The Humorless Twit Is Prepared (Sort Of) for Fatherhood | January 2009


Sleepless nights, poopy diapers, Saturday morning cartoons. But enough about The Humorless Twit’s long-time lifestyle. Did you know the Twit will soon be a dad for the first time? Okay, that was a lame intro but visit TheHumorlessTwit.Com anyway, alright?

A couple of issues ago, I wrote I had had one big health scare, followed by another. The one or two of you who read that column know I referred to this second health scare as “my stress-induced gastrointestinal blowout.”

This has some bearing–and I’ll bring it up soon enough (no pun intended)–on this month’s topic: fatherhood. Specifically, my own forthcoming fatherhood.

You see, as I mentioned in the previously mentioned previous issue of Flamenco, my wife is pregnant. As I write this, she’s nearly five months along.

We already know the baby’s going to be a boy but we haven’t chosen a name for him yet. Although I am partial to “Ermenegildo Fructiferous,” which for some odd reason seems to invoke the million-dollar dirty look from my wife every time I say it.

I think I’m already ready for the two most important components of parenthood. Everyone I know who has had a child has warned me about them.

The first one is sleep deprivation.

I’ve already lived through quite a bit of sleep deprivation so I have plenty of experience with it. You see, I was in the Army–where we would routinely fall asleep while walking (as opposed to sleepwalking) due to exhaustion and lack of sleep–and I went to college and wrote many a paper the very night before it was due.

Now, having said that, I should let you know I LOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVE my sleep. I cherish it. I think that, after love, sleep is the second-best gift God has given to man.

I’m trying to stockpile as much sleep now as I can, while I can. In fact, I’ve been hard at work on my Rip Van Winkle impression. As a matter of fact, right now I’m al,lasca90a7uadc.,

Ahem, where was I? Oh yes, parenthood’s second important component.

I’ve been warned by other parents: I’ll become an expert in poop analysis: color, smell, consistency, amount, shape, texture.

I daresay I have more experience dealing with poop than with sleep deprivation.

Having had two dogs for a few years now has certainly helped. Especially as both have, at various times, had their fair share of intestinal problems.

And that’s where “my stress-induced gastrointestinal blowout” comes in. Since the end of September, when I was hit with the one-two punch of an acid reflux (heartburn) flare-up and an irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) blowout, I’ve been, ahem, sneaking a peek into the toilet every time I go. Hey, I have to tell my gastrointestinal specialist what I see.

I’ll spare you the gory details and hope you aren’t eating while reading this. But I’ve become quite good at noticing, uh, subtle changes in color, smell, consistency, amount, shape, etc. A skill that will come in handy when my future little one fills a diaper. If you don’t have children or the benefit of a friend with children who shares this type of information with you, you might not understand why this is an important skill to have.

You see, a baby is, quite obviously, not fully developed. Her gastrointestinal system (among other bodily systems) takes some time to grow. As a result, she may experience gastrointestinal problems from time to time.

When she does, one of the first things a pediatrician will ask about is her poop. The doctor will want to know the color, smell, etc., etc., etc. This helps him or her have an idea what the nature of the problem is.

If the baby’s problem is constipation, then of course you can’t just give the doctor the poop about the baby’s poop.

I was just a few months old myself, many, many years ago when I had a bad case of baby constipation. My father took me to the doctor. He said the doctor cured me simply and quickly: he gently squeezed my tummy. I won’t tell you what happened next, other than to say my father uses the phrase “a tube of toothpaste” to describe it.

I just hope my son doesn’t combine sleep deprivation with poop, like I do. It’s embarrassing when your wife has to wake you up while you’re on the toilet.