Paul Starke: We made it! Luke turned one last week; the warranty has expired ... My wife threw him an elegant "Star Wars"-themed party at a baby gym/padded insane asylum. My one responsibility was to buy things for the "gift bags" (in my day, we called them "loot bags," but apparently baby birthday parties are now like the Grammys), and sure enough, I managed to screw that up. I learned very quickly (from outraged parents) that scratch lottery tickets are not an appropriate item for a gift bag. This is just one of the many things I learned this year -- here are 12 others:
1) The people who say you "get used to" the smell of poop are liars -- would someone "get used to" being hit in the crotch with a softball bat? I don't think so. Incidentally, that's happened to me quite a bit this year, too.
2) No matter how hard you try, you can never fully baby-proof your home. Seriously, unless you live on an abandoned-yet-well-manicured golf course, there will always be something to bump into/fall on/shove in your mouth.
3) I now know what it's like to be 90 years old. Getting no sleep or sex? Check. Back always hurting? Check. Becoming a cranky douche? Check.
4) Nursery rhymes are stupid and creepy -- especially "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and "Rock-a-bye Baby"; read the lyrics.
5) People don't cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze -- I never quite noticed how rampant this problem was until I took Luke on the subway for the first time.
6) It never ends -- people always say that, but it's true.
7) Being a lazy parent sometimes has its advantages -- I'm convinced that sitting on the couch watching TV will make Luke take his first step, out of desperation.
8) My son could gouge out my eyeball and not feel remorse. I know he's just exploring with his grip and stuff, but it does seem he wants to see genuine harm come to me.
9) Baby Food = Soylent Green = People? Whether it's "Veggie Beef Pilaf" or "Chicken & Brown Rice," it all tastes like prison food.
10) I've never looked worse, and I don't care. The more you wear sweatpants in public, the more you get used to it.
11) The most romantic thing I've done all year was to get up in the middle of the night and feed Luke a bottle.
12) In spite of all this, being a dad is my life's one, true joy. When I was younger, I used to imagine life without a kid and be fine with it; now I can't imagine life without him.
|Paul Starke is an Emmy-winning TV producer, and a co-writer of the #1 New York Times bestseller, "An Inconvenient Book."|