Daddy defect

The face of Jaws before she strikes… (Credit: Getty Image)

On a warm Saturday morning, my loving wife and I lay in bed and discussed co-parenting strategies.

“Get your ass up now!”

Allie’s command was followed by something striking my head.

“Huh?”

“WAAAAAAH!” My six-month-old also wasn’t happy with her mother’s attitude.

“Marshall, it’s your turn to take care of Josie. Get out of bed!”

“I watched her last night.”

I had a good point, which seemed to upset my wife.

“Holding her before bedtime while you’re watching Netflix does not count. Especially when I was up with her at two and again at five.”

Maybe Allie had a point too. So we’re tied 1–1.

“Were you feeding the baby?” I asked. “I can make a mean bowl of Cheerios, but my master chef skills stop at breastfeeding.”

2–1, my lead.

“First,” Allie growled, “there’s bottled breast milk in the fridge — which I’ve shown you ten times now — so you can feed her on your nights. Second, she needed her diapers changed. Your master parenting skills do include wiping poop. Third, my need to get Ricki ready for a play date this morning trumps your desire to lay in bed and do nothing.”

There might be some validity here. I guess we’re tied again, 2–2.

I got up and held the baby. Josie screamed louder, clearly agreeing that Mom should do the holding. Allie showered while I waited for my eardrums to shatter.

“Daddy! Baby crying!”

Ricki is two years older than her sister. She enjoys pointing out the obvious while speaking like a caveman. She takes after her mother.

“Thanks, Ricki. Why don’t you continue this discussion with your mother? She’s in the shower and loves the attention.”

“I went potty!”

“That’s great, honey. Go tell Mom.”

“I did poopie!”

“You’re mother’s still full of it. Tell her how you managed to get it out.”

Ricki toddled away and intercepted Allie getting out of the shower.

“Daddy no clothes!”

Allie looked at me in disbelief.

“You’re still in your underwear?”

“I didn’t know holding the baby was a black-tie event.”

“Sarah will be coming over soon with Samantha. Do you want either of them to see you walking around in your boxers?”

“At least they’re clean …”

Allie rolled her eyes and got dressed. I considered which t-shirt and shorts combination would most impress my friend’s wife and their three-year-old. Then it happened.

A little wet mouth closed on my nipple — hard.

I yelped.

Josie looked very confused, even for a six-month-old.

“Is everything okay?” my wife called.

“Yes.”

“Mom!” Ricki reported. “Daddy feed baby bad!”

Allie appeared.

“What did you do?”

“Nothing.”

“What did you feed her?”

“Nothing.”

“Daddy feed baby bad!”

Josie squirmed and went for round two. This time her little teeth got hold. I yelped louder.

“What do I do?” I grimaced.

My wife considered my discomfort, Josie’s hunger, and future therapy for all involved. Then Allie burst out laughing.

“This isn’t funny,” I said. “It hurts.”

“Your man-boobs will toughen up,” Allie howled.

“I run triathlons. I do not have man-boobs.”

“A baby knows a boob when she sees it,” Allie said between laughs.

Josie disengaged and eyed my tiny nipple more closely. She poked it a few times with her finger. My daughter’s face slid from curiosity to disgust. Then came tears. Then she grabbed a fistful of my chest hair and yanked.

“Ow!” I flinched. “Okay Allie, I’m tapping out. I’m not physically equipped to deal with this.”

The doorbell rang.

“Milk’s in the fridge,” Allie said as she led Ricki away. “Have fun and protect those man-boobs.”

I heard the door open, my wife and Sarah exchange greetings, and Ricki announce: “Daddy has man-boob!”

After the laughter and Allie’s TMI explanation, the party wandered to a neighborhood park. I fed Josie from a bottle and tried to explain the difference between male and female breasts. Two episodes of Game of Thrones helped a lot.

The following Monday at work, I found a bra in my desk drawer. Actually a bra in every desk drawer. I scanned the office with my WTF look.

“For your man-boobs,” Ian explained. “I heard from Anthony that you tried breastfeeding this weekend.”

“Anthony?” I stammered.

“Yeah. He heard Guy and Christopher talking about it. I guess your wife told Tim’s wife, and your kid taught their daughter to say man-boob by shouting it all day. So Tim found out and told Guy, and… we all thought you could use some support. You’re a B cup, right?”


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