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Monday, September 12, 2005

four months of fatherhood: the lessons (more or less) learned

today baby nice guy turns four months old (well, actually, 17.5 weeks but she was born on may 12, so ...). yesterday, on sept 11, the nice guys went to a picnic thrown by our fantabulous midwives: they had a very busy summer, apparently, as there were no fewer than 3,699,037 babies that they delivered flopping around in prospect park with their parents. it was a lovely affair: semi-crunchy young moms and dads abounded. borderline unhealthy foods were being consumed with gusto. there was quite a bit of talk about barfing and defecation and sleeping. so, actually, it was a lot like college. only with more breastfeeding.

four years ago mrs nice guy and i were unwed, living in sin AND in boston, which is a sin itself, so we were living in sin-squared. since 9/11 we have gotten married, moved to new york (there's that hubris again), gotten shmancy jobs, bought an apartment in the nastiest apartment-buying-environment-ever (hubris, anyone?), and made a tiny, screaming, non-napping infant. we're absurdly blessed. life, despite how wisp-thin we're constantly reminded it is, goes on.

so, yes. four months of fatherhood. what i have learned about myself in the past four years has been sobering in itself, but these past 17.5 weeks have been eye-opening on an entirely different level. feel like learning everything you didn't want to know about yourself? have a kid.

honestly? i still don't feel like a dad. i see toddlers, walking and sort-of-talking, and i think you mean my kid is going to turn into that? my barfing non-napping lunatic? i feel more like the proud owner of some rare pet: a wild drooling hairless north american simian dwarf. she's cute, but a human? you have yet to convince me.

anyway, here, in four-part harmony, is a brief breakdown of what mr nice guy now knows about himself, whether he likes it or not, thanks to a tiny, unfurry chimpchild:

  • when you wake up every day at 5:30 am, it makes total sense to be drinking your first beer by 10.
  • a person who weighs less than 20 pounds can send me into such paroxysms of rage that i (a tiny-penis-having, card-carrying, junior flyweight pussy) am seriously considering joining an illegal kickboxing fight club in some chinatown back alley somewhere. must. punch. something.
  • i am capable of growing some really beautiful sideburns.
  • this same hairless chimp that throws me into apoplectic fits of fury is also capable turning me into its dancing, clapping, imbecilic noise-making bitch in my pathetic, dehumanizing attempts to coax a smile onto her unbearably cute face.
  • my wife's tits are so powerful that they can sustain life for months at a time! i knew they were impressive and all, but this child has put nothing into her body for her entire life that hasn't come out of mrs nice guy's recently-ample bosom. it seems i have underestimated her strength.
  • you have to give them credit: babies really know how to barf it up.
  • apparently i will never get eight consecutive hours of sleep again, and you know what? the hallucinations i have been enjoying lately are beginning to suggest that 4-5 hours every night just doesn't quite cut it. something has got to give and since i let go of my sanity weeks ago, i am terrified to learn what that will be.
  • watching a baby take a giant, gurgling, earth-rumbling dump just never ceases to be funny ...
  • ... until it leaks through her diaper and gets all over your sheets ...
  • ... and even then, it's still pretty funny.
  • drinking alone at home is almost just as fun as going to a bar with my friends. ok, that was a lie.
  • attempting to make sweet, sweet love to one's spouse while one's baby is screaming in the other room because she woke up sooner than she should have is stressful. also: it actually is possible to be too tired for sex (ok, seriously, someone please kill me right now).
  • it turns out i am exactly the type of psychopath who will walk up to you and your baby on the street and try to strike up a conversation by saying something deranged like "oooh, isn't he handsome" because, obviously, we are the only two people on earth who have ever procreated ever.
  • even though my head totally feels like it will explode if i have one more cup of coffee today, it actually won't.
  • i would never have guessed that i am perfectly capable of killing someone for merely breathing wrong on an infant. and yet there it is.
  • i really care about my baby's naps. remind me: why do i really care about naps?
  • i CANNOT WAIT until this child is 13-years-old and mortified that she sprung from our loins. there are untold joys waiting for me in those days when i can utterly embarrass my daughter just by wearing the wrong shirt or telling some dumb joke. oh sweet, sweet revenge, thou shall be mine in spades!

i grow weary of this exercise. you get the point. fatherhood is fun. and hard. and ennobling. and drunk. i recommend it. in fact, you can have my daughter. haha! joking! no you can't.

yes, actually, you can.

no you can't!

12 Comments:

Anonymous elisabeth said...

thanks, again! great laughs.

9/12/2005 10:23 PM  
Anonymous alex said...

been visiting here for a while, and i have to admit i usually go here for a laugh - and your site never fails! (unless it hasn't been updated, then it fails).

but really, thanks for this hilarious post and the many before it ... and the many to come. yours is a great example of what a blog can be.

9/12/2005 11:53 PM  
Blogger Candace said...

Oh, honey! Do I ever have good news for you! The shame starts so much EARLIER than 13 nowadays! We regularly embarrass our eight-year-old, and not even on purpose every time!

However, those time that *are* on purpose are done with such glee....

9/13/2005 12:04 AM  
Blogger birthfree said...

"...feel like learning everything you didn't want to know about yourself? have a kid."

You couldn't have said it more perfectly.

9/13/2005 9:29 AM  
Anonymous laura said...

Ah, the ambivalence. Expressed so well.

You WILL sleep again, but it may be another couple of months before you notice the sleep hours increasing.

I have eight. Kids. I sleep nine hours a night. It can be done. If it doesn't start happening on its own at 6 months, you can get it to happen. Promise!

9/13/2005 7:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

seriously you are an amazing and gifted writer. have you thought of writing a book? I practically pee myself every time I read this....

9/13/2005 8:25 PM  
Blogger zoe said...

You ought to know, Mr. nice guy, that you finally convinced me to get my, um, arse in gear and start my blog.

Our little ones are two weeks apart, and I love how different our experiences are.

Also, I love the respect you have for breastfeeding....seriously.

z

9/13/2005 9:27 PM  
Blogger TC said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/14/2005 2:00 PM  
Blogger TC said...

Don't worry Mr. Nice Guy, Things get even better (I won't even remind you that the terrible toddler years are still ahead, isn't that nice of me?) My Little Princess is three and at this point has the ability to completely crack me up by telling me her name is Her Majesty and then completely warm my heart by out of the blue wrapping her arms around my waist and tell me that I am "great" (high praise in her little world). I remember those times when she was so little and so cute and dependant it gets even more fun as you watch her turn into the person she will be. Have a great time!

9/14/2005 2:02 PM  
Blogger Ivar said...

i understand...ole beans went back to work last week and i am "the man?" right now. all i can say is...thank the gods on thier mountain for tivo and on-demand cable!

9/15/2005 9:29 PM  
Anonymous Heather said...

You are living our life (almost).Our baby was also born May 12. And this month we celebrate 3 years of dating, but anyway... Your description of dancing and clapping like an imbecile has me picturing Gob on Arrested Development.

9/17/2005 11:19 AM  
Blogger Tess said...

feel like learning everything you didn't want to know about yourself? have a kid.

Gosh, yes. My dad said the worst part of having kids is seeing your own bad traits come out in them.

I wish I could say it gets better, but 16 months out, all I can say is that the weirdness is different.

Tess

9/20/2005 1:32 PM  

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