I don’t know how it happens, but as soon as one of your friends announces that they’re having a baby, a mommy epidemic breaks out. It’s like all the ladies start sipping water from the same cooler.
One pregnancy announcement… three months later another announcement… six more months later another… and a few months later, one more. If I was observing this closely, the odds were telling me that my number was going to be drawn soon. And sure enough, a couple of months later, my hat is thrown into the ring with the other first time dads.
I guess I’ve always been a late bloomer. So it’s only fitting that I’m the last one to join this parenthood party. The benefit of being the last man in, is that I’ll have many resources to draw from to help lower my bad parenting decisions ratio.
So instead of asking questions, I observe and more importantly, I listen closely to the mommy gossip. We’ve already established that the guys are like the blind leading the blind and in order for me to get a good perspective of all my potential pitfalls, I need to hear the ladies complain about how big an idiot their spouses are.
So, here’s what my eavesdropping has taught me (so far) about parenting and my own impending proclamation of stupidity:
4. Public Fountains Are Not Emergency Bath Tubs
I’m going to out my own Dad on this one, but at the same time, give him a get out of jail free card for his impromptu actions. If I’m going to stand up for all of the unprepared fathers of the information age, I feel we owe some compassion for a father of a newborn in 1971.
Here’s the deal…while on vacation it seems that I was not in the most healthy state and had a very angry bum, yet mom still needed to go shopping. So, in a large big city mall, my father and uncle were told to, “Just watch the kids for a few minutes.”
An angry bum and an infant child is usually a lethal combination and I wasted no time letting everyone know. Let’s just say my diaper began to bubble and boil over.
Now my dad, in a moment of quick thinking, felt there was no time to go searching for a public restroom… but that giant fountain in the middle of the mall might just do the trick. One quick lap around this pool had me clean as a whistle.
Unfortunately, I don’t think many of the coins flipped into the fountain that day granted any lucky wishes.
3. Speaking of Poop…
Babies apparently like to do this a lot. And by a lot, I’m told that it doesn’t necessarily mean often, it can also mean an excessive amount at once. As in my own above-mentioned instance, sometimes a diaper just isn’t enough.
A wise word of advice I received was that if it’s a real doozie, cut your losses and just get rid of everything. Diaper, clothes, everything. Sometimes things just aren’t salvageable. Go to your bulk supplier of discount outfits and be on your way. It’s not always something as simple as skid marks.
2. Sometime It’s Better to Keep Tight-Lipped.
There’s going to be a time when the mommy-to-be is in that stage of pregnancy where you can’t tell whether she’s pregnant or just putting on a few pounds. For those not in the know, this can be cause for some awkward moments.
Just be warned… you’re not doing anyone any favors by trying to be a hero and attempting to ease the the minds of strangers by stepping in and telling them, “Don’t worry she’s not obese, she’s just pregnant!”
1. Do Not Ever, Ever, No Matter What, Place Your Baby In a Deep Freezer
This one really takes the cake. I think it’s safe to say that most decisions first time dads make, good or bad, are made with good intentions, especially when it comes to the health of their child. If there’s one thing most of us know, fevers in small babies scare the crap out of us. When first time dads are left to the challenge of helping to break these spikes in temperature, anything can happen.
When the wife of this lucky dad spotted him holding their baby daughter slightly inside an open deep freezer, she shockingly questioned him, “What are you doing?”
“Her temperature’s up. We need to cool her down a bit.”
“In the freezer?” the mother asked.
“Well it worked last time,” he replied.
“You’ve done this before?!?”
From this story, I’ve learned that sometimes it’s best to just hand baby back to mom. There’s no way of justifying some actions.