Fatherhood and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Don’t get me wrong. I love my one month old daughter. It’s just that sometimes I get so jealous of her that I cry myself to sleep, or at least I would if I wasn’t so tired. Here I have helped create a being so fortunate that she can throw up, poop, fart, spit, drool, burp, and eat, wherever, however, whenever, on whoever, and for whatever reason she wants, and nobody ever yells at her for doing it, or even makes her feel bad or in the least bit guilty. On the contrary—appreciation for her unpredictable bodily functions increases proportionally with the amount of force she employs in expelling her products.

A perfect example of this is when I came home two weeks ago and my wife said to me something like this: “Rafi, it was amazing! You should have seen it! Tzivie made a huge projectile barf all over the floor with such force that if it were water, it could have pressure-cleaned chattahoochee!”

And I, I was overcome with the usual baby-appreciating disease all new parents are diseased with, and I was actually proud of her. “Wow,” I thought to myself. “My daughter is talented!” It’s not that I just said that to myself in a pathetic manifestation of cognitive dissonance. No. I was actually proud of her and I took her in my arms and kissed her cheeks and told her what a good job she did at barfing today. She responded by lowering her eyebrows in one of those, “I’m going to reward you with a big poop now,” gestures. And sure enough.

There’s nothing I can do but smile and change her diaper. She’s just too cute.

To give you a bit of contrast, if I behaved like that, I would be isolated and quarantined with mandatory signs stapled to me saying “Unclean! Unclean!” like the Jewish lepers of the book of Leviticus, and before I know it a research team with giant Hazmat suits would be surrounding me, wondering what strain of Ebola I have and discussing the most biologically sterile way to immediately ship me to Africa before I infect the entire hemisphere. And my wife would yell at me.

But Tzivie, all she gets is positive reinforcement. And throwing up, regardless of force, never stops her from continuously ingesting more milk. I call her the Roman, after those profligate Roman feasts where patricians would gather, binge,  engorge themselves and throw up just so they could eat more. Judging by how we have been raising and praising our child up to this point, I genuinely don’t understand how humanity ever got over that infantile stage of development.

You’d think that someone who gets to be so completely open and free with her bodily functions as to embarrass Adam and Eve before the Sin would be constantly happy, but this is not so. Sometimes she just decides to be unhappy for no particular reason at all. This is when we open our arsenal of anti-crying devices. They are:

1) The Moving Around Tactic. This is when we move around while holding her in hopes that she is crying because she’s not moving around enough.

2) The Swing. A technological variation on the moving around tactic.

3) The Car Seat. A twisted form of logic based on the theory that if she was sleeping in the car, she’ll sleep in the car seat as well. But the problem is that the car is actually more of a combination Moving Around Tactic and Seat.

4) The Hug. Rests on the theory that maybe she needs a hug.

5) The Plug. Also known as the Boob Substitute, this usually works unless she’s really pissed off, or sucking so vigorously that she spits it out on release and wonders where it went.

6) The Boob. When all else fails, whip it out. It works every time.

The only problem is, The Boob inevitably leads to The Barf, and the whole cycle begins again. My daughter is so talented!