What Do You Tell a Dad-to-be?

In a phone call with my mom the other night she told me a friend of mine from long ago was expecting a kid and he was a bit panicked about the prospect. In the most “mom” thing she’s ever done, she asked if she could give the old friend my number for a quick chat. Of course I said that would be fine, he was always a good guy and will make a good dad, but those initial fears take some time to move through. If I could help, neat.

I don’t expect to hear from him, but I’ve been thinking of things that a dad to be would want/need to hear. That first kid is a terrifying and wonderful moment. It’s impossible to know what life with a kid is like before that poo machine arrives. It is possible however to humorously list some things that baby books may leave out.

So, old friend, if you somehow find this here are my tips for life with a baby.

Bottles. Make sure the cap is screwed on tight enough before giving them to the baby. Not too tight or the ring thing will crack, but tight enough. You’ll find that sweet spot when the kid moves on to sippy cups.

If you have pajamas with snaps, throw those mofos away. There is no design cute enough to make up for trying to snap pajamas back together at 2:00am.

Johnny Jump Up. Get one.

Babies are the most beautifully boring things on the planet. Be ready to sit around and be completely enthralled by tiny hands trying to grab things. It is the most fun you’ll ever have, but it is really akin to watching paint dry.

Get an immersion blender. Baby food ready in two minutes or less.

Once the kid starts to smile you’ll start doing anything necessary to watch that toothless grin light up. Slapstick worked for my boys, just make sure you have a safe landing area.

The first six months are spit up, ear infections and crying. Call your mom often to keep you sane.

Your kid’s mom is going to have a sudden hormone shift in the first week after delivery. Hugs, reassurance, and bad tv are good tools to get through this. Read up on postpartum though and watch for signs. This is probably job one for the first couple of weeks.

Take pictures, videos and notes. The kid is just a few years away from that dreaded “when I was a baby” homework assignment. You’ll need primary sources.

When that kid starts bottle feeding, do a midnight feeding or two. Hold them tight and listen to the snores between gulps and commit that moment to memory. Before long that baby will be a four year old that wants nothing more than to be a lightsaber waving ninja turtle. They get more fun with age, but the baby stuff goes by too quickly.

You’re in for a wonderful time.

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