Tuesday, April 11, 2006
I've decided a lot of daddy-ing had to do with confidence. Confidence to be able to hold the little guy without dropping him, smacking one of his soft spots, or not cradling him in such a way that he makes a beeline toward my milkless breasts. Confidence to be able to diaper without being peed on. Confidence to be able to calm your frustrated, anxious, or outright crazy little one. Since my wife had a C-section, I was the one attending to our little Squirt for the first week and the three days in the hospital--being creative. As an only child and a second generation immigrant with no extended family in this country, I had virtually no experience around babies. The first 72 hours were exhausting but I've got four or five tricks to try when the little guy goes ballistic. The smoothering face into my chest hold, going Milli Vanili song and dance routine to the music playing, the calf-extension elevator jiggle, the straightjacket swaddle, and my most successful, the Barry Sanders hold that allows me to straightarm/gather laundry with other arm.
I'm the anal-type that has read through the encyclopedic baby volumes, daddy books, went to baby care classes, and even sat through the obnoxious videos (proud Oprah found the Asian-Am Man/African-Am female couple.) But what is really needed to instill confidence for the average daddy is a 20-25 page how-to pamphlet on daddy responsibilities and how to carry out the job (short enough not to frustrate or bore.) Home Depot instruction manual style with a list of different options. Not the politics of why or a metastudy of research in the area - just the how. To allow daddys know what to do without feel frustrated or out of place. Confidence, that's what is all boils down to.