Hello and welcome to a strange new world. You have traveled far through the desert, only to be met time and again by one empty oasis after another. You are lost and alone, wandering, wondering if someone, anyone, knows how you feel. And just when you think you can't go on, and no one could possibly understand your struggle, a hand reaches out to you, lifts you to your feet, and carries you to the promised land. He feeds you knowledge, shelters you from the self-righteous (and the ridiculous), and provides you with the tools you need to survive in this brave new world. You are a stranger in a strange land, but you are not alone. Let him be your guide. Follow closely as you travel together on this adventure of a lifetime. For now, you are a foreigner to "Fatherhood" but soon YOU will be the master of this realm.

"No Man is Expendable!"

This is Fodder 4 Fathers...

Preparing for the Unimaginable: Why Two XXs Don't Constitute a Strikeout

I don't care who you are, if your wife is pregnant with your first child your mind automatically runs rampant with dreams of having a boy. Why? Well, there's no scientific reason, it's simply a preference, not to carry on your family name and not because you're a misogynist at heart, but rather, to keep you sane.

First time father's either have dreams of having a son, or nightmares about having a daughter. Its a fact. First of all, being a boy, you know boys. And secondly, being a boy, you know girls and the hell they can put fathers through. So you can be sure, no matter what your brave face says to your wife, you're crossing your fingers, and toes, that you're wife is about to give birth to a boy...and you know it!

Try to hide it but the truth comes out no matter what you do. I remember sitting there, watching my wife's second ultrasound, angling for a view of anything that looked remotely like a penis. "Is that one?" I kept asking the technician. "Is that one?," I kept pestering her. But she couldn't get a clear view. It took over a half an hour before the baby turned around long enough for her to take a guess. "I'm 95 percent sure it's a girl," she said. And "I'm 100 percent sure I need a second opinion," I said (much to my wife's dismay).

Neither the technician nor my wife understood my need to know; the need to be 100 sure. First there was the 40 bins of hand-me-down clothing in the garage. I needed to know which bins came in the house and which stayed in the garage - the boys or the girls? Then there was the color scheme of the nursery - pink or blue? But the real reason I needed to know, the honest truth of why I needed to know if I was having a boy or a girl, came down to one thing, and one thing only: fear. The fear of having a daughter. More importantly, the fear of having a daughter in this day and age of sex ting and whatever else twelve-year-olds can think of.

My second opinion came in the form of a 3D ultrasound, which, understandably, I was not invited to. It came back 100 percent conclusive: vulva. Vulva: the scientific term for "no wiener." Vulva: the word that told me I was about to enter a world of dance recitals, tampons, and horny teen aged boys. I was inconsolable, until my wife was inconsolable because I was such a schmuck.

I slowly realized the stupidity of it all. I was about to have a daughter; a little girl that would revere me; a little girl that would become my whole world. And as scary as having a daughter sounded, at first, the idea began to grow on me, and after about twenty minutes or so I was sold on the idea. Having a daughter wasn't so scary after all. I mean, how much does a shotgun and some shells cost anyway (to scare off future suitors)? How many years of dance recitals is too many? How long does it take for a kid to learn tae kwon do to protect herself? How could I have been so wrong?

Well, my daughter is ten-months-old now, and all her male contemporaries are bulldozing their parents houses while my sweet little angel watches kung-fu movies with me, quietly on the couch. She doesn't cry, she doesn't whine, she doesn't scream. She doesn't do anything but smile when I enter the room to get her in the morning, smile when I put her to bed, and smile and laugh almost every other second of the day. And, I smile because for a second, a brief moment, I didn't want her because she was the wrong sex, and I realize how wrong I was.

I'll deal with her dating years, some day, way off in the future, but for now, I'm enjoying my little girl. The daughter I couldn't live without. May you only be so lucky to be blessed with a daughter. I know I am.

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