No one has ever asked me so I’m not sure my opinion…my seasoned take…is of any value. Fathers-to-be have never actively solicited my advice. I do not dwell in a cave like some 21st century hermit awaiting seekers of wisdom, ready to provide them with the secrets of what to expect when their child finally arrives. Then again, I never sought the advice of other veterans either. I had it in my head that at 38 I had seen a great deal – more than some, less than others – but a great deal nonetheless. I was wizened, savvy. People do offer advice, of course. We hear it all the time solicited or not. But, fathers, I think there is something we can share with our brethren that, as some cruel part of the initiation, we keep to ourselves. Some bon mot that tips them off while not going into a load of detail; something that implies a “You’ll see” tone.
Something like, “I hope you have a strong stomach.”
But more subtle.
Maybe, “Vomit easy?”
I’m not even talking about the poop. The poop is easy, although that meconium does come as bit of a surprise early on – enough so that you want to call Fox Mulder. Spitting up is amateur stuff. If you can’t take that you’re in for a looooong haul. No, it’s toddler vomit. Specifically the vomit of a milk drinker. I have done some hard partying in my life – spring breaks, Mardi Gras, Oktoberfest, frats, Little Dub’s first birthday party (I kid – it was his second) – and have seen up close and personal the effects of such drinking. But nothing…nothing…prepared me for what the littlest Dubyas do.
I found myself thinking about this last night as I was up to my elbows in sheets and blankets covered in curdled milk, bile and remnants of a macaroni and cheese dinner, diligently rinsing them out before dropping them in the wash while Mrs. Big Dubya was upstairs hosing down Little Dubyette in the tub.
“No one told me about this part. It’s a good thing I have a strong stomach.”