Father’s Day 101

February 12th, 2013 posted by Eric Ruhalter

Anyone will tell you, becoming a father is a learning process. There are things, though, that you can’t read in a book or hear from your parents or even Oprah. Many things you just have to come to know on your own. Often to the great potential hazard of yourself and your child, but such are the trials and tribulations of life. As my first Father’s Day approaches, I’ve been reflecting long and hard upon all that I’ve learned in these seven short months that I’ve been in that elite society of people who’re known as “Dad”.

The first thing fatherhood taught me was how to be supportive of my pregnant wife.

I put my foot in mouth a thousand times from the moment of conception until the moment of delivery and several thousand times since then. I learned not to suggest that in lieu of spending money on maternity clothes we fashion something out of old bed sheets or a hefty lawn and leaf bag. When she’s mowing through a box of Nutter Butter cookies, you shouldn’t say “I thought you were only eating for Two.” In the delivery room you shouldn’t remark – “The baby’s almost out, how come you still look fat?” Au contraire. You have to flatter unlike any other time in your life. Walk behind her and remark, “From back here it doesn’t even look like you’re pregnant!” If she’s simply too enormous to say anything sincerely nice about her size, concentrate on something else such as how nice her skin is, or how of all the people you’ve ever seen as large as she is, she smells the best. From there the lessons just continue to fall into place…

Fatherhood teaches you common sense.

It’s good to let your child follow his natural curiosities and explore things. However, this does not include the knife drawer, the octopus with eleven electric cords sticking out of it and wet things on the floor of a public rest room facility. They want to check out everything and you want to encourage him, but that doesn’t mean you should hand him the candle on the dinner table if he reaches for it.

Fatherhood teaches you to be wary of strangers.

People are going to be naturally curious of your baby and you’re proud to show him off, but that doesn’t mean you should let a homeless intravenous drug user play “Got yer Nose” with him. Nor is it okay to allow young upstart street entertainers to include your baby in their juggling act.

Fatherhood teaches you the growth cycle.

You come to learn that you’ll not be out in the yard tossing the football with your newborn fresh out of the hospital, and that he can’t barely hold his own head up. Before you have a baby, the average man can’t tell the difference between a baby who’s two months old and one that’s three years old. Afterward you can tell how old he is, how much he weighs and when he’ll be getting his teeth.

Fatherhood teaches you humility.

One time when I was watching the baby alone, and a friend suggested I take him out in the stroller because chicks dig a guy with a baby. Something about phermones. Every time I looked at a girl to gauge whether or not they were checking me out with the baby, though, I’d get a look that said “Look at you looking at me to see if I’m looking at you with your baby.”

Fatherhood teaches you diplomacy.

You have to smile and chortle with delight as you’re presented with a tie or a paper weight or a really ugly, ill-fitting shirt you’d not be caught dead in. It’s certainly the thought that counts, but there’s the matter of having to warehouse all the crap. There’s no way to ever get rid of any of it without getting busted by your kids who’ll be taking inventory of every gift they give you for the next decade or so.

Fatherhood teaches you morality.

Somehow you can’t get past the fact that whatever you do, your kid is going to do. As his father he’s going to see my example more completely than anyone else’s, save for some big screen action heroes. Therefore any sordid behavior I partake in, I can pretty much be sure that he’ll do as well.

Fatherhood teaches you poverty.

Baby stuff is pricey. In the absence of relatives who can take a hint, you’re often forced to spring for them yourself. And that’s when they stick it to you. Are you really going to try and economize when you’re picking out a seat to protect your baby in the car? My parents always told me – “You’ve got a lot to learn. Just wait until you’ve got kids of your own.” I suspect this is just the beginning of what they meant. This Fathers Day I’m going to think of all my new role as a father has taught me, as I unwrap a really hideous tie with a big fat smile on my face.

Eric Ruhalter (2 Posts)

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Cindy Rowe
Cindy Rowe (7 Posts)

Cindy Rowe is the owner/editor of Crazylou Creations blog. On the blog, you will find a little bit of crazy, and a whole lot of fun! As a FT working mother, she still finds time to create crafts, play around in the kitchen, plan parties and exercise. You'll find all of this and more on her blog!

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