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...



Welcome back. So far we've covered the pregnancy, the delivery and the reality of having your first child. And, so far, you've survived. But now comes the hard part- dealing with the day to day crap (literally) that comes with having a baby.

So here we go with our next installment...


What's the downside of having children- the same as having dogs, or donkeys or dragons (I don't know why but Pete's Dragon was in my head, sorry)- you have to clean up after them? And every first-time dad learns this the hard way.

First there's diaper duty. If you're like me, you wanted no part of this, but the reality is there is no way to avoid it. Somehow, you're going to find yourself alone in that hospital room with a screaming baby with no wife or nurse in sight (your wife will probably be getting a sponge bath at the time) and you're going to have to give yourself a crash course in how to change out a dirty diaper for a clean one. It's easy, really:

Step one: take a deep breath. Step two: hold that deep breath. Step three: place your baby on a big bed and begin to unravel the swaddled maze of blankets and clothing they wrapped her up in. Step four: once your baby is naked, gently undo the dirty diaper, making sure not to touch the umbilical cord stump and not to look at what's inside the diaper (ew). But, don't remove it- the diaper or the stump (that would be really bad). Step five: open a fresh diaper and stretch it out. Step six: before you turn blue, turn your head to the side, exhale and quickly take another deep breath and hold it. Step seven: like that old tablecloth trick, quickly yank the dirty diaper from beneath your baby's butt and just as quickly replace it with a clean one. Wipe from genitalia to anus, and not vice verse, with fresh, um, wipes, until clean. Make sure to get in between the folds of skin around her thighs as well. Next, Secure the tabs to make sure the new diaper is snug, but not so tight as to cut of the circulation. Step eight: gag (its a normal response) at the sight and smell of either a black sticky or yellow curdy, mucousy poo that resides in the old, dirty diaper and roll it up before you pass out from the fumes. Step nine: like Larry Bird at the free throw line, toss that disgusting thing in to your hospital roomates' wastebasket (across the room) and hope you land it (missing could be bad for so many reasons... especially if you didn't close it properly). P.S.: Make sure they are out of the room. Step ten: re-wrap your child, trying to remember each swaddle fold in correct, reverse order to make it look like you never did a thing so no one will be the wiser- and if you're lucky, you may get away with never having to change a diaper again, but I doubt it.

Second... Spit up. No matter what they tell you, it's less "spit" and more "puke." Some kids just dribble it, others can shoot it out of their mouths and aim it across the room like they were using a missile guidance system- sometimes they get the cat, but most often it's your favorite dress shirt or sports jacket (if you're dumb enough to be wearing it around a puking geyser). True, it's just formula, for now, mixed with stomach juices and saliva, but one day it will be more consistent with the kind of throw-up you encountered that last time you over did it on the Tequila and tacos (wait til your kid gets the stomach flu for the first time), so build up an immunity now. Don't hold your newborn without a burp cloth either over your shoulder or on your lap. And a lobster bib, a big one, might not be such a bad idea either.

And, finally, snot: what would the world be without snot? Well, although it's every parents dream to watch their child discover their snot for the first time... and eat it (the kid, not the parent, although it happens, in traffic, a lot), you are many months ahead of yourself for that kind of spectacle. Instead, prepare yourself to wonder how that much ectoplasm comes out of a kid that small. Your newborn sneezes, and its like watching a magician pull a handkerchief out of his nose- it just keeps coming and coming. It oozes, and dangles and drips right into you kids mouth before you even have a chance to grab a Kleenex. Or it hardens and peaks out of the nostril like a groundhog in search of his shadow, but if you go to pull it out it becomes more like an Anaconda, a long, slippery one, with no end in sight. Its gross- but it's your kid, and, therefore, your snot. So buy stock in Kleenex, if you know what's good for you.

And there you have it, the s@#!, the crap, the grossness of being a first-time parent. And you don't even know the half of it...

Stay tuned for our next tutorial, entitled: "The Difference," when we tell you the truth about how much your life is really about to change... boy does it ever.

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