Became a new daddy when I was fifty-two. A hard thing to believe. ’Course I already was a new daddy way back before, back in the aughts. Was a simpler thing then.
You know they got a little gadget nowadays called a Snot Sucker? Just what it sounds like. You hook up a little tube and you suck it right out the child’s nose. I don’t know what to make of that, I surely don’t. They got one for the gas, too. I ain’t gonna tell you where you put that one. Reckon you can imagine it for yourself. A hell of a thing. Box it comes in says it’s from Sweden… like that’s supposed to explain it somehow.
Back in the old times the child ate and slept and that about done it. Now they got new words for the old things. Now I gotta do somethin’ they call “baby-led weaning” and they’re sayin’ I gotta mind the child’s “wake windows.” I can tell you what all them words mean separate. But put ’em together in such a fashion and my mind goes kinda soft.
What’s more every time the child soils his nappy now I gotta track that onto my phone. Gotta tell it the time, gotta tell it whether we’re dealin’ with a number one or a number two. Job’s hard enough and you want to give me more paperwork? You want me to weigh up that little turd? You want me to give it a name?
Figured I was pretty good at things back first time around, and maybe I was. But you can’t help but compare yourself to the old-timers. And wonder how they would have operated in times like these. Most of the old-time dads, they never wore no Baby Bjorn. Or no Ergobaby or Boppy Comfy Fit. Nothin’ like that. Now every time I walk out the door I got straps and velcro criss-crossin’ every which way like they’re fixin’ me for the electric chair.
Can’t help but compare myself too ’gainst the young fellers I see out there on the playground… spry like young bucks in a spring meadow. Clamberin’ and chasin’ up the jungle gym shod in nothin’ more than a pair of flip flops. Lettin’ your toes out in public like that, well it ain’t decent. Toes are a thing between a man and God and not for the whole world to look at. Gimme a good pair of them New Balances. Or Merrells. A modest color and good support, hell that’s all I ask for. Good support ’cause my knees ain’t near what they used to be. Every time I’m playin’ with the baby and I gotta get up off the floor I gotta do it real slow like one of them construction cranes they hoist up there in stages. Old age has a funny way of flattening a man.
My wife, well she’s a patient and kind soul, I tell you that. But she only got so much of it when it comes to a man strugglin’ to take measure of his changed world. At first I said I wanted one of them cribs with the side that drops down, on account of my back and all the liftin’. And she said I assure you, hon, there ain’t no such thing and ’course I didn’t believe her. So we went and rode on over to the Buy Buy Baby and I’m cursin’ the young man there like son, you take me to that damn drop-side crib, I know it’s here, and all polite he goes, sir, they done outlawed them cribs back in ’09. Turned my face redder than a donkey’s ass. Nothin’ like a simple lesson to show a man how to hold his tongue.
Now when my wife’s got that laptop with all them tabs open pokin’ around to buy somethin’ called a Snoo, well I don’t dare pretend to know what such a thing is. I reckon Snoos are like some kind of snuff you rub on the baby’s gums when the teeth start comin’ in. That’s how we did it way back before, as I recall.