Tuesday, June 10, 2008

No More Mr. Mom Guy

by Alek Lev

I think the reason that people keep their placenta is because they think there might be some kind of instruction manual in there. Or a nanny. Or cash. Anything to help them through the first, say, 18 years or so of parenting.

As time passes, however, the problem is not a paucity of information but an abundance. And avalanche. A Diaper Dekor full. The problem, then, is sifting through it all. And for what it's worth, after my first year of fatherhood, I have developed a little rule I'd like to share:

Avoid labels. Avoid negativity. Avoid anything that begins: “Just wait until…”

You're taking care of the kid? Aren't you a regular Mr. Mom!
No. If I'm “Mr. Mom,” then is my wife, who works a full time job, “Ms. Dad”? If I'm a “stay at home dad,” then what am I doing with this $300 stroller? And this sun tan?

It just goes by so fast!
No, it doesn't. Not if you're paying attention. Every moment is so full that time just expands. (Of course, I'm also waking up three hours earlier than I used to, which could account for the phenomenon. But I also take two naps, so it's all balanced out.)

Just wait until he starts walking, then you'll be in trouble!
No, I won't be. And I'm not. He's walking. He's not walking on hot coals. Yes, he gets into everything, pulls things off the shelves, and threatens to break many breakable things, including himself. But isn't he supposed to? It's he… what's it called… learning?

Just wait until they start talking back to you.
It's so nice when they can't.No, it's not. Actually, this is the advice that makes me think to call Child Protective Services. What are you saying to your kids to which you don't want a response? “I might have killed someone today. Don't tell anyone. Wait – you can't! Hahaha!”

Just wait until he gets older. Then we can talk.
No. No thanks.

To have a healthy child is to win a lottery with longer odds than people realize, and it's a lottery that I am lucky enough to win every day. We're not big on holiday celebrations in our house. No flowers on Mothers Day, and no ties on Fathers Day. Instead, we'll spend both days like every other – appreciating each other, our son, and our outrageous luck.

Just wait until he goes to high school.
Okay. That one scares me.


The Pump Station said...

Alek Lev teaches Learning "Little Signs: Introduction to baby signing"
at The Pump Station