I never liked to read. There. One time in junior high, I went through the stage where I would read really steep literature (or at the very least, just carry the book with me) just so girls would notice me and hopefully it would land me some pretty sweet dating prospects. It backfired when I was thought to be smarter than I really was and people thought, “That Jeff kid is always reading. He’s so smart.”
Actually, I don’t think anyone actually said that, but that’s what I was hoping. Turned out that I learned a hard lesson back in junior high and that is it’s not cool to be a reader. Girls don’t flock to readers like they do to River Phoenix. At least not the kind you’re intending on getting. You land yourself more in the scholarly circle of girls and just pack up there. You can’t hang. So I did. About a month of trying, I tossed the books away and really never looked back. I hate reading. Absolutely despise it. And don’t have any problem saying so.
That being said, when you enter the world daddyhood, it appears that reading is absolutely mandatory. If you’re not reading books, you’re reading forms, pamphlets, baby crib assembly instructions, product labels, scripture, American Baby magazine about Kelly Kapowski’s single black hair that came growing out of her belly button and tons of disclaimers and fine print. In many ways, it’s like going back to school. You just have to deal with it.
I have discovered, though, a fantastically fascinating and “practical” piece of literature. That’s Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads written by Gary Greenberg and Jeannie Hayden.
Not only is it fashioned like an old survival guide with the curved corner and reinforced cover for durability, the illustrations are straight out of an old Boy Scout handbook or bird guide. For the calculated nostalgic throwback element alone, this is one of the finer new daddy guides on the market.
It’s content though makes this guide an essential in any baby bag for a new dad. Don’t be caught without it. From the early chapters where it helps equip you for the first time you see your baby:
From there, author Greenberg flies through the finer points of reflex testing, shooting great baby video, acclimating your dog to the baby, getting back your sex life, how to work out using your baby as a weight, how to create sock puppets, swaddling, how to buy a stroller, when is a good time to take your baby into a bar, baby-proofing your house, using your baby to pick up girls (for single dads) among other things. It even describes various methods for entertaining a screaming baby in the backseat while you fly down the highway at 80 miles an hour.
The realities described in Be Prepared are what I didn’t get in “Daddy Bootcamp.” I want useful information. Not how to kill a baby by slamming it down on a standard dining room table. They should’ve just handed out copies of this, told them to not shake the baby and have a good life. This book is the real deal and reasonably priced at $15.00.
Bonus that the author’s website includes downloadable MP3s of a crying baby to help your dogs adjust to the new addition to the household and white noise to help your baby go to sleep. Check it out, gangsta.
Four Black Elvises. Highly recommended.