(Note to reader, I now I sound like a broken record, but remember I wrote this in 1997. Even if the names haven’t changed to protect the innocent, or the squeamish, the ages have changed.)
Every now and then, my lovely bride will get this wistful look in her eye. It normally comes from her being subjected to a friend’s New Baby!! Now as a father of four, a phrase that will forever strike complete terror in my heart is, “Look at the baby! Isn’t (he/she/it) cu-u-u-te!” Naturally, my answer is a resounding, “Hell no, it looks like Winston Churchill!!” Which, by the way, is what most babies look like to everyone except their mothers. Face it, even people who have never heard of Winston Churchill will agree with you once they see a picture of the stately old English diplomat. Only a mother, or another woman, could love a baby’s looks. Most men would just ask the Mother if she wanted a banana for her monkey. Guys, have you ever wondered why conception was fun? This is Mother Nature’s way of ensuring the propagation of the species, otherwise there would be no way a man would allow any of this to happen.
Another anomaly of a woman’s desire for children is nature’s way of making the woman forget any of the previous pain of childbirth. Within months of the actual childbirth, women can look at a baby and still say, “oh, how adorable” or “we want another one.” (For the record the “we” should be read to mean “I”, since no man at this point is going to argue with a woman who just spent all these months of playing “Name that Hormone.” Trust me, he will never admit to his true feelings. You know, “NO WAY” or “only if you promise to shoot me right after......”) (Yeah, I am beginning to think that the Praying Mantis has it right!)
How can a woman, after nine months of carrying a watermelon around, and then having her ....... I mean sutures,....... Stretch ....., OUCH!! HOW CAN THIS BE??? Who knows? Maybe woman just have short memories, well, no that can’t be since they remember everything you ever said during any fight over the last forty plus years....... So, I guess it will remain a mystery to the male of the species.
For men, the immediate pain of childbirth is strictly vicarious unless he happens to be in the delivery room and within his wife’s reach. (This has been known to cause serious injury to some Dads, and it is best to remember to watch carefully where she is reaching at any point in the delivery.) For the most part, the reality of Dad’s kind of pain is only truly evident when the hospital bills arrive and/or after the first 4 a.m. feeding before a major presentation at work the next day. It is finally at this point that Dad realizes what a stupid thing he has just been involved with, and what an awesome responsibility this parenthood is all about. This is also the time that Dad wished he still hated girls and lived with his Mother........
It is always impressive to hear a presentation made by a man who has matched alligator ‘American Tourister’ bags under his eyes, a constant yawn on his face, and Gerber’s strained peas down his tie and over his right shoulder. This guy will struggle through each word, he will slur his speech, and he will have to squint in the bright lights. As if this wasn’t enough, he begins his speech with the ever popular, “Now just pretend it is an airplane......” And finish with, “Pleeaase, Pleeaase, just let me sleep........”
How much more horrible can it all get? Well, believe me “you ain’t seen nuttin’ yet. At each stage of the child’s life there are new hurdles to jump, and more bodily functions to wipe up. For example, what parent hasn’t had the joy of watching their child become artistic with feces. “Yuck,” you scream... “Ooooh, Gross,” you yell, well guess what? It gets worse. There will come a time when you will remember with fondness the Picasso of human excrement, simply because at least then you knew what you were dealing with........ When they get older, you will detect similar odors emanating from their rooms, but you won’t have a clue as to the source. Is it a biology experiment? Chemical experiment? Last month’s sandwich? Could it be the hamster who mysteriously disappeared a month ago? Naw!!! That would be too easy. For you the mystery will go on with only a variation of the odor to guide you. What is the more likely scenario is that you will find a fungus riddled dirty gym sock wedged in next to the air conditioner duct behind the bed. A sock, by the way, that hasn’t fit the child in two years, but appears to have the recent teeth marks of the youngest child. ~ Michael S. Pauley