They say men don’t fall in love with their offspring until well into the first months of parenthood. Whoever made that observation couldn’t be more accurate…When our daughter was born I thought she was the cutest little ball of human ever to grace the face of the earth. Looking back on it, I can now say that she looked a bit like ET. Let’s just say the phrase “A face only a mother can love,” takes on a whole new meaning once you’ve had children. This brings me to my next point, men have the luxury of maintaining their sanity and composure during and after childbirth, they’re not exhausted and groggily doped up from just having pushed out a living being though their hoo-haa. This alone grants them the rationale to look at that baby and think, “Damn, I hope it improves with time.” And thank heavens they do. Furthermore, this emotional detachment of sorts is what makes watching the progression of the father/grandfather/uncle/fill-in-the-blank-male-role and baby relationship so goddamn entertaining.
As our baby is about to turn a year old, I’d like to take a minute to reflect on the evolution of three key male figures in Tilly’s life. Allow me to elaborate…
The Sound Machine:
Granddads who seem to have forgotten everything about being around babies usually take up this role. My poor dad is no exception. When Tilly was a newborn, he would stiffen up the moment she was within three-feet of him, and should he have to pick up the baby he would start sweating so profusely he required a wardrobe change. His coping mechanism for his thorough physical discomfort was to make high-pitched noises at the poor child. Now, imagine you’re new to this world and you have a large man coming at you like a raging bull while squealing “A-goo-goo-gaa-gaa” followed by a dizzying series of tongue clicks and finger snapping. Hell, just the thought of it makes ME want to cry right now. As time has passed, my father has greatly improved. However, he is still a fan of the incessant noise making. So, now my child sees my dad and turns into a tiny beat box, which of course he find hilarious; it’s a vicious, never-ending cycle! For what reason grandpa believes that the only form of communication between an adult and a baby is to spew gibberish at an exceedingly high speed and volume, I have no clue. But believe me, it is not.
The Baby Whisperer:
I would give my left boob to have this man around 24/7. This is the man that replaces Ryan Gosling in your post-partum dreams. You no longer care about that sexy, rain-drenched Adonis waiting for you at the end of a dock…no no no, now all you want is that certain someone that the mere sight of makes your child yawn. Allow me to explain: I call my child “Tilly The Menace,” not because I think this is a cute hash tag, but because this child doesn’t sit still for more than five seconds at a time. She is the Tasmanian devil incarnate, and unless I take her to bed in the sanctity of her dimly lit, nature sounds-infused room, she just won’t stop. Ever. So, when it turns out that her godfather is a walking BabyNyQuil, you better bet your ass that I want this man around, forever. When she was 3 months old and would fall asleep with him, we thought it was cute. But when it kept happening, every time he was around, we started to suspect that he might be slipping a lil’ somethin’ somethin’ in her sippy cup. Regardless…don’t ask, don’t tell.
The Credit Taker:
This is, of course, the father of your child: the proverbial genetic god that only passes on desirable qualities to your offspring. The same man that possessed the objectivity to admit that, no, your baby wasn’t cute when she was born (like 99% of newborns out there). As this year has progressed though, my husband’s previous clarity has been replaced by a spellbound googly-eyed-ness that is quite frankly pathetic at times. Every time our daughter so much as blinks it’s all because “she’s just like her daddy.” And while yes, I will admit, the girl is 90% daddy there’s something about your genetic gene pool getting brushed under the rug that doesn’t seem quite fair. I don’t recall him carrying her around for 9 months and then pushing her out his nut-sack, no siree. Nor do I recall him thinking she was so cute and perfect when she was up at 2 a.m. Actually, I seem to recall his complaints of lack of sleep and energy, even though I was the one up in the middle of the night. Catch my drift here people?
The truth of the matter is I envy these men in my life (ok, maybe I even resent them at times). They get to enjoy the baby at their convenience and hand her over when they’ve had enough. Don’t get me wrong, my husband does take on quite the load with Tilly the Menace, but at the end of the day he still gets to take leisurely showers, sleep in past 6am, and even (dare I say it) go to the bathroom with the door SHUT. Oh the joys of motherhood, never did I imagine I’d be sharing my most intimate moments with a wobbly 11 month old day in and day out…and yet, here I am, blogging while she dips the roll of toilet paper in the dog’s water bowl. Meanwhile, where’s my husband? Sleeping in on a Monday morning ‘cause he had one too many adult beverages on Sunday Funday…yay for mommy.