It has been quite a while since I began my series doling out advice to dads to be with my breadth of knowledge on the subject (read: I’m still incompetent but have yet to cause serious harm to my one child).
Recently, my little bundle of joy turned a year old, meaning I now have an entire 365 days of fatherhood under my belt, and what has felt like about 365 minutes of sleep over the same amount of time. With that, I can now share what you, Mr. dad-to-be, can expect in the latter half of year one, where we last left off.
In the first six months, your baby is essentially a dozen or so pounds of disgusting wrapped in a cute package. Their only interests include eating, pooping, general babbling, making sure you only sleep in blocks of time usually reserved for describing how fast a car can go from 0 to 60 mph, and spitting up on every horizontal, and even vertical, surface in your home.
But in the latter six months of the first year, your baby will begin to develop a personality. They will be able to interact with you directly. They will begin actually communicating with you. They will begin to eat “real” food. They will also become mobile.
And on the subject of your baby becoming mobile, it is important to address an issue. Mainly, your chances of ever having another child.
You see, once your baby can roll about, kick, crawl, cruise along tables and perhaps even walk in the first year, your ability to further reproduce, comes into serious jeopardy.
Should you want a second child, you should completely avoid your firstborn until they are fully stable on their feet — sometime around their graduation from high school — or invest in an athletic cup. I say this because in their first year, your child’s movements are anything but gentle and graceful. No, they are quick, violent, unexpected, and invariably aimed at your crotch. This is the lesser-known Big Bang Theory.
During this stage of your baby’s life, you will likely spend a lot of time whimpering and rolling about on the floor due to severe damage to your manhood, so you may miss that your little one has begun eating things that you would actually recognize as food.
You will also see the phenomenon that babies and hagfish have in common — the ability to take in nutrients through their skin. You will find there is no other explanation as to how your baby has ingested enough food to survive when nary a molecule of it actually gets into their mouth. It will, however, make its way into their hair, ear canals, nostrils, under-chin, back of the knees, arm rolls, etc.
Speaking of food, you may have previously wondered how mankind came to realize what was edible to him and what was poisonous. The answer is simple — babies around a year of age put everything they can get their hands on, from lint to power cords to toys to objects and substances previously unknown to science, into their mouth.
During the latter stages of the first year, your baby will move beyond quiet babbles and into actual communication. Of course, this is mostly expressed through grunts and screams, but as a father will learn what your baby needs based on their noises and expressions. Okay, not specifically what they want, but you will at least know they want something, and that’s about 90 percent of caring for a 1-year old.
The other 10 percent is being hit in the crotch.