By Steve Frank, Frankly Chatting
Don’t get me wrong. I love my daughter. Love her to death. We’ve always been there for each other through both our rough patches. I taught her to ride a bike, drive a stick shift. Sat through bone-chilling football games when she was a cheerleader. Fought with her when she was dating knuckleheads. Practiced a dance routine for her wedding. But now, I’ve got to put some distance between us. There has to be boundaries.
She just had a baby. Beautiful healthy baby girl and I couldn’t be happier. I look forward to sharing this experience with her. Just not the “whole” experience. My problem started in the late stages of her pregnancy. I pretended to see a real person in the ultrasound videos. What I really saw was an old black and white movie of the tide coming in. But that was okay. I’ve lied before.
Things seriously went south when the doctor told her that her cervix hadn’t opened yet. This information definitely falls under doctor/patient confidentiality. Her cervix is none of my business. She’s my daughter and although I’m not quite sure what a cervix is or does (other than apparently open and close), I have a pretty good idea what neighborhood it hangs out in and, like I said…she’s my daughter. In the official Dictionary of Medical Terms for Dads, nowhere is there listed a cervix.
As she got closer to delivery, her mucous plug blew out. Or dropped out. Or came out. Or whatever it is mucous plugs do. Until she laid this on me, I had no idea I was so squeamish. Four years of health class and never once did Mr. Scott mention mucous plugs. Brushing your teeth and the seven food groups – yes. Mucous Plugs – no. I had a wife. She had three kids. If she had mucous plugs, they were secreted away in her jewelry box. If they popped, I was at work. Better that way.
So now the baby comes and it’s a wonderful thing. Motherhood is a wonderful thing. Breastfeeding is a wonderful thing. It’s the best thing for a baby and the worst thing for a Dad. Even if I’m in sight of a feeding mom, I’ll look away. I have no aversion to breasts. If a sweaty woman in the gym is poking through her sports bra, you’ll likly find me at the machine next to her. Even if it means working my inner thighs which I have no reason to do. And I’m fully aware that these glands are multifunctional; I just need a doctor’s note to be excused from all their functions.
Breastfeeding was painful for her. Her nipples were sore and blistered. Oh; that’s just great! Now you ruined nipples for me. They’ve been such a big part of my life: romantic; exotic; erotic. I spent so much of my youth chasing them down. They have no place on my daughter. Not my daughter, my sister, or my mother. Call them something else. Better yet, don’t call them at all. Leave me out of the conversation.
She started feeling better once her milk came in. Well, unless it came in from Wawa or Shop-Rite, I could easily go through the rest of my life without that knowledge. I understand that all of this is perfectly natural and part of the human journey, I just believe that some things are best kept from Dad.
I like to think that I was a good Dad, and I’m sure I’ll be a good Grand-dad. Call me when she’s ready to ride a bike.
MMM tried to recruit Steve Frank away from The Asbury Park Press last year, but he wanted too much money. So we waited for app to let him go. Now we get his content in exchange for sending traffic to his blog, FranklyChatting. Click on his blog so he keeps letting us publish his stuff for free.