Finding humor in parenthood

Bookshelf - November 2005

THE NEW DAD’S SURVIVAL GUIDE: Man-to-Man Advice for First-time Fathers, by Scott Mactavish, Little Brown and Co., 2005, $12.95.

It’s jumbled. It’s disorganized. It’s childish. It’s unscientific. It’s generic. It’s unconventional. It’s vulgar. It’s bawdy. It’s glib.

Therefore, this book is perfect for new fathers.

There are numerous books for first-time mothers written by doctors and/or child development professionals, but the first-time father is often ignored, or worse, left to try and decipher 200 pages of boring technical jargon.

Well, most of us men are incapable of paying attention and we don’t care to read even the simplest pamphlet of directions, so why would we be interested in a bound, hardcover book?

Because the baby (or New Family Unit) is soon to arrive.

Mactavish’s The New Dad’s Survival Guide combines wit with pertinent and practical information. The book is entertaining as well as pleasantly constructive. And let’s face it; research has indicated that the only way we men can learn something new is not to be aware that we’re learning something new. I’m sure it’s written in some scientific journal, but how would I know?

What I do know is that while reading the Survival Guide I felt as though I was receiving humorous and helpful advice from a pal who had been through the experience. The content is resourceful and uncomplicated enough to guide you through those first few months of fatherhood, and it’s goofy enough to keep you sane in the process.

"Babies cry, a lot. It may be because he’s hungry or he just peed with newly circumcised tool. (This cry can be incredibly shrill. Imagine a porpoise being stuck with a hot fork.)."

You may or may not feel well-informed after reading the critical survival tips scattered throughout the 130-page book—"Babies can hurl from their noses with astonishing force."

Duly noted!

You can get up to speed on the lingo as well. For instance, in the glossary where critical gear is defined, a breast pump is described as a "suction device for downloading breast milk from mammary glands. Think dairy farm. Think mechanical milker."

But Mactavish isn’t as naïve about some things. He follows up the dairy farm gibe with, "Do not share this line of thinking with the FPP (Female Parenting Partner), as she may take offense at the bovine analogy."

I only read it. I didn’t write it.

Brad Spencer


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