September 28, 2007

No Longer King

Once upon a time I lived in a house where I was king. Friends came to visit, drink beers and reminisce about old times. Family came to play games and eat cheese coneys. In-laws came to tell me that my grass could use a good cutting, repeating it over and over until finally, after hours of this, the nagging would wear me out and I'd set down my Mt. Dew, get up off the couch and turn up the volume on the television.

Being king gives you great advantages.

All was fine and good at Klems Manor until the day we brought Ella home from the hospital. In a blink of an eye, the paradigm shifted. There were no more beers. No more games. My throne had been passed along and I suddenly found myself removed from the glorious crown and demoted to lowly role of court jester.

To quote Fozzie Bear, "Wocka Wocka Wocka."

It's a little known fact that new fathers suffer from a severe post-partum affliction called "Dadpression," or a feeling of being completely ignored by all who pass through the door. It's true. Dadpression is not only a serious ailment, but is also extremely common after first babies—particularly if those babies have extra-squishy cheeks.

The key cause of Dadpression is quite simple: Once baby arrives, no one cares about dad anymore. In fact, in the long line of importance, he's lucky to even be on the list. As any dad will tell you, the greater hierarchy goes as follows:

Other Family Members
People You Don't Know

When people walk through our door, the first thing they do is grab the baby and give her a hug. Next, they turn to mom and say, "I can't believe how skinny you are! You don't even look like you had a baby!" After that, they wave to Steven, my HDTV, and look for Glenn, his strictly hetero life partner (and remote control). The only time anyone even acknowledges that I'm in the room is when they need something to drink or need something to eat or need me to "stop watching Uncle Buck…seriously we've seen it like 500 times…I mean it, change channels…no, giant pancakes are not that funny."

Now I'm not necessarily complaining about this. Sure, falling so far so quickly is a pretty jagged pill to swallow. But thankfully the pill falls to dad, who not only can accept this fate in a reasonable timeframe but can also embrace it. Honestly, we dads look at this Budweiser as half-full and find ways to use the invisibility of Dadpression to our advantage. Don't believe me? Ask yourself this:

Why do dads always walk around in their underwear?

Dadpression. If no one is going to notice us, why not be comfortable. This invisibility opens us up to a whole new world of possibilities that disappeared the day we got married.

There are other common symptoms of Dadpression, too, including (but not limited to) beer bellies, stinky feet, unruly nose hairs, holey underwear (and not the good kind), receding hairlines, trails of Dorito crumbs leading to dad's chair and, most of all, toxic gas.

I may not be the center of attention ever again, but as you can see I'm completely OK with it. I'd rather everyone fawn over my daughter, showering her with love and making her the highest form of royalty in our family. And while I'm sure I'll miss being king from time to time, I certainly plan to take full advantage of my life as a jester and embrace my Dadpression—and all of its symptoms. I'm sure my wife will be happy to hear that.

"Wocka Wocka Wocka."

The Life of Dad is updated most Fridays (barring the call of family duties). Thanks for stopping by and following my attempts to be a good dad, husband and co-ed softball player. I hope you visit again. -- Brian


jennieb said...

ironically, i will be over tonight to see her...and you i guess :)

Tom said...

Brian, I am going to let you in on a sad fact that is hard to acknowledge, but very true. You never were king. The difference between then and now is that Brittney at least let you have your delusions. Trust me, we have all gone through the same thing.

Wise One said...

Tell Steven I said hi.

salma said...

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