As I approach my 11th month of fatherhood I am once again reminded of just how much things have changed in my life recently. Less sleep, more poop, less space in the house, more love than we could ever imagine. I wouldn’t change anything, obviously, but I have to admit things are completely different now. That includes the meaning of words and phrases around the Daddy Files household. For instance:
“Let’s go for dinner and a movie.”
Before Kids: MJ and I would come home from work, throw on some decent clothes and head to a nice restaurant. We’d take our time, have a few glasses of wine, talk about our day and flirt a little. Maybe we missed the 7 o’clock movie but that’s OK, just more time to be together. We’ll catch the 9 o’clock showing instead.
After kids: Dinner consists of eating cereal on the couch in shifts. One eats, the other one tries to put the baby to bed. Then we grab whatever Netflix movie has been sitting around for the last month and try to watch it over the screams from the angry baby in the nursery. One of us is asleep by 8:30.
“Let’s go for a car ride.”
Before Kids: Pack some things in a bag, grab the bare essentials and hit the open road. Where are we going? Who knows?!?! We don’t need a destination, wherever we end up is good enough. No schedule, no timetable and no worries.
After Kids: A car ride? What time is it? Hmmm, well we’ll have to make it a quick car ride because Will should take a nap in about an hour and he’ll never sleep if we break his schedule. So let’s pack the diaper bag. Bring a change of clothes. Don’t forget the wipes and the extra diapers. Did you bring the can of formula? And the bottle. Oh oh oh wait, we need the umbrella stroller too. Don’t forget his hat in case we end up outside. Oh crap, what about the dogs? We need to take them too. Shit, that means we can’t fit the umbrella stroller so we can’t go anywhere that requires us to get out of the car. Damn…it’s time for his nap. Let’s just forget it.
“Honey, we were invited to a party!”
Before Kids: your friend calls you or sends you an E-vite to let you know there’s a bash happening at so-and-so’s house. Bring the 30-pack of beer and grab some chips and salsa. No need to bring a change of clothes because we’ll probably be naked at the height of the party. Bring on the Beer Pong and Asshole, I’m about to tie one on!
After Kids: The E-vite turns into a Winnie the Pooh card. No one calls anymore because we all have kids and we’re too busy. The 30-pack of beer has transformed into 16-oz of formula. The chips and salsa is now Gerber Graduate finger foods. The only change of clothes you need is for your son, who will surely pick this opportunity to shit or piss his way through his onsie. Bring on the crawling and the whining, I’m about to shoot myself in the head.
“I’m gonna take a quick shower.”
Before Kids: Well, this one’s pretty self-explanatory. If you wanted to perform the simple task of showering you just jumped in. End of story.
After Kids: The only time we can shower in peace is when we’re home together. If it’s just one of us, we shower in front of an audience. Like in prison. Will cannot stand it when we go around the corner and he knows we’re in the bathroom. Therefore he screams his head off. And since we live in a condo with paper-thin walls, we can’t let him wail away. That means we have to let him loose in the bathroom while we shower. Which also means we need to babyproof the bathroom first, and then shower halfheartedly as we try to wash and keep an eye on the drunk midget careening around the bathroom like a Weeble Wobble.
“Let’s watch some TV.”
Before Kids: I was adamant about my TV schedule. Married With Children is on right when I wake up in the morning on Spike TV. When I got home from work I’d watch Still Standing and King of Queens. That would be followed by Everybody Loves Raymond. If it’s baseball season, the Red Sox are on from 7:05 pm to 10 pm. In the offseason it depends on what night it is, but I religiously watch Lost, Rescue Me, The Office, Worst Week, My Name is Earl, Two and a Half Men, Law & Order, How I Met Your Mother and the Big Bang Theory to name a few. And if it’s football season, Sundays are all about the Patriots and football in general. I LOVE TV.
After Kids: The morning lineup is drastically different. Imagination Movers, Handy Manny, Little Einsteins and the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Instead of SportsCenter I’m now reduced to watching the cartoon version of Wilmer Valderrama as an illegal immigrant handyman. Instead of South Park I’m stuck watching those wackjob Imagination Movers sing about EVERYTHING! And instead of Family Guy and Peter Griffin’s amusing antics, I have those annoying little know it alls from the Little Einsteins trekking around with Rocket.
Before Kids: 11 a.m. on a weekend.
After Kids: Not applicable.
“Baby, are you faking it?”
Before Kids: “Faking it” used to be the courtesy my wife graciously extended to me during our lovemaking sessions to make me feel better.
After Kids: “Faking it” is what both of us now do in the middle of the night as we pretend to be fast asleep when Will starts to cry.
“Let’s have a guys night out!”
Before Kids: We’d hang out at someone’s house for awhile, then head out into the city and hit the bars. We’d drink cheap beer, hit on cheaper women and end up with expensive bar tabs. At 2 am the bars would close but we were still open for business. We’d bring everyone back to our apartment and keep the party going until the sun came up.
After Kids: We still start off at someone’s house but it’s a dramatically different look and feel. Instead of cases of beer, we’re lugging around diaper bags. Instead of talking about who we hope to hook up with that night, we’re all trying to remember when the last time it was any of us had sex. We drink one beer each. None of us go to the bar because 1) It’s 4 o’clock in the afternoon and 2) None of us have any money because we’re all broke with kids. Our “late night” ends at 7 p.m. because that’s when all the babies start getting cranky so we all go home. And what’s worse, this “night out” has been the latest we’ve stayed out in months.
“I’m gonna love you all night long!”
Before Kids: I’d flirt with her throughout the day in the form of phone calls, text messages and e-mails. She’d do the same. Then I’d cook dinner when we got home, throw in a little massage and even managed to incorporate some foreplay. And of course the hours and hours of marathon nookie. Don’t forget the cuddling afterwards.
After Kids: HE’S ASLEEP! HE’S ASLEEP!! QUICK, TO THE BEDROOM! HURRY…HURRY UP HE COULD WAKE UP AT ANY SECOND! I DON’T CARE IF THE DOG IS ON THE BED AND LICKING YOUR FEET, JUST HURRY FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY!!!!! Dammit. Maybe next time…
Obviously these are all in good fun. Sure there’s truth at the heart of them, but I wouldn’t trade my old life for my current one. Will is fantastic and I love him more than anything. Have a good Friday!