Advice for 'Spectant Paws
Well, well, well. I reckon if y'all are checkin' out this here page, yore either gonna have a youngun' or yer figurin' on tryin' before too much longer. Or just mebbe you've done had a youngun' or two (or if yore like my cousin', Tuckered Out Tom, elev'n! That's why we nicknamed him "Tuckered Out!" Hee! Hee!), and you just want to see what ol' Hillbilly Dave's got to say 'bout it. Either way, it's a fine thing becomin' a paw. It'll swell out yer chest and make you walk taller and speak prouder'n almost anythin' in the world. But there's a long road 'tween findin' out yer gonna be a paw, and actually holdin' the little one in yore arms. And if you don't have a "map" or know where the "potholes" are, yore likely to git into trouble 'tween now and then. So I decided to write down some of the things I've learnt so far, and a few things that some friends and cousins told me 'bout. Even a few of the womenfolk whispered a couple o' things to me, once I promised not to mention their names! I shore do hope it helps you fellers out a little!
O.K. Once you find out yer gonna be a paw, the most important thing I can tell you is: Yore wife has left the building! Now some of you may be sayin', "No she ain't, Hillbilly Dave. She's right in the next room! I can almost see her from here!" Nope! Let me tell you, the wonderful, warm, fun-lovin', intelligent gal you fell in love with, shared yore life, heart, home, and bed with has been replaced with someone who is fickle, emotional, a little persnickity, and has the attention span of a goose! This is somethin' you need to realize right off the bat, if'n you want to survive the road ahead! The good news is: I've been told by reliable sources (the womenfolk) that this is a temp'rary situation. The bad news is: from the time y'all find out yer gonna be paws, 'til you git yore wives back is gonna be about a year an' a half to two years. Yep! You've got the first 7 or 8 months (after y'all find out) 'fore the child is borned, and then 'bout 15 more months afterwards (give or take a couple) 'til the wonderful woman you married moves back into th' house! Until then you can count on just a very few things:
1) Maw's attention span has now become considerably shorter. During the last few months before baby is born, this'll become even more obvious. At this time, maw may start to tell you somethin' and then stop in the middle of the sentence. And if you ask her what it was she was a-tellin' you, it's more'n likely she'll just look at you like yer an idiot, and tell you she don't know what in the world yore a-talkin' about. Also, if'n maw comes to you an' asks where somethin' is that you see right there in her hand, just tell her you ain't seen it and then leave the room quickly, before she sees that she's holdin' the very thing she was a-lookin' for and decides to throw it at you for no particular reason! If'n it don't have to do with baby clothes, baby things, baby toys, baby food, or baby, don't even try to start a long drawn out talk, 'specially not about any major decisions that need to be made. If'n you don't get an answer in the first few sentences, give up! Just make the decision on yer own, and brace yerself, because no matter what you decided, it'll be wrong. Which brings up the next thing:
2) Paw, you have now become the sole, single source of all that is wrong in maw's life, in yore home town, and, generally, in the world as a whole. If the cat knocks a cup off'n the shelf, it's yore fault, 'cause yer the one that wanted that darn cat in the first place (even if it's maw's cat)! And if somethin' bad happens over in England or China or somewhere, somehow that's gotta be yore fault too! Maw may not know how or why it's yore fault, but she's sure as shootin' gonna blame it on you, and she'll just figure out how yore responsible for it later!
Now, this will not be on a constant basis, o' course. Oh, no! That'd be too easy! There will be times when y'all will be sharin' a tender moment, and you may start thinkin' that everythin's back to normal, when some little thing'll happen, and everythin'll change quicker'n you can spit! I reckon it's in the woman's job description that when a gal's in a motherly way, see'en as she has to put up with the physical aches and pains, it is now her job to see that paw has to put up with an equal amount of psykerlogical aches and pains. And every time baby takes a poke at maw's bladder, maw will find somethin' else to blame on paw! This may sound like a bad thing at first, but enjoy it whilst you can since it ain't the physical pain yer goin' through like she is. Now, once you two are in the delivery room, all bets are off!
3) Delivery room. Here's where things start to get interestin'! Up until this point, paw, you've been a-tryin' to figure out this new person that's livin' in maw's body (besides the baby, o' course), and you might've just about got a handle on how to deal with her. Unfortunately, once in the delivery room, yet a third person, who once again looks just like yore wonderful wife, will take over. This person may besmirch yer lineage, belittle yer manhood, and question whether or not yore parents were truly married when you were born. It is at this time that she will decide that you should share in the "wonderful experience" of bearin' a child. A small investment in some kinda protective gear would not be a bad idear right now. My suggestion would be at least a catcher's mask and a good stout cup, although my brother told me if'n he had his druthers he'd have a full hockey goalie gettup!
O' course after the birthin', maw will apologize perfusely, and say as how she hopes she didn't do no permanent damage, and that she hopes everythin' heals up alright, and don't worry 'cause that hair'll grow back in no time, and that she really didn't mean all them nasty things she said. Listen up now! 'Cause this is the only window of opportunity yore gonna git to ask if it's alright fer you to go out with the boys, go to the game, buy that new tool you've had yer eye on, or mebbe git that car you was a-lookin' at. If you don't ask now, don't count on gettin' another chance for that 15 months we was talkin' about at the beginnin'. Course, if yore like most new paws, the only thing that's gonna be on yore mind is that little baby yer lookin' at, and by the time it occurs to you to ask any of those questions, maw will be back to her (second) self, and don't you even think about goin' nowhere, 'cause if you do you'll be the most hateful, unloving man on this here earth! Or at least that's what you'll hear! So if you don't ask in the first few minutes durin' all maw's apologizin', don't ask at all!
There's probly more I could say, but half the fun of bein' or becomin' a paw is findin' out this kinda stuff on yer own! I will tell you that I've decided that one of the most handy things you can keep with you all the time is a medium size brown paper bag. I know that sounds a little odd, but it really will come in handy. First of all, you can carry things in it. That's a purty plain use for it. Secondly, whenever you make a decision maw don't like or do somethin' maw don't like, and she decides that yore just about the biggest consarned idiot she's ever had the burden of dealin' with, you can just place that bag over your head and walk out of the room (hopefully without bumpin' into too many chairs, tables, or walls) to show her that you understand and that you fully agree with everythin' she just said. And finally, when yore in that delivery room and you feel yer head start to swimmin' you can put that bag over yore mouth and start to breathin' in it and you'll feel right better. Or, if things start to get particularly messy in there, and you feel like you might be seein' them beans and cornbread again that you had for dinner, if'n you cain't make it to the commode in time, why there's that paper bag ready and waitin'! 'Course that'll be the last time you use that particular bag, but at least it served it's purpose, and you can always git another!
On the whole, though, once everythin's said and done, and you start watchin' that youngun' a-growin' like a weed, like as not you won't even remember none of the bad things about the whole process. You'll just remember how that little one (who may not be so little anymore) looked and felt the first time you held him or her as a baby. All the things that was said and done'll be forgotten. At least until the next time maw comes up to you and says, "Guess what!"
Well, that's all I've got to say on that particular subject. Enjoy the little one(s). Do yore very best to raise 'em right, 'cause they's only little once. Go with God.
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