Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Me and my Mini-me

When a woman is pregnant everybody knows it. Because she's showing it. They have that luminous glow. And there's the bump. There's no hiding that one. Brooke looked so beautiful when she was carrying our daughter and she was treated so special because of it. After all, how could you not give up your seat on the subway to help a woman carrying her offspring, especially when the future of mankind resides in a woman's womb. But what about the men? The Daddies? What about me? I made the baby too. I was there that night, or was it morning or afternoon? I'd like a little credit in the public eye. But the reality is that nobody was able to tell that I was a proud new father until the day came when I would strap on the baby carrier and then strap in the Bean without jamming her little fingers or feeties. Strap. Strap Click. Click. Snap. Strap. Strap. Snap. And we were on our way around the streets of New York City.

When the Bean was about two months old I finally got to sport my "bump." It was my turn to glow. To walk around town with a cute turtle in a shell attached to my torso. Oh, she looked adorable. Her head bobbing to the left and right. Her wristless arms and chubby legs just dangling. Just dangling. But man, she was heavy. And my back was killing me. I could only imagine what women went through lugging around a fetus for nine months. But enough complaining, it was now time to show the world that I made the baby too. Starting with the ladies. These women spotted my daughter from a mile away. I thought my puppy, Ozzy, was the only one who possessed that power. Until now. Until they found out there was a new daddy in town. First, they would stare at the Bean from a distance and then they'd approach the perimeter. Next, they'd smile and then they're eyes would always look up and lock on mine. You could tell they were thinking, “What a good guy. A Daddy. He’s sensitive. Caring. A father doing his part while his wife goes off to work to bring home the bacon while he stays home and changes the diapers." And they'd say stuff like, "Good for you Dad. More men should be proud of being stay-at-home dads.” Honestly, I didn't care about the stigma attached to it. Hell, I was having a great time. The questions they'd ask me were always fun: "Oh, how old is she? She's so cute. Look at those blue eyes." Or my favorite comment: "She looks just like you." And I tell them, "She's my mini-me," and they all laugh. But I didn't always find it amusing when people asked me what my son's name was? Just because she didn't have much hair didn’t mean she was a boy. On these occasions, I'd amuse myself and just tell them his name was Marty.

Talking about men, interacting with the other stay-at-home dads on the streets was a different animal. I didn't mind talking to dad's online. Commenting on blogs, becoming Facebook friends, etc… But socializing on the streets just wasn't for me. I didn't feel comfortable talking to men with my cute snapping turtle drooling down my chest. And two guys with two rainbow-colored strollers were just way too much. 

I was more comfortable hanging out with the mommy's and the nannies. If I was at story time, I was totally cool being the only guy there, but if another man showed up with his baby in a pink bear snowsuit, I felt like he was invading my turf. "These are my Nanny friends,  Matilda and Amarillis, go find your own story-time." Brooke would always be on my case about joining a stay-a-home dads group. "Bruce, you need to socialize with men.  Go, you'll have fun. You'll support each other." So I said, okay. I went to a New York City Stay-at-home dads group and the Bean threw a fit. But the fit wasn't the problem, I found it very uncomfortable being in the room with over a dozen men with diaper bags making goo-goo gah-gah sounds. It was too much for me. So I after I fed Bean her bottle, I high-tailed it out of there. When I got home, Brooke asked if I enjoyed myself. I told her felt more comfortable going to the women's groups. Even with all the breastfeeding going on and the corny folk dancing, it just felt more natural. But maybe it’s just me. I don’t like football either. Actually, I think that’s the real reason why my wife married me.

Those first few months with the Bean strapped to my chest were the greatest moments of my life. However it wasn’t always great. In fact, it was often hell. Worse than hell. Sometimes the Bean was a demon bean. I mean picture her crying her little puffy head off in the supermarket while I'm trying to buy a piece of salmon from the fishmonger. "Sir, can I help you?" "Waaaaah! Whaaaaa! Whaaaaa!" "Yeah, I'll take a half of pound of Sockeye salmon." And the fishmonger can't hear a word I'm saying. "Waaaaah! Whaaaaa! Whaaaaa!"What, a pound of Rib eye. You're in the wrong section, buddy?" Hey, as tough it was sometimes, it was still better than working at a crappy job with a crappy boss.  But it wasn't easy. The Bean was the toughest boss I ever had. Feed me. Change me. Pay attention to me. Put me to sleep. Change me again. But she was also the most adorable, loving boss I ever had. And I made her with my Brooke. Together. The ultimate team effort. I was so proud of my Bean that I wanted to scream on the subway: "Hey New York City, look at me. I had a baby. It’s a girl! Now get the hell up and gimme your seat!"


  1. I'm enjoying your blog! Keep writing it! I hate when I stumble upon a good blog and then the blogger disappears. Yah, yah, yah, I know...kid, life, busy...WHATEVER! Just keep blogging. :)

  2. Hi Bruce, My hubby is a "home during the day dad" while I'm at work. He works part-time evenings and weekends. We love your blog.

    My son has a ton of hair and gets called a girl all the time. One woman asked why I didn't put bows in her hair, I said "Well I don't think his father would like it".
    "Oh?" she replied "He looks like a girl"
    "Well I guess all babies look the same at this age" I told her.
    "No he looks like a girl"

    Keep up the good work!

  3. I've enjoyed scanning through your blog - it's nice to see you as a stay-at-dad, publicly displaying love for your daughter. :)

    I notice that you don't have a follower option on the bar at the top of your blog. How do you keep your readers coming back?