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As D-Day approaches, Jen and I have been spending more and more time with our noses in various books, absorbing as much information on infants as humanly possible before we’re confronted with one of our own.
Jen has been following/researching her weekly progress with “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” which, come to think of it, was actually the first baby-related thing that we purchased.
“What to Expect” has gotten a pretty bad rap from some of the groups I frequent (PreDaddit in particular), but I think Jen has found it to be very reassuring. She’ll occasionally read interesting bits aloud during our couch-time, which inevitably prompts conjecture on topics that we have absolutely zero experience with and a discussion that you parents out there would probably find adorably idealistic.
I, on the other hand, started off with, “Baby Wise,” which was a shower gift.
I read the first 150 pages of this, and came to the conclusion that it wasn’t worth the time. The author spent WAY too much time telling me why every other M.D. was an outright idiot (including a diatribe about Sigmund Freud), and how, if I listened to the advice of these quacks, my daughter would have an underdeveloped brain, suffer life-long insomnia, and end up a neurotic, homeless, heroin addicted prostitute with webbed feet and it would be all my fault.
He also took way too long to explain exactly what the “Baby Wise” method was, and how it would encourage my kid to enter her slar phase more willingly. In essence it was someone’s poorly written doctoral thesis and I simply cannot abide shoddy writing, no matter the context. So I tossed it aside and went in search of books with more practical solutions.
Which is when I found, “Be Prepared.”
No, not the Lion King version.
This one has been straight-forward, informative, and even has a companion website with infant CPR diagrams, back exercises, and instructions for invoking FMLA. It also has some really important things like shadow puppet cutouts and a 5 minute mp3 of a crying baby. (To help prep our puppies for the vocal stylings of one Ms. Daphne.) It’s essentially the Boy Scout Handbook for dads; I’m 3/4 of the way through and I’ve been a big fan so far.
Next up, and continuing in a familiar theme, will be “The Baby Owner’s Manual,” which I’ve heard is quite good as well.
I figure if I can teach myself HTML, Linux, network architecture and how to build a computer from scratch from various books, I can at least get a decent start on the requisite maintenance and troubleshooting of babies. Because it’s those kinds of things that I need to learn. Things like how to properly change a diaper (given this season’s waistline, of course), how to prepare a bottle, the aperture radii of ascending nipple sizes, when I should take her to a doctor/ER, etc. It’s that kind of concrete stuff that I don’t have a clue about.
The rest of it? All that “being a good daddy” stuff? Yeah, that doesn’t bother me at all. Where that’s concerned I wholeheartedly subscribe to the Indiana Jones School of Parenting.