As men, we have some basic instincts that come with the standard load on an “XY” chromosome. We are pre-programmed to protect and provide for our families, form logical plans of action, execute those plans with precision, never ask for directions, and fix all that is broken. This is who I am and the most family-friendly way I can describe the general male populous.
As an individual, I’ve always been able to shape my circumstances through an accurate understanding of my limitations and supplementing areas of weakness with hard work, dedication, and the occasional call to a service technician (I’m a terrible handyman). I never understood hopelessness because hope could be manufactured through framing events in the perspective of people with “real” problems. I was in my niche and I played life safe enough to always succeed. It was a controlled, comfortable lifestyle.
Then came love, next came marriage, then came Cailyn in a baby carriage…
The moment she popped out, I counted fingers and toes and breathed a sigh of relief. Now I had complete control. The Big Man did His job (with some help from prenatal vitamins) for the first nine months. Now, I’ll take it from here.
It’s surprisingly easy to manipulate the environment of an infant. You keep them from the runny-nosed ankle biters in nursery and day care, throw on an extra jacket for a cold day, and avoid crazy old women in the grocery store. There are industries built on books, videos, toys, and step-by-step programs to make sure your kid is healthy, polite, and intelligent. The Internet provides access to medical advice, insurance allows you to take them to to doctor for every sniffle, and overpriced baby food will ensure they have the right nourishment. It’s a compartmentalized, logical, and controllable world.
Like most first-time (read “insane”) parents, I tracked milestones and freaked out when, at exactly 21 days old, my daughter wasn’t cooing loudly enough or following objects with her eyes. I remember Cailyn crossing the threshold on the average age to start crawling. Amber and I worked with her for three straight days and averted a global crisis by getting her to crawl while she was still in that “meaty” part of the curve. It was the same for every milestone, until we hit about a year of age.
Everyone has a story about their slow to talk, now perfectly normal relative. The stories become more frequent as your child falls further behind. After awhile, you even start to go through them in your mind. Finally, I came up with a solution. Like any red-blooded American child, Cailyn was fascinated with the TV, so Amber and I bought “Your Baby Can Read” for her first birthday. Surely, this was just a temporary setback that needed remedied so that we could resume a normal, controlled life.
After all, men fix what we deem to be broken.