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I’ve accomplished many things in my life by moving little more than a finger. I’ve pointed at things; I’ve held onto plastic bags; I once fell asleep in an empty parking lot full of concrete and bricks, and I woke up inside a 42 story apartment complex with barely more than broken sweat and a strained flexor tendon. The biggest minimal-movement accomplishment: becoming the World’s Greatest Dad. Earlier this week my wife and I attended the first physical exam, and I did nothing more than follow my wife into a testosterone-deprived women’s clinic waiting room and sit. I was the only male in this room. Later, because of this, I’m told how great I am.

The father’s role so far seems to be just a glorified version of the schoolyard favorite, Follow the Leader*, which, contrary to the patriarchal stereotype, I embrace. This is something simple, something I can do. I once followed Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping through a cornfield for six hours. Why? Because it was simple, and I could do it.

While, the domestic version of Follow the Leader may involve fewer world leaders, the measure of success is surprisingly similar between the two forms. Victory is determined simply by the amount of following a single player will endure. And when that number of players drops to one (or starts at one, as in my case), the remaining participant is declared “Father of the Day.” If playing with political world leaders, the remaining participant is more appropriately declared “Martyr of the Day.”

Many of the preggies were far enough along to perhaps justify an absent companion. After enough of these checkups I can imagine becoming numbed by routine, and where there is routine there is a perceived unimportance. I’m sure the husbands had reasons for missing the appointments: work, kid hating, or maybe forced overtime at the kid hating factory. Despite the reasons, though, one fact remains clear: I am the greatest father in the world.

EDIT: Remained. Was.

Like too many great men of our time, when presented with a choice between maintaining the status I had so lazily acquired, and risking it all for potential gains otherwise, I chose the funnier option. After the examination, my wife stepped from the room, proudly walked back through the waiting area, and entered a separate laboratory office. She completed this entire journey with her pants left unzipped**, in what I contend was an animalistic approach at boasting that she is “with child.” Female Huntsman spiders accomplish this by filling their jaws with egg sacks. She insists otherwise; that it was a way of boasting that she is “with a jerk.” I’m not sure what that means.

This is sure to remain a constant battle in both this blog and in family life: play to the audience vs. play to the inherently funny.

*My history of competitive playground games doesn’t stop there. I once battled Joseph Stalin in a marathon game of four-square, which elevated quickly…too quickly, some journalists say. The resulting blood stains are how the city of Red Square got its name. True story.
**My wife is really embarrassed by this part. I am a jackass.

A safe assumption would be that preparedness is a goal of any couple expecting their first child. I can imagine the embarrassment of bringing home a baby for the first time only to realize that instead of stocking shelves with diapers and talc, the child has shit itself and the mildly resourceful new parents must rely on old towels and, let’s say, baking soda to MacGyver their way out of this literal mess. Hell, baking soda is promoted as a way to absorb orders; I’d go that direction in a pinch.

I believe, however, that there is a limit. When cleaning the bathroom today I discovered a plethora (I’ve checked with my lawyers, I can legally use the word ‘plethora’) of baby hygiene products. For those of you who have followed this blog from the beginning—the beginning being 2 days ago—you know that 1) my wife has wanted children for a very long time, and 2) is a mere 6 weeks pregnant. This latter fact has severely crippled my ability to safely assume anything.

I believe that when exploring general infant preparedness there are certain items that can be reserved for after the baby grows past the gross embryonic stage; items like baby shampoo, baby lotion, and baby cream—i.e., items that necessitate skin. But as the old saying goes, “to assume makes an ass out of you and me.” The ‘you’ in this case is me. The ‘me’ in this case is apparently me as well. And the ‘ass’ is mine, though supple and soft it may be due to a frightening concentration of baby products already coating our bathtub. I planned on later asking about this premature accumulation of products. Until then, I allowed my mind to wander.

Anticipating a logical reason for the products, I wasn’t initially jarred enough by their discovery to call upon my plethora of lawyers. However, upon closer examination of the products themselves I did find a valid reason to be disturbed. A solid 3ozs of the baby shampoo had already been used. My immediate—and admittedly over-reactive—response was to assume that, during the hours I spent away from the home, my wife bathed Cabbage Patch dolls and wads of cat hair in order to fulfill her motherly instincts. And to complete the image, I imagined she probably knitted an umbilical cord out of squirrel carcasses and feces.

I planned to ask my wife about this too, though with warranted caution; cell phone in hand and 9-1-1 on speed dial. “Yes,” I pictured myself reluctantly telling the asylum employee. “That’s my wife, the one in the corner teaching her blanket paddy cake.”

She came home. I asked. The products are for her friend’s child, whom she cares for on Tuesdays. Good. I anticipated a bit of trouble sleeping with one eye open.

Something else that I hope isn’t prevalent enough to warrant becoming a regular feature on this blog: products with gross names. Baby Cream, for example. Are they de-boned before puréed, or are the bones left in for calcium fortification?

About this site:

These are the words of a man learning to be a father with nothing to guide him but the wisdom of friends, his wife, his family, and some pretty good hunches…like, really good hunches, though.

Action Montage:

4 weeks

8 weeks

12 weeks

16 weeks

20 weeks

24 weeks

28 weeks

The Goal (replace dotted line with actual profile)

Read this…

"A Mean Utility" short story from Craig Davidson's collection, Rust and Bone.(This goes to an excerpt; the full story deals more with fatherhood, I promise)

Shit Yeah, Another Baby. by By Amber Richardson

Archives: A history of things I’ve likely already forgotten

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