Trial & Error: Tips & Advice For New Dads
I try to help new dads as much as I can in this little daily segment. I'd also like to think I bring a few fond memories back to those dads of the world whose little ones have grown up and no longer need dad's help as much as they did at one time. This isn't necessarily one of those segments. Older dads will cringe at the memories that come flooding back, and younger dads with either doubt my stories or run for the hills in fear.
Gross- I'm going to talk about feces, fecal matter, dookie, doo doo, poo, poop, deuce. Whatever you call it, it's no one's favorite topic. My trouble with poo started from day one. My son Tyler (whom I'm sure will one day want to kill me for publishing this) hadn't quite developed the proper muscle usage to evacuate what had been collecting. He was only a few days old, but we could already tell he wasn't getting rid of as much as he was taking in. As new parents, of course the first thing we did was schedule an appointment with our pediatrician. We took young Tyler into the room, the doctor walked in, and 30 seconds later we were walking out. It was like magic watching that doctor work. I won't go into dramatic details about what exactly took place, but let's just say sometimes you have to reach into the back of the commode to manually help with the flush. That's exactly what he did. That's exactly what we then did at least once a day for the next 2-3 weeks. Gross.
Cruel- For you new (or soon-to-be) dads that think you have a good handle on your child's bodily functions, be prepared to enter a new world of pain. I always thought I had an iron stomach, but I was no match for some of the sights, sounds & smells my children have brought into my world. Let me tell you about something called the Rotavirus. It's a mean little sucker. It's almost as if some evil scientist (think Dr. Evil) thought to himself, "Mankind already has so many different diseases and viruses. What I need to do is take something that's already disgusting and make it 15 times more disgusting". Rotavirus makes even the worst of diapers from the past seem like a field of blue bonnets. Everything about it, from it's color to its texture to its smell, seems designed just as some sort of cruel joke. Cruel.
Why?- When your baby isn't feeling well, it hurts you. What's wrong? How can I fix it? That's all that's going through your mind, so when you sit in front of a doctor that doesn't even raise an eyebrow at your madman-rantings, it's frustrating. To spend the time, effort and money to go for a doctor's visit and have them just tell you there's nothing you can do and just "ride it out", it leaves you helpless. Sitting around the house with a sick child just waiting for the next vomiting session is nerve-wracking. My older son Tyler didn't seem to develop a gag reflex until he was five years old. We called him "The sprinkler". Anytime, anywhere... he just let it fly. Don't expect ever again to have nice furniture, car seats or blankets. Children will not only destroy the fabric of your possessions, they'll also destroy the fabric of the memories you have with those possessions. Why?
Damage- As a new dad, I took very little interest in the design of the nursery. A crib, a dresser and a changing table are all I cared about. The colors, designs & theme I left to my wife. The idea of a bumper pad was foreign to me. I didn't argue about having a bumper pad put around the bottom of the interior of the crib. Why would I? I'll tell you why. That bumper pad acts in a fashion similar to the sides of a swimming pool, blocking in anything looking to escape. That something looking to escape? A mixture of virus-induced liquid forcefully leaving all openings of my child's body. It may have saved the carpet below the crib from certain ruin, but cleaning that mess without damage to the floor was the toughest engineering feat of my life. The damage that haunts me to this day is permanent. Damage.
You now have four words, gross, cruel, why & damage, that will remain with you, whether you want them or not, until the day your child is out of diapers and has the gag reflex to avoid vomiting uncontrollably. There's nothing you can do about it once the package is on the way. Just plug your nose, close your eyes and go in elbow-deep, because it's about to get real. For those that are now beyond those years, just offer a word of encouragement to those new dads out there, because they're a lot more miserable than you are right now.