A father's rookie season 

Nov. 5 marked the

Nov. 5 marked the first birthday of my daughter, Emma. These are some of the things I discovered in my rookie season as a dad. ï No matter what anyone says, "we" didn"t have a baby. I know that it"s very 21st century to say, "We"re having a baby." I know it takes two (three if you"re David Crosby) to make a baby and, yes, Emma is a symbol of our love, but I didn"t have a baby. Lynne had a baby. I may look like I"m pregnant, but nobody sliced my stomach open and pulled out a baby. Lynne wanted to have a tub birth at home and it just didn"t happen. Throughout the 40 plus hours of labor, she never gave up. She never begged for drugs and never did any of those cliched sitcom "You did this to me!" moments. Lynne is the strongest woman I know. Every day she was pregnant, I told her she was hotter than Catherine Zeta-Jones in Traffic. ï Any father who says, "If I could ..." or, "I wish I could have a baby," is a big, fat liar. One contraction and we"d be screaming for Mommy. Fathers can be understanding and sympathetic, but let"s stay realistic. The only man on the planet allowed to say that he wants to have babies is Eric Idle in Monty Python"s Life of Brian. ï I also have the dubious honor of being able to sleep through anything. Late night feedings were no problem for me because I don"t hear them. Like the above statement, I"m glad I can sleep. ï Contrary to what Kathie Lee says, it"s not always about the children. The Socey family consists of three individual circles who are looped together. Yes, there is family time, but everybody in the house needs individual time. OK, Lynne and I are usually snooping during Emma Time to make sure she isn"t trying to eat her toys or sleep on the cat, but other than that ... ï Lynne and I have heard everything from, "She has your eyes and Lynne"s nose," to "She has your ears and her pancreas," to "She looks like you," to "She looks like Lynne." She looks like Emma. ï The first morning Emma had at the hospital, we were all watching television (OK, Emma"s face was in the direction of the TV) when Britney Spears was shown. My first parental catchphrase was born: "Emma, no. Mommy, yes." This will soon graduate in 12 to 15 years as, "You"re not going out dressed like that. You take that dress off and give it to your mother." ï I"m ready for, "Daa-aaaaaad?" I think. ï The song I will dance to with Emma at her wedding will be "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace on Earth)" by George Harrison. It was the first song we ever danced to. Plus, Harrison died soon after Emma was born. Harrison always believe this life was just a step in another journey. Emma"s birth made me believe that idea. ï Lynne is looking over my should to remind me that Emma is currently only 1 year old. I"m jumping ahead. My Big Fat Greek Wedding was right; men are the heads of the house, women are the necks that turn the heads any which way they want. ï I don"t care if the show came first. Emma is the baby face that"s inside the sun on Telletubbies or, as I call her, Sun Baby. Friends of mine have called the Sun Baby creepy, but they also agreed that they were stoned while watching Telletubbies. ï A great moment of tension is when a baby starts to cry and there"s that Pinter-length pause between the time the mouth opens up and when sound comes out. This could be a new unit of measuring to detect how far lightning has struck. ï Emma listens to the same music and watches the same films that I do until she"s old enough to say, "Dad, no more John Coltrane." Duke Tumatoe told me to just have stuff laying around and let the child discover it for themselves. "That"s how my kids discovered The Beatles," he told me. ï The next day, Lynne tells me to get all of my CDs, DVDs and books off the floor and back on the shelves. ï I think I"ve accepted the fact that Emma won"t be listening to Muddy Waters, reading Elmore Leonard and watching Roger & Me when she"s 5. Or 10. Or 15. ï The day after I wrote this she bopped her head to Santana and John Lee Hooker"s "The Healer." Lynne said she did the same movement to Madonna. I don"t believe her. ï The high-pitched laughs a baby makes when you growl or zrbt (aka, blow a raspberry) on their belly is priceless. ï There are three stages to walking when the baby graduates to toddler (the graduation from infant to toddler varies from kid to kid): Frankenbaby or Zombie Baby (arms out forward, slowly, slightly off balance), Monkey Child (hand up in the air, wrists at 90 degree angles for MC) and Cadillac Hood Ornament (arms straight out behind their backs, usually walking fast without breaks). ï Like a coroner, you never get used to the smell. Let"s just leave it at that. Other parents know exactly what I mean. ï So far her vocabulary is "Meme" (translation: Mama), "Dede" (Dada), "Hi" (Ola, mi llama Emma) and "Keeeeeeeyyyyyy" (Kitty). She has actually said "Dede" directly to me. It"s when she calls the couch and the coffee table "Dede" that I"ll worry. ï Babies love to sit on Mommy and Daddy. There have been many occasions where Lynne and I are on the floor and Emma will just plant her diaper butt on our thighs, stomachs, chests and, yes, our heads. This is followed by the first song I ever taught her. "Who runs the house / Who runs the house? I do / I do / I do." ï Emma now knows how to pat people on the head and arms, as if saying, "Good Daddy." I think her mother taught her this. "My Daddy, I think I"ll keep him." Thanks, Emma. Love, Daddy P.S. Go to sleep faster so Mommy and I can smooch in private.

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