101 Things I Have Learned as a Stay-At-Home Dad

[Baby Watch: Day 101]

In honor of Baby Oliver’s 101st day of life . . . here are 101 things I have learned, mostly painfully, thus far as a new dad / stay-at-home dad / idiot savant. (Sure, I could have had this list ready on day 100, cause 101 is a weird number . . . but some day, Glenn Close will play the lead in the movie version of this list.)


Yeesh. We’re never going to get through this thing unless you get with it.

101 Things I Learned in the First 101 Days as a Dad

(1) If your faucet leaked liquid at the same rate as your baby’s face, you’d have a parade of plumbers marching to and from your house at a rate worthy of a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day spectacle.

(2) Inanimate stuffed animals are to babies what March Madness buzzer beaters are to me.

(3) Sedatives, anesthesia, and tranquilizer guns are obsolete in a world where $30 white noise machines exist.

(4) The new changing table is your cat’s bed.

(5) The new rocking chair is your cat’s bed.

(6) The new crib is your cat’s bed.

(7) The new plush, delightful, and invariably expensive designer cat bed . . . will remain untouched for all time.

(8) If there is a single sliver of light in your child’s room, their sleeping face will find it, thereby awakening the demon within.

(9) Gremlins are real.

(10) If your child doesn’t like being held in your arms, develop a debilitating case of poison ivy, located exclusively on your arms. It’ll be nothing but begging to be held from that point on.

(11) Grocery store workers assume dads have no idea what the hell they’re doing and will repeatedly offer polite but unsolicited and offensive advice. YES, I AM WELL AWARE THAT THE MILK IS LOCATED IN THE NEXT AISLE!!!

(12) Children’s feces have magnetic properties.

(13) Children’s hands are made of feces magnets.

(14) You will ALWAYS run out of baby wipes just as poop covered hands approach tiny mouths.

(15) Your wife will ALWAYS walk into the room just as poop covered hands approach tiny mouths.

(16) You know how excited you were on Christmas morning and how, now that you’re an adult, you’ll never be that unabashedly excited again? Wait till your kid giggles for the first time.

(17) Breast milk tastes kind of like almond milk.

(18) Formula tastes kind of like bland, spoiled breast milk.

(19) It is not humanely possible to have enough bibs . . .

(20) . . . or enough unique onesies to appease your wife . . .

(21) . . . or enough I.O.U.s from loving friends and family who are willing to babysit so you can go out and devour an overpriced meal as fast as a human can eat, all the while discussing how great it is to be away from your kid even though you’re discussing nothing but your kid.

(22) One beer will make everything your child does more delightful.

(23) Three beers will make everything your child does more irritating.

(24) Five beers will make your child’s normal wake-up time suddenly move 3 hours earlier.

(25) Seven bears will make your everthign chilkd bester much!

(26) All of your favorite bands will go on tour the year you have a baby.

(27) Your child can’t read . . .

(28) . . . but they’re pretty sure you’re doing it wrong. (Insert child’s disapproving look here.)

(29) Babies float!

(30) Cameras taking pictures of floating babies are not waterproof.

(31) Wives are super unimpressed that you risked your baby’s life to get a picture of them floating, simultaneously putting them in mortal danger and damaging your expensive new camera. (But what a great picture! . . . That I later accidentally deleted.)

(32) Your sleeping child will wake up 1 hour into their normal 3 hour nap when you have something to do (ie. when you’re on #32 of a list of 101 things you’ve learned since your baby was born).

(33) The screws on children’s toys are a miniature practical joke, designed to test the limits of one’s patience.

(34) Your current assortment of screwdrivers is woefully inadequate.

(35) You’ll need a veritable cornucopia of teensy weensy screwdrivers, each incrementally smaller than the last: from the size of a pen tip to the size of a thumb tack to the size of a whisper of a kitten’s whisker. And you’ll probably still not have the right size. So you’ll improvise to get the toy open using tweezers or a fork or something, but then you’ll inadvertently strip the screws, making it impossible to reassemble the toy.

(36) The screws on children’s toys are made of Play-Doh.

(37) I’m an adult, so I’d never get into a fist fight with another person . . .

(38) . . . unless that person is the creator of children’s toy screws.

(39) “Whiskey” is actually a Latin term meaning spent a full afternoon inserting batteries in a child’s toy, only to have them die within 5 minutes or so (loose translation).

(40) To save money on makeup and costumes, the producers of The Walking Dead cast new parents as extras.

(41) Doctors say a woman can’t have sex for 6-8 weeks after giving birth.

(42) Babies say a woman can’t have sex for 6-8 years after giving birth.

(43) Your child may choose to cultivate a hairstyle using the motto “a negative and a negative equal a positive.”

(44) A negative and a negative equal a negative.

(45) Babies can’t do math.

(46) Once your child begins sleeping through the night, you will celebrate with gusto.

(47) Your celebrations will be premature and short-lived, as tiredness will soon re-envelope you.

(48) You might expect to read a lot of books, watch a lot of movies, get in shape, learn to cook a beef wellington, and all kinds of other stuff while staying at home with your newborn. But, in reality, you’ll just spend most of your time staring at them. They’re just so damn interesting.

