Wow – we have guest posters now. I guess that says a lot about the staff writers here, wouldn’t you say? I, for one, have sucked at posting here lately. I’d chalk it up to a new job, new baby on the way (just days, btw, as in seven…SEVEN!) or a host of other reasons, but I’d be just making excuses. The real reason is that I’ve been on sabbatical sponsored by DadCentric. See, we have this great program whereby talented, prolific contributors are entitled to a three-month break with pay. Ha! I almost wrote that with a straight face. Pay?! Right. Oh, you’re laughing at the “talented, prolific” part? Bite me.

Anyway, as I mentioned, we are just days away from adding numero tres to the brood that already includes Little Dub and Little Dubyette. So, for a matter of 96 hours (give or take), we will have the dreaded “three under three” and then be spared any future trouble as Little Dub turns three and miraculously matures, bathing and dressing himself, using the potty regularly and getting his own meals. Can’t wait! As we prepare for Littlest Dubs(yette), I was reminded of an article in the Washington Post back in March. The article and its subject intrigued me: it’s kind of cool, but I’d also feel embarrassed by it and, ultimately, like I’ve missed something.

I’m sure there are plenty of us out there who have said, at one time or another during this whole parenting thing, “I wish I could just pay someone to do this for me.” Well, you’re in luck. There are. Sleep trainers, potty professionals, safety consultants who wrap your house in bubble wrap at a rate of $250/hour + materials – whatever you need, there’s someone out there who specializes in relieving you of any parental responsibilities. I always thought these things were a rite of passage for parents; moments that allow us to relate to our parents (and give them something to chuckle about) and provide fodder for future guilt trips when these babies and toddlers become obstinate teens. Aren’t these milestones, as exasperating (and enjoyable, of course enjoyable) as they can be, what bonds us together as parents? Aren’t Little Dub’s trials and tribulations during potty training something that Tony or Jason or Whit can laugh at me about, but ultimately understand and sympathize with (not that they would, mind you, because we’re guys – we’d rather laugh at you)?

Imagine this: Scenario One: you’re at a party with several other married-with-children-couples and conversation turns, as it often does (doesn’t it?), to potty training. The woman across from you says, “Young Damian was potty trained in two days. Our consultant was amazing.” My first thought? “Damian? Really? Like the anti-Christ?” The next would be, “A consultant? You hired someone to do that? Um…yeah…I think I see my wife on fire. Time for another beer.”

Scenario Two: Same party except now standing with a harried-looking dad, who says,”So, there he was, in the middle of the kitchen, pants around his ankles, diaper five feet away, spinning around like he’s a sprinkler. Funniest damn thing I’d ever seen. At least he knew enough to drop his drawers and remove the diaper. That’s progress.”

I find Scenario Two a far more enjoyable conversation to be in. But that’s just me. If you can afford to hire the fashion coordinator, potty professional and entertainment evangelist, by all means, get crazy with yo’ bad self. But, if you like trying to one-up your fellow parents with offspring antics, then stick to doing it yourself. It’s far more rewarding. And funny. Definitely funny.