“Are you getting nervous?”
It’s a question that I’m hearing quite a bit these days. It’s t-minus 8 weeks to Baby (assuming that she cooperates), and everyone seems to think that I should be chewing off my nails, drinking heavily, and sweating profusely. (Do they think I’m an OCD alcoholic with hyperhidrosis?)
I guess it makes sense to ask that of a new father-to-be. I’m going to go out on a dangerous limb here and say that most guys are idiots with young children. Not all. But definitely most. When that child is a girl, the male parenting IQ often seems to bury itself down around the frost line.
This is generalization, I know, but I’ve seen so many guys get handed a baby and suddenly start acting like they’ve been given a nuclear bomb and can’t find Jack Bauer’s cell number. They’ll hand that little bundle off to the first woman in sight, recognizing that there is likely going to be a queue of females waiting for their turn to soak in the joy of cradling a tiny pooping machine.
The fact that I can’t fix a car engine, sink a free throw, or shoot animals for fun likely excludes me from the ranks of the “real men,” so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that I am usually the first person to acquire whatever child is in the room and follow a set routine based on age:
Newborn to 4 months: Carry baby around making cooing noises and occasionally smelling baby’s head to capture that fantastic baby smell. Humbly accept comments from women that I “look good with a baby.” Find mirror and admire the tableau of me with baby. Think to myself, “Damn, I do look good with a baby.”
4 months to 1 year: Put baby on hip and walk around, looking at things that baby seems to find interesting. Pose questions to baby. Remove glasses that baby keeps trying to eat/break. Make farting noises by blowing on baby’s stomach. Pretend to eat baby’s feet.
1 year to 6 years: Hang child upside-down by both legs, one leg, a leg and an arm, or wrapped inside a blanket or towel. Spin child in air. Throw child up and catch him/her. Comfort crying child that was accidentally dropped.
7 years to 10 years: Build towers out of blocks and then take turns knocking them down with rubber band guns. Spin child in circle by the arms (or legs, if child is fairly durable) until one or both of us throws up. Repeat.
11 years and up: Fun with slingshots.
So am I getting nervous? A little. But for the most part I am excited beyond belief that I get to have a kid that I don’t have to give back to someone else at the end of the visit.
I just hope she likes being hung upside-down.