Spring semester has started and my class is hard at work on their first essay, a narrative loosely based on Esquire magazine's "What I've Learned" feature. I've decided to lead the way for my fearless students and write my own "What I've Learned: The First Nine Months." Here goes:
1. To all those who told me that I won't mind the smell of baby shit after the first few hundred diapers -- you were 100% wrong. I do mind the smell; it gags me.
2. Babies can reach out and grab like little lightning fast ninjas. Dylan can give a titty-twister as hard as any full grown man. Not that I've had a full grown man twist my nipples lately, but the point is, they still hurt like a mother.
3. All the gross things parents do that I swore I'd never do? I do them all and actually enjoy snacking on mushy crackers that Dylan has used as teething rings. I use my spit-finger to clean off her boogers, then wipe said boogers on my own clean clothes. And I love getting baby kisses, even if they are from an open-mouthed, drooling, food-stained daughter.
4. Nothing is louder than the sound of your own child crying in a nice restaurant. Or really, any restaurant.
5. Any piece of clothing with at least three miniscule baby-buttons will be worn only when necessary. Jumpsuits with buttons than run from neck to toe will remain in the closet until they are too small to be worn. Conversely, clothing with snaps will be worn well past the recommended age limit, making Dylan look like an overstuffed sausage. Velcro would be ideal.
6. If I drop anything on the floor smaller than a quarter, Dylan will find it and eat it.
7. Don't make a baby laugh when she has a mouth full of chicken-vegetable-blueberry goulash. Also, don't tickle a baby as she's pulling herself up on a step-stool. She'll fall and you'll feel like a heel.
8. Sometimes, just putting pillows on the floor for landing pads as Dylan plays on the couch constitutes good parenting. As long as other parents don't catch you. Or Regina.
9. Babies bring out the songwriter in us all. Granted, it's usually the same song, with different verses to match the current activity. As of now, I have thirty different versions of the "We're Going To Eileen's" song, but they all begin the same way. You guessed it (sing along): "We're going to Eileen-y's, we're going to Eileen-y's." It's catchy and I can dance to it.
And, finally: 10. No matter what, a smile from Dylan always makes me feel like the best Dad in the world. Even if it's followed by a big, smelly poop.