My sister and brother-in-law recently found out that they were going to have a baby, and then even more recently they found out that they were going to have a baby boy. I am extremely excited for them and cannot wait to have a little nephew running around that I can call “krephew” and teach how to fetch and open beers and punch his dog. Nature willing, my wife and I will soon be on the road to parenthood and it got me thinking about the kind of father I want to be. For the last three years, I have been practicing with my dog and I had better shape up or my house is going to be covered in baby shit, chewed up pacifiers, pee-stained rugs, and dirty bowls of mashed peas.
The thought of being a father has never scared me. It’s the thought of my children being like their father that scares the hell out of me. A lot of my friends have kids and what I have noticed about myself is that I don’t act much different around a three-year old versus a 30-year old. Sure, instead of “camel dicks” I might say “camel wienies,” but that’s about the extent of it. At a party last year, I had to convince a friend’s son that Douchebag (pronounced Doosh-eh-bog) was really a town in Germany and not a term used to describe someone who’s acting like a prick (after I slipped and called this guy who was acting like a prick a Douchebag). If anything, little kids lure me in to their routine. I start transforming and in two shakes of a lambs tail, I am eating cake with my hands, running in circles just to get dizzy, wetting myself, and saying “no!” to everything with my arms folded across my chest. Then I get pissed when I get put to bed early and everyone else gets to stay up later than me. I guess I better shape up or my wife may start penning the script for Problem Child 8: Junior Goes to Divorce Court.
First and foremost, I have got to get my temper, my foul mouth, and my poop-smell gag reflex in check. If my kid takes a crap on my watch, I can’t start cussing at him and throwing up. Instead, I need to learn how to take a deep breath (in another room of course), wipe the shit off my arm, and then hand the baby to my wife. Maybe we can work out a deal where I do pee and puke and she does poop. (You think I am kidding? I puked up cherry Icee in my garage the other day while cleaning up dog shit.) I’ll even make us funny parent t-shirts that say “I Do Pee” and “I Do Poop” that we can wear when we hang out at Gymsanity (or whatever that place is called) with other parents.
Next, I have got to tone down or do away with activities that may leave a lasting impression on my child’s psyche. I’m not sure if any studies have been done, but I would hypothesize that daddy playing Call of Duty at full volume while constantly yelling, “Die you fucking Commie fuck!” at the TV screen probably isn’t a good thing unless you’re looking to get your kid an interview in the next Michael Moore movie. I should probably not slap my wife’s ass in front of the kid either because that could lead to a few suspensions and a couple of awkward glances from other parents when, instead of greeting mother with a hug, the child slaps her on the ass and screams “Gotcha!” Also, I hope our child never finds out what “day drinking” is (even if it is how daddy and mommy met).
This brings me to my next thought. I must make cognizant decisions as to what parts of my “legacy” I want to pass on to our child. Do I want him or her to share in father’s love of Days of Thunder? You bet your ass. Do I want him or her to inherit my nose-picking problem? You bet your ass. (Therefore it’s settled, on Sundays we’ll watch Days and pick our noses while mom tells us how gross we are. Then we’ll both fart so we can watch Days without being told how gross we are because farts make mommy leave the room.) The one part of my “legacy” I know for certain that I don’t want our child to inherit is my passion for Rollerblading, especially if we have a boy.
I have also got to learn to let things go. I am the type of person who will see something out of place and it will just eat at me all day. For example, my wife might leave her hair brush in the office on top of the computer. I’ll notice the brush and hope that she puts it away because the last time I checked, her brush doesn’t have an email address or an iTunes account. If a couple of days go by and that brush is still trying to log-on to the internet, I start to get annoyed (when all I had to do in the first place was pick up the brush and throw it over the fence). I need to get over this because I am probably going to be the Magellan of discovering baby-related crap and will need to learn to just put it back where it belongs. “Eureka! There’s a Teletubby in the freezer! Tinky Winky must be returned to the child’s crib in the West at once!”
Finally, I have got to follow my wife’s lead. Never have I seen a woman give more unconditional love than my wife. I can only imagine what a baby would do to her and what she would do for it. Her patience and understanding never ceases to amaze me. Steven could piss on her favorite dress and she would hug him and tell him it is okay. That is exactly the type of woman I want raising our kids…someone who plays the good cop to my bad cop, the Jekyll to my Hyde, the Julius to my Vincent, and the poo shirt to my pee shirt.
(I bet none of you got that Twins reference in that last sentence.)