Thursday, August 13, 2009

That Guy

So being a parent is wonderful. Great. Amazing. Life changing. But there are obviously things that I don’t like about it. But they are the things you don’t think about. The poop, the sleeping, the not sleeping, the screaming, the teething. All that you can prepare for. Mainly, I didn’t expect that I would become that guy. I am that guy. You know, that guy who tells you that being a parent is wonderful. Great. Amazing. Life Changing. Which immediately causes all non-parents to dry-heave. I’m now that guy that gushes about his daughter on Facebook. This likely causes several people who may or may not have liked me in high school to de-friend me. I’m that guy that stares smokers down if they are within 15 feet of my baby. I'm that guy that spends a Saturday afternoon picking up breast pump shields for his wife. I’m that guy with a picture of his kid as a background on his phone. I’m that guy that has to turn down a friend's offer to go for drinks because I want, not need, to go home and see my daughter. I’m that guy you honk at because I’m not taking a left hand turn in an intersection when I really could have made it if I had floored it but I didn’t go because I have a baby in the car godamnit and I’m not taking that kind of risk! I mean, come on, I’m blogging about my life as a father. Trust me, I want to punch myself in the face sometimes.

But this is what happens. I look at the world differently now, there is now way around it. There is an episode of 30 Rock where Liz tries to hang with the guys. They tell her they are all going out to a strip club and she yells, “Yeah, Let’s go see some naked moms and daughters.” I see the entire world like Liz Lemon now. Every woman is a possible future for my daughter. So strip clubs and friends of Rick Pitino take on whole new meanings for me.

My reality has changed. My house is now an obstacle. I look at every object in my house and need to consider the possibility that it will somehow end up in my daughter’s mouth --- because right now, anything she can get her hands on is meant to be tasted. It makes it especially hard that she is no longer a motionless blob. Olive has just started to roll over and grab at things. She can shimmy her way slowly towards things. I know that soon she will be crawling, walking, and, yes, falling. She will be able to reach for things I never thought about her reaching. The other day while changing her she reached out and grabbed a dirty diaper I had placed next to the changing table while I put the clean one on. In the past four months I have probably done this 483 times. But now she can reach that dirty diaper and now she wants to taste that dirty diaper. I must now protect her from that.

Yes, becoming a parent is wonderful. Great. Amazing. Life changing. Seeing your baby smile, or laugh, or really do anything at all can make you feel like your heart is pumping twice as fast as normal. But you have to be prepared for the side-effects. You will become that guy. No one wants to become that person they have made fun of for years. Every parent thinks they are going to be different and cool, and some succeed. But then most of us see our reflection in a store window as we push the stroller by with the car seat in it with four different toys hanging from the handle. And then you know that you are that guy. And you can’t imagine anything different.

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