The Rabbit Died

Everybody has a calling. No matter how many “joe-Jobs” one must endure in life, there  is always that one occupation or volunteer assignment that is absolutely tailor-made for you.  Hollywood is full of stories of waiters and busboys that toiled in anonymity until that one moment when the stars aligned and they were thrust into the national spotlight due to a movie or television role that was just right for them. There are, unfortunately, just as many stories of starlets and wannabes who jumped at the wrong opportunity and these are the stories of drug addiction and despair that the Lifetime Network loves to make movies about.

It would be great if these stories of trying to find one’s perfect fit in an occupational sense were limited to the tales of Lalaland, but everyday people also have to struggle to find the exact role in life that they are to play. Today while listening to Sports Radio, which is a great way to reinforce the fact that there are bigger losers in the world than me, I heard an ad that spoke to me. I didn’t know that the job it described even existed, but now that I know it does, it seems a perfect fit for me. No, I am not going to travel the country buying back broken gold chains from penniless widows in seedy hotel banquet rooms. Nor, am I going to travel this far land selling products for “male enhancement”. The job I heard described is perfect. It is called a parenthood advisor. These people serve as a kind of Nepali guide to those about to climb the Mount Everest that is raising a child. The ad mentioned that these people guide you through the whole experience from pregnancy through the toddler years. Apparently, no one has ever thought to actually write down their ideas about raising children and this business has arisen to fill the void.

This is perfect. I have two kids, one boy and one girl so I have a varied knowledge base from which to operate. I also haven’t killed either of these kids nor the other kids I come in contact with, so I believe that makes me an expert. I don’t wish to be bothered by some newbie parent who doesn’t know which end of their baby is the food hole at 3 in the morning. Therefore, I am going to layout my painstakingly researched expertise for you here. So get out your notepads, cause here we go:

Eligibility

Before you decide to  bring another living creature into the world you must first decide if you and your mate, and any potential surrogate, are qualified for this endeavor. There is a rigorous licensing procedure  that one must pass in order to procreate. Oh, wait that’s driving a car. And based on the line at Wal-mart anybody can have a kid. However in order to make sure neither you, nor your partner end up on The Maury Povich Show there is a short quiz that I think you should pass.

  1. Are you between the ages of 18-35? I understand that you can reproduce at ages both before and after this date range but you must be sure that you never can be asked the questions,”Are you on Teen Mom?’ nor “Are you (your child name)’s grandma?”
  2. Do you have money? Even if you have lots of money, you can’t afford a kid so buy a dog. If you have no money, you also can’t afford a kid but since the U.S. outlawed debtor prisons in the 1790s, go ahead and reproduce like a hopped up Xerox machine.
  3. Are you insane? If yes, you are qualified to be a parent. If no, you will be as soon as you have a child.
  4. Do you and your partner have the same religious beliefs? If no, you are qualified to have a baby that gets two different sets of holidays, lucky little bastard.
  5. Did your parents raise you in a way that was healthy and wholesome resulting in you being a well-balanced human being? If yes, you are not qualified due to the fact that you have no reason to try to use a child to get revenge on your parents.

Note: Please be aware that preceding questionnaire and any directives that it containing shall be ruled null and void if either you or your partner had that extra round of margaritas with your chimichangas.

Pre-Natal Care

Did you wake up hung over and utterly regretful and can’t find your pants? Congratulations you may be pregnant. But to be sure you must have your partner pass a simple test. Have her watch a few hours of random television with you. If she cries at any inappropriate time, she is either not pregnant and a  complete psycho bitch or she is pregnant and will be one for the next 9  months. As the pregnancy progresses nothing will bring a couple closer together than those early visits to the doctor together because there is nothing more romantic than watching the father-to-be be completely and totally mortified from embarrassment by witnessing what goes on in an O.B.G.Y.N’s office. I swear that the first time I accompanied my wife to her women’s health professional I realized that I was a pilgrim in an unholy land. When my wife got on the table, I was o.k. but when they started bringing out a collection of tools that looked like what my mechanic uses to change the distributor cap on an 84 Buick, I knew I was in a place I didn’t belong. I also learned that the Obstetrics office has some iron-clad rules. No food. No drinks. And if you have a y-chromosome, keep your damn mouth shut. While it may sound hilarious to you to ask the doctor during the pelvic exam if he found your keys and/or the remote, unless you have a really comfortable couch, you best keep them jokes to yourself. However, the best part of the doctor’s visits is that you get free samples of pregnancy related medical supplies. The bad news is that you have to actually thank a complete stranger for ‘”the nipple guards” and the “udder cream”.

