Daddy Five

One of my closest friends is going to have a baby soon.

Which I found out about through my father through Facebook. I told my wife a day later, but she already knew too. How is it that I can spend hours on Facebook and still be behind the times? Answer: I'm paying more attention to my own shit than everyone else's, but I think thats a whole different Friday Five. The "Like" me Please "Like" me Five. I'll save that one for a more melancholy afternoon.

Which reminds me, I should probably give him a call and congratulate him before writing about it, but deadlines are deadlines, and he's a theater director and probably doesn't answer his phone until after 6:30 pm.


Since it'll be too late to deliver this message over the wireless, I think it's perfectly reasonable to ante up some sage advice in a public forum, you know, like a blog that anyone can read.

So here it is:

Top Five things no one's going to tell you about being a Daddy:

1. Everything you've ever known about anything is fundamentally wrong.
You may have thought you had a grasp on the world. You may have believed yourself above the curve with your multitude of talents, genius level intelligence, and snappy fashion sense, but your life perspective is about to go from street level to the 180th floor. You are going to find yourself suddenly equipped with superhuman strength and courage one minute and crying during beer commercials the next. Good luck with that.

2. You own nothing.
Now, no one is ever going to confuse you with a materialist, but at this point, everything from the shirt off your back to your eternal soul belongs to someone else now. You won't get a receipt, but it's all tax deductible, which is nice.

3. Everything is fine, everything is normal.
You, my friend, are about to be introduced to the modern era of parenting. Books, magazines, online forums and WebMD is all at your finger tips and is all designed to send you into an anxiety spiral where every cough is pneumonia, every rash is a flesh eating disease, the Kaiser advice nurse is going to start calling you by your first name, and are you sure you have enough car insurance? Go ahead and become the expert on every physiological, psychological, developmental disorder you can get your hands on and then try to remember that everything is fine, everything is normal.

4. Find the Daddy Park.
I can't stress this enough. There are three different kinds of parks: The Soccer Mom Park, The Trophy Wife Park, and the Daddy Park. It's easy to avoid the Trophy Wife Park, it's usually the newest, most upscale park, with young trees, newly manicured fields, a Pilates group, and almost no children playing anywhere. Even in your most charming affable presentation, you will be scowled at like a potential child molesting leper.
The Soccer Mom Park is a bit more inviting, but the women there want to chat and brag, and the worst is they want to supervise play time. In my opinion, children are territorial pack animals and should be allowed to run with the herd untethered. Kids should learn how to deal with the jerk who keeps stopping in the middle of the slide. Kids should get their hands dirty and hit each other with sticks.
The Daddy Park is usually the oldest, with the best shade trees and a slightly dangerous look about it. Dads don't strike up conversations unless you're wearing a sports jersey, they don't get up off their benches until there is either too much blood or too much silence, and you won't be sneered at for feeding your child chicken nuggets instead of carrot sticks. The Daddy Park, I shit you not, will become your favorite place in the world. You will be able to sit in silence, sit in solace, sit in contemplation, and watch your baby grow as the leaves turn from green to red to brown to green again. Nothing will feel better than the day she conquers the slide, nothing will hurt worse than the day she no longer needs a push on the swings.

5. It's not the baby who needs you, it's your partner.
Babies are easy. Feed 'em, burp 'em, rock 'em, put 'em to sleep, clean their butts and take lots of pictures. It's kind of like college. But here's what separates the men from everyone else; for the next few years, the two of you are going to become crazy unfiltered hot messes. You are no longer two islands that get to occasionally have sex, you are now a mighty third world country constantly on the edge of civil war. Remember that there is NO COMMON GROUND and under no circumstances should you ever keep score. Repeat after me: Flowers, Sweet/Dirty notes, 2AM feedings and Clean Dishes. You see, when you feel like you're losing it, you go for a run, it's what men do when they can't rationalize their emotions. On the other hand, when she's losing it, she needs to yell at somebody about the places you leave your socks. Let that happen. Be a man of empathy until you feel your inner bastard starting to rile you up, and when that happens, go to the park.

Take the baby with you.

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