and one which keeps the baby quiet.
  • The people who tell you what you "should" do don't have babies any more.

Coming soon: How to Change a Diaper in Seventeen Easy Steps.

Posted by scott at August 04, 2003 03:58 PM

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