Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Dad Advice

I usually get to spend two, three or sometimes four nights a week in the hospital with Ellie each week. Most fathers don’t have the good fortune that I have to be able to spend as much time in the hospital as I do.

No matter how much time a dad spends in the hospital, I think that it will always be a foreign land for Dads in here. After 6 PM, there just aren’t a lot of men on the floor. Sure there are some doctors but most of the folks around after bed time are women.

As such, there are some things to learn about spending so much time in the land of mothers, aunts, and sisters.

1) They are better at this than you are. First and foremost, recognize that there are tons of women around who know a ton about babies and like to take care of them. That’s why they work here and even at 3 AM they are working. They get to go home to sleep after they are done. Don't be proud. It’s okay to admit that you don’t know something or ask for help. In fact, I think that the nurses get a kick out of helping helpless dads.

You also don’t need to get up every time the nurse comes in to the room. In fact, considering everything, it is probably best if you just stay lying down.

Which brings me to point of advice number two:

2) Dress Code. When it is time to sleep in the hospital, dress appropriately and ‘mind the gap’. My best piece of clothing these last few months has been my light weight sweatpants that I can sleep in, walk down the hall at 2 AM to find the nurse and then go to get breakfast in. No PJ’s and definitely no boxer shorts as PJ’s. You just can’t get up and do some work with your baby confidently if you have to think about things ‘popping out’.

I live in fear of this happening. How could I look a nurse in the eye ever again after popping out?

Reminds me of the funniest thing ever said on Friends, ‘Hey buddy, this is a family place. Put the mouse back in the house.’

3) Don’t ogle the nurses. They are there to get your baby healthy. Doing 'regular stuff' guys do is really bad ju-ju. Some basic facts I have learned: 1) nurses are, generally, attractive young women. 2) They work really hard and often need to lean over you and your baby to take care of them. 3) The scrubs that they wear are often not the most concealing garments in the world.

This does not make it okay to look.

Repeat. Does not make it okay in any way.

Following the ‘Seinfeld rules’ of ‘looking at the sun’ is bad. Look somewhere else. Look at your baby. Look out the window. Think kind thoughts about your baby.

Karma will get you. Nobody likes a lecher daddy, and you need to see these folks for a long time to come. (See advice #2 above)

But by the same note, don’t be shy with the nurses. At 3 AM it is easier to have talked to the nurse earlier in the night than to shock the poor woman when you stand up at 6’4” and she is expecting your 5’4” wife. (See blog post from May 19. http://eleanorbrogan.blogspot.com/2006/05/new-room.html )

I really hope I don’t talk in my sleep here like I do at home.

I kind of think that that is the kind of thing that makes legendary stories in places like this……

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