Labor

Despite what you may have learned from every single sitcom since the dawn of television, there is absolutely nothing wacky or humorous about the entire delivery process. Any attempt to insert any levity into the drive to the hospital on that fatal day is likely to result in you experiencing as much physical pain as a woman in labor can administer.Once you arrive at the hospital, the non-pregnant member of the equation must be given the same advice a promoter would give a local band opening for The Rolling Stones, “You did your act, now just stay out of the damn way.” First time fathers frequently make some rookie mistakes, so here are a few pointers:

  • Don’t talk about what “we” decided that “we” would do during the birthing process. There will be no “we” until you hop up in the stir-ups and have probes shoved in your nether regions.
  • Avoid natural childbirth. Actually encourage the administration of morphine and even pentothal if they have it. When her pain threshold starts to fall and the amount of drugs in her system starts to rise, there is the greatest opportunity to find out the actual paternity of the baby about  to arrive. This will just give you a couple of hours to make up a convincing reason for the amazing similarity between your son and the guy who comes by and sells meat out of the back of his pick-up.
  • Remind yourself that your job at the hospital is to call relatives and keep them up-to date and to keep the ice chips coming. Odds are that you will screw up either one or both of those jobs.
  • Hey Knute Rockne, leave the stopwatch and “birthing class” flow chart at the house. If you want to keep track of time, just count how many of your habits she has told you she hates since you arrived at the hospital.
  • Telling her,” that it’s going to be o.k.” is about as effective as the pilot of the Enola Gay shouting out ,”Heads up” as he flew over Hiroshima.

The Baby

Behold your little bundle of joy. Enjoy your first few hours together. You know, those hours when you can just press a button and some medical professional will come get the baby and take care of it for a couple of hours, but don’t get used to it. Once you get home you will not get that same luxury. You will learn that your beautiful baby, that shiny golden child that warmed your heart as you looked upon them in the nursery is now some sort of sleep-sucking soulless creature of the night that finds pleasure in making bodily fluid messes for you to clean up. But that comes later , for now just enjoy the blissful ride, similar to what one feels before they are thrown from an airplane sans parachute.

Names.

It is a weighty responsibility to assign that perfect moniker for this child to carry through his life, or at least until he can avoid a good lawyer to change it. One must be very careful in the naming process. It is kind of like walking on slippery river rocks. One wrong step, and you will drown in a sea of your child’s contempt and scorn. Be careful to not get too cutesy with the name. I don’t care how many silent “p”s you want to put in little PPPPhank’s name, you must resist the urge. Also remember that at some point your child will enter middle school so don’t make it too easy on their future bullies. Avoid all verbs( Ben, Neil,Bob) and definitely never combine any two verbs. If your surname is Futch or Johnson, you are legally restricted from using the first names of Hugh or Anita. Also remember that we don’t live in Petticoat Junction so just go with one first name. Finally, the world is also in the need of strippers and porn stars, so feel free to name your daughter Cinnamon or your son Rod Steele.

The trip home

You have  been released from the hospital and have arrived home. Isn’t it great to be home, but don’t get too comfortable because you need to return to the hospital and pick up the baby that you left in the car seat siting on the curb at the hospital. Once you return back home, this time with the child, the true adventure begins.

This concludes part one of the lesson. Part 2 is coming tomorrow. In the mean time highlight all the great things you have learned and why don’t you spend this evening practicing the whole process  until you get it right.

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