Cleaning out my head

This post also appeared on in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.

Here are some random things that’ve been rattling around in my head since becoming a father:

— I don’t think I’m a baby person. I love Will with all my heart but “playing” with a baby isn’t very fun. Clean, feed, change. Repeat ad nauseum. I think I’m going to like it a whole lot better when he’s talking, walking and mouthing off to me.

— I used to be a smoker so I’m not one of those holier-than-thou non-smoking zealots you see on the “Truth” commercials. But how in God’s name do these people think I’m going to let them near my child after I’ve just witnessed them smoking? They always think that if they put their butts out and breathe the remaining smoke away from us that everything will be fine. As if the toxic chemicals or the rank odor of cigarettes doesn’t stick to everything. My wife basically makes me go through a surgical scrub before I touch the baby, yet these jokers think they can flick the cigarette away and then touch Will? Sure…makes sense. Why don’t you just dip your hands in battery acid and then rub his face? Or handle radioactive material and then not wash your hands before playing with my child. I swear I’m going to break someone’s arm one day!

— I love the attention Will gets when we go out. Sure there are some crazies out there who don’t ask before they try to touch him, but for the most part the people who stop and comment about how beautiful he is are genuine. Most of them are older moms or grandparents who miss having a baby around, and it’s nice to watch their faces when they look at Will and relive old memories.

— Because I work, I don’t get to see Will during the day. Hence, my wife is much more in tune with his feeding times, nap schedule, diaper changes, etc. Well I found out on Sunday that Will poops once a day now around 11 a.m. I was wondering why MJ had a devilish smirk on her face when she handed him to me for a diaper change over the weekend. But when I opened it up….sweet Mary Mother of God!!!!! It was everywhere. His diaper couldn’t even contain the excremental fury. It went up his back and out the sides of his diaper. The kid had poop on his knee. HIS KNEE! And the smell…I swear I nearly threw up at least a dozen times. I may have cried a little and begged for mercy, I’m a little hazy on the details because I think I blacked out. And that’s just breast milk and a little bit of formula, what will happen when we’re dealing with solid food? I weep for the future.

— I’m quickly learning that one of the great things about having a kid is that gift-giving occasions are much simpler now. Happy Birthday: here’s a framed picture of Will. Merry Christmas: how about a collage of the baby. Happy Anniversary: it’s a coffee mug with Will’s picture on it. I’m going to put my son’s picture on every piece of plausible merchandise I can think of until he’s old enough to get a job and buy people presents himself. But the best thing about it is these gifts are cheap from the heart.

— The dogs have gotten used to Will. Maybe a little too used to him. I came back from the bathroom yesterday to find Fenway curled up with Will on the couch, as she laid her head directly on his stomach. Her head was rising and falling in time with his breathing. Very cute. However, they’ve also gotten doubly protective of the house ever since he came home from the hospital so they bark at any loud noise now. That’s gotta stop. Although I wouldn’t mind if they turned out like this dog.

— Speaking of the dogs, Will has a kid’s book called “The Very Quiet Cricket.” At the end of the book when you turn the last page, it chirps pretty loudly. Haley, our golden, is so funny when the sound is made because she’s looking around like a crazy dog trying to hunt down the source. I’ll let this go on for 5-10 minutes at a time or until my wife tells me to cut it out. Open the book and watch her go berserk, close the book. Open, close, open, close. What can I say, my brain has turned to mush and now it’s the little things that amuse the hell out of me.

— Although Will isn’t quite old enough to start watching DVDs, I was curious what these kids shows are like so I popped in a Baby Einstein Shakespeare DVD. It made me want to trip on acid or smoke a few pounds of pot. It’s filled with bright colors, sounds and soothing voices. It’s really, really trippy and even though I wanted to turn it off I was strangely transfixed and unable to look away. But if those DVDs are all that I’ll be watching as he gets older, I may have to start experimenting with mind-altering substances.

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2 thoughts on “Cleaning out my head

  1. I’ll try and stop your mother from reading this as she enjoys the framed collage of Will pictures you gave her for her birthday/Mother’s Day.

    But you’re right – give us something with Will’s picture on it, and you’re golden.

  2. Weddings also provide a couple rounds of photo gifts. For those who don’t have babies, pets generally fit the bill for at least one or two occasions. People generally frown, tho, when I give them a photo of just my 40-ish-year-old self.

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