(49) 7-8pm is the witching hour.

(50) Babies find it hysterical when your wife “spanks their cute little tushy.”  This bodes poorly for future punishments.

(51) To a bathing infant, water tastes like yak urine and shampoo tastes like creme brûlée.

(52) There is a nursery rhyme called “Pease Porridge Hot.”

(53) Even a 3-month-old thinks that’s a stupid name. (Insert child’s disapproving look here.)

(54) Baby erections are a real thing, and they’re fierce.

(55) It is frowned upon to call your child’s crib a monkey cage.

(56) It is frowned upon to call a pediatrician a baby vet.

(57) Baby finger nails should be registered as weapons.

(58) Curious George is straight up abducted by a poacher and sold into monkey slavery, and I’m not even kidding.

(59) Babies can do more ab crunches than me. (Wait, if I can do more ab crunches than Kristen, does that make Oliver the most physically fit member of the household?!? I guess so. But I’ll dominate that little punk in a foot race.)

(60) The number 60 looks like the word GO. I don’t think there are any other numbers that look like words. Well, I guess 50 looks kind of like SO. I bet there are more in other languages.

(61) It can be fun to spend a few minutes every morning learning Spanish with your son.

(62) Soy el hombre!

(63) Babies can and will fart louder than adults, and you will be more impressed than disgusted.

(64) I can go both #1 and #2 while “baby wearing.”

(65) Speaking of, the more your kid pees, the more you’ll have to pee. In fact . . . excuse me.

(66) Baby Oliver Danny, wonderful and magnificent child that he is, loves to watch the adorable elephant and giraffe mobile hanging above his crib. He looks at it with the same joy and reverence that I, Brad Hemmings, 34, look at my wife’s beautiful face. She is a marvel.

(67) Okay, back from the bathroom, what’d I miss?

(68) If your child wants to gain the affection and approval of their mother, they should learn to love and quote The Jungle Book. All other household members should follow suit.

(69) Kids are far more interested in the outdoors than the indoors. They’d rather look at a leaf than an iPad.

(70) Adults are far more interested in the indoors than the outdoors. They’d rather a kid look at a leaf on an iPad than an actual leafy leaf.

(71) I’d be perfectly content if my kids don’t discover digital technology until they go to college . . . where they’ll be immediately branded outsiders who were probably raised by shifty hippies.

(72) Babies scoff at your plans and routines. (Insert child’s disapproving look here.)

(73) Babies can give their wrists a hickey.

(74) Wrist hickies turn into wrist bruises.

(75) Wrist bruises can cause wives to ask a lot of uncomfortable questions.

(76) Baby’s first baseball game may also be the first opportunity (but certainly not the last) for parents to proudly and unwittingly sport shirts that have shoulders just covered in baby vomit.

(77) Kiddies LOVE kiddie pools.

(78) Kiddies probably think kiddie pools are just large toilets.

(79) The Cat in the Hat was probably on acid.

(80) There is no good reason that we, as a society, haven’t yet banded together and decided that all parents, women AND men alike, can and should just wear pregnancy pants from now on.

(81) Babies don’t dirty their outfits. They completely inundate them like the inferior rival paper towels in those Bounty commercials.

(82) Decisions will have to be made about whether to go back to sleep on your urine soaked, poop stained queen size sheets or whether to do middle-of-the-night laundry.

(83) You can’t be proud of every decision you make.

(84) Babies love being naked.

(85) Babies love being in the water.

(86) Secretly, Vegas puts 4-1 odds on each new baby when they’re born as to whether or not they’ll get caught skinning dipping during their life.

(87) Sock monkeys . . . fun for all ages!

(88) CVS pharmacists think babies are “cute” and “well-behaved.”

(89) CVS pharmacists are famously only half-right.

(90) Babies are part reptile. Their spastic tongue action will prove this.

(91) Your baby will almost immediately begin receiving more mail than you do.

(92) Your baby will treat the experience of vomiting the same way that you treat the experience of sighing. Totally. In. Stride.

(93) A baby can sleep with their hand in a wood-chipper, as long as they’re the one who put their hand in the wood-chipper . . .

(94) . . . but if you try to calmly move their hand to a pillow or other soft and pleasing surface . . . they will tantrum. Oh, how they will tantrum.

(95) Your wife will read an online article from a completely uncredentialed source and use it as the basis for changing your child’s bedtime by two full hours.

(96) Predictably, this will not end well.

(97) Speaking of articles, your spouse will read HUNDREDS of doomsday articles about child raising.

(98) Your spouse will inform you of said doomsday scenarios right before bed, as if morbid terror is a precursor to a good night’s sleep.

(99) Morbid terror scenarios aside . . . having a kid is the best decision you’ll ever make.

(100) It’s hard to convince your proof-reading wife to read 100 things you’ve learned in 100 days with a new kid. You’re better off shooting for 50 things in 50 days. Lesson learned.

(101) Oh yeah, I need one more. Well, I’ve learned it’s super fun to play movie character dress up with your puppet child.



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