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News from the Crib by Alex Barnett: Dad as Handyman
My wife and I have an infant son named Ivan. He is 8 months old. Ivan is very concerned that parents do right by their children (he is especially worried about me and thinks little of my parenting skills to date). Ivan has decided to help out new parents by issuing a regular newsletter called: #TeamIvan’s News From the Crib.
1. My husband and I are expecting a baby. Our house needs a lot of “babyproofing.” My husband insists he’ll take care of it, but I’m worried he won’t. What should I do? Continue to worry. I’m sure your husband insisted that your sex life was babyproof as well, but now look what’s happened. You’re pregnant, and he’s drinking beer and playing golf. If I were you, I’d assume that the quality of your husband’s handy work is as good as his condoms — i.e., very suspect.
2. Okay, well, then how do I convince him to pay a contractor to do the babyproofing? You could remind him that a contractor is infinitely less money than a divorce lawyer and 18 years of child support payments.
3. What if he thinks I’m bluffing? Then you have 3 options: (a) cook up a pot of grits and pour it in his ear; (b) call his mother and tell her what’s going on; or (c) call your mother and tell her what’s going on. No matter which option, he’ll get an earful, and that should take care of things.
4. No, seriously, what should I do? Best option — you take a set of tools and get to work. Any man who sees his pregnant wife doing manual labor and doesn’t immediately leap into action, tell her to sit down and relax and finish whatever it is that she was working on, is likely a sociopath, or a genius of reverse double-psychology. Either way, if your husband is one of those guys, you might as well figure out now so you can get out before he emotionally terrorizes you into becoming a Stepford Wife who serves martinis, excessively diets and works out and gets plastic surgery on an annual basis.
5. My wife and I are expecting a baby, and she wants to “babyproof” the house. I tried explaining to her that I have a Ph.D in English Romantic Poetry and, therefore, am unable to do manual labor. She thinks I’m lazy. What should I do? Give her a neck and foot massage for the next 3 years. The house won’t be babyproof at all, and your child will likely stick a paper clip in an electric socket, but your wife really won’t give a shit.
6. I asked my husband to assemble the baby’s crib, and he said he can’t because he has manual dyslexia, which makes it impossible for him to use tools. What do you think? I think your husband is full of sh*t, but he’s a creative genius. You should assemble the crib and find someone to invest $1000 bucks into any idea that your husband has. You’ll have a crib, and your husband will undoubtedly make a zillion dollars.
7. How come my husband doesn’t want to do things around the house? By “things” what do you mean? Listen to you whine? Hear you compare him unfavorably to your father? Watch you stuff twinkies into your piehole all day long? Maybe he doesn’t want to do “things” because those “things” are objectively repellent and noxious to even the most patient and sainted person. On the other hand, if by “things” you mean “chores,” I’d venture to say that your husband doesn’t want to do them for the same reason no one else wants to — they’re a huge pain in the tuchas made worse by a nag who’s so busy spending time telling him what he’s not doing when she could very well use that same time to do the very thing that isn’t getting done.
8. When I was a teenager, my dad bought me a tool kit, and I want to pass it along to our infant son when he’s older. What do you think? I think it’s ironic that you would think that your son wants a toolkit any more than you did when you were a boy. Remember how you felt when your father gave it to you? You thought: “What is this b.s.? Like some not-so-subtle hint that I should help out around the house? Where’s the baseball glove I wanted? Or the cellphone? Or the XBox? Or the skateboard?” Remember, although a tragedy for the human race, your son is genetically like you and thus unlikely to appreciate or enjoy some awful gift of unused tools that you want to fob off on him just because you’re trying to clean out your garage.
9. My wife likes to do the handiwork around the house, particularly in the baby’s room. I feel a little guilty, but my wife insists I shouldn’t, that she likes doing it. What should I do? You should immediately shut up and stay out of your wife’s way.
10. I asked my husband to assemble the baby’s crib, and somehow after he finished, he wound up inside of it. How is that possible? As incredible as it seems, this feat is not unprecedented. My father did the same thing while assembling my crib (see photo below). It’s the same technique used for building a ship in a bottle.
Alex Barnett is a comedian-writer based in New York City. He writes News from the Crib, a parenting blog about his experiences as a new father. Barnett has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, CNN.com and NYC-TV, and has performed at clubs, colleges and venues throughout the country. Barnett, a winner of the 12th Annual Gilda’s Club Laugh-Off, is a member Comedians at Law, a group of six comics who all left the law to pursue their dream. Fans can visit him at www.alexbarnettcomic.com, find him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.