Fatherhood is...

Fatherhood is being blown away by the little things.

This is an Excitement Feedback Loop (EFL). Here’s how it works. I cover my eyes, reveal them, and blow a puff of air in Charlotte’s face. She responds with a gleeful note of excitement, which, in turn, encourages me to do it again. The process is repeated until one or both of us pass out.

EFL’s are not exclusive to this type of interaction, though. For Charlotte and me, an EFL may be the result of any number of games like Upside-down Baby, Thigh Raspberries, or—my personal favorite—X-treme PeekaBOOM! (more on that later).

It should go without saying that any EFL should be entered into with considerable caution. Side effects include pronounced and debilitating lethargy post-loop; excessive salivation  (mostly the baby’s); and the invitation for strangers to stare at you. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychaiatry recommend that you not engage in any intensive EFL at Wal-Mart. (Or, what the hell, do! You’re definitely not going to be the weirdest person there.)

Unfortunately, EFL’s—like the one demonstrated in the video above—are only effective within a limited window. And the stakes will increase accordingly as the child develops a tolerance for this type of shtick. Don’t be surprised if instead of a puff of air in the face, it will take a trip to Disney World to elicit a similar response when she’s 7. 

It’s why I play this little game with Charlotte (and Greyson) several times a day. The EFL of a six-month-old doesn’t cost a thing. It’s completely priceless.

(See you at Disney World in 2019.)

Fatherhood is cuddling with my daughter and suddenly hating every other man she’ll ever cuddle who isn’t me.

It’s been very difficult these last three months to not refer to Greyson as “the easy one.” It implies that Charlotte is the hard one, or as I might have called her a time or two or twenty—the bitch. (Relax! Her grandmother hates the sobriquet more than you ever will.)

But last night—to my astonishment—she folded her arms on my shoulder, nuzzled my neck, and cooed herself to sleep. My heart was stolen in an instant. Then love turned to fear. Fear led to jealousy. And jealousy led to hate—hate for every other man she would ever cuddle who wasn’t me. It was a senseless train of thought at best and a path to the dark side at worst.

So, instead of dwelling on my infant daughter’s future love life, I made her a silent promise. I promised that the day any one of those boys broke her heart, she needn’t worry about stealing mine anymore. It would already be hers to have for as long as she needed.