The Bloke's Guide to Fatherhood,
an email newsletter from Blokes.org.uk
August 2009 - Special edition for first time Dads
So you're scared witless and wondering what you've done. Congratulations and welcome to the club. We Blokes have all been there, so don't panic. Help is at hand. To ease you through this important rite of passage, read on...
Here's a lifesaver tip: never, ever, not-in-a-million-years tell your beloved what she really looks like in her final trimester. Jot down this checklist: immense, no; beautiful, yes; akin to a dromedary, not on your life!
Bear in mind that women in their first pregnancy tend to have one or two false alarms. This is perfectly normal; it's just her way of checking that everything is packed and ready for the main event. In reality the actual onset of labour will invariably clash with something unmissable on the box: the Cup Final for example. In such circumstances merely pass a wad of cash to any hospital porter to ensure the nearest television is angled in your direction. This, combined with a discreetly positioned Bluetooth earpiece, will ensure that you are free to squeeze your partner's hand without missing out on any of the excitement. Be wise, mind. Screaming GOAL! in the middle of a contraction could be a tad difficult to explain.
Helpful hint #174: make sure you do plenty of research on the benefits of breast feeding. Not only is mother's milk unbelievably better for your child, it is also something that only your beloved can provide. Should you choose to ignore this advice and opt for formula, guess who'll get lumped with the 3am feed? Don't say we didn't warn you!
Nappies (that's diapers for our US readers) are a problem area and should be approached with extreme care. Women are genetically better adapted to coping with foul vapours (as evidenced by their fondness for men). So here's a foolproof scheme to get your better half to excuse you from this task. Wait until your offspring has just been bathed and powdered a sure sign that a poo is imminent. At once, snatch the child away with a hearty "Let me help, darling!" Then pass through the garage on your way to the bathroom and coat your hands with a rich blend of oil, grease and pitch. So long as the fingermarks take at least two weeks to wash off your baby's smooth, perfect skin, you may consider yourself indefinitely excused from this particular duty.
And now for this month's reader anecdote. Here's a tip from Phil Smith of Basingstoke who writes: "My wife and I went for cloth nappies as we were worried about landfill sites overflowing with disposables. My Bertha just chucks the soiled cloths in the washing machine so I don't have to get my hands anywhere near them. But, shock horror, my nearest and dearest took ill last week and was confined to bed for three days. Being a Bloke, I don't how to operate the washing machine, so my pants and socks just sat in the laundry basket. Alas, by the third morning, Susanna's nappies were reeking to high heaven and Bertha was threatening to call in the dreaded mother-in-law. That's when I hit upon the perfect solution: I tied all nine nappies to the roof rack and took my motor down to the local car wash. One shampoo, rinse and wax later, the nappies were perfect. And now I know what to do the next time Bertha is away and I run out of underwear!"
Thanks Phil for that great suggestion. Keep sending in those emails. We've had more than two thousand responses to Arthur's hilarious tip on potty training while out on the golf course. I'll never look at divots in the same way again. Next month Chris Thompson from Brighton writes about the perils of using a vacuum cleaner to clear away baby vomit. Don't miss it!
And here's a final message from our sponsors. Suffering with a colicky sprog who's keeping you up half the night? Then treat yourself to the complete James Bond DVD collection. If Timothy Dalton doesn't send your child to sleep within twenty minutes, we'll send you a full refund and you can keep the movie set to boot. Of course, once the brat is snoozing soundly, you can switch over to Sean Connery, snuggle deeper into the sofa and enjoy the rest of the night. See Bond-Babes.com for further details.
Blokes.org.uk. Because we know it's tough being a Bloke.
Gregory Kane is a missionary from the UK who ministers in Mozambique, Africa. He can be contacted through his web site at http://kane.elim-moz.org/
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