Sunday, June 17, 2007

My First Father's Day

I just added a gig recently where I'll be providing blog posts to the newly created Baby Babble blog at Amazon. It's been a little rough sailing during its first week (I still wish they'd fix the images in this post, or just get rid of the image tags completely -- I look like a dunderhead), and unfortunately one of my first posts never got published. Here 'tis on this Father's Day, my first of many to come:
One of the benefits of my recent entry into the Parents Club is you get to celebrate a new holiday--either Mother's Day or Father's Day. Since I'm still a little new at this, I had to be reminded that my holiday is just a few days away. Whoops.

I don't think I can expect that Lil' F, our three-month old, will have shopped for a tie for his old man (though a gift of a day free of spit-up would be great). But I am hoping that he has some good napping time on Sunday, which would allow me to reread some of Crawling, by Elisha Cooper. I ran into this book almost by accident last year during my wife's pregnancy, when I was fretting about my future. I had many friends with kids, who all seemed to like my clowning antics, but I couldn't imagine dealing with a little critter day in and day out. As I paged through the first pages of Crawling, I came across this passage, and knew that this book might just speak to my jitters:
For starters, I had never liked children. Like most men in their twenties, I would sooner have been handed a bomb than a baby. If someone asked me to spend time with their children (no one was asking), I would have felt the same way if they had asked me to spend time with their ferrets. That I wrote books for children was something I chalked up to irony, and chance.
Cooper has a very dry (occasionally profane) wit and unsentimental view of parenthood (for the most part, though that certainly evolves), which might not be everyone's cup of tea. But I really appreciated the honesty, both in emotion and in retelling some potentially embarrassing tales from his daughter's first year, and it helped to put myself into a frame of mind to accept the responsibilities that were coming on quickly.

By the way, Cooper's children's books also quite delightful--I love his minimalist illustration style--and I'm hoping that Lil' F becomes as big a fan of them as I am. And on second thought, sharing Magic Thinks Big and A Good Night Walk with my son would be a marvelous way to spend Father's Day, even with a bit of spit-up.
~Agen G.N. Schmitz, Amazon Baby Babble