Deep Thoughts on Fatherhood, Volume 1

Alligators: They never leave my daughter alone.

1.  SHE IS…SASHA FREUD.  It was while explaining the lyrics to my three-year-old daughter that I realized the emotional and psychological dynamics of “If You Liked It, Then You Shoulda Put a Ring On It” (real title: “Single Ladies”) are surprisingly deep and nuanced.  In addition to the gloss on her lips and the man on her hips, that Beyonce has profound insights into the mind of the taken-for-granted female.

2.  BLASTING BEHIND.  In recent weeks my wife and I have discovered that when our infant (2 months old) dirties her diaper, there’s roughly a 50% chance that the brown stuff will escape the diaper and climb up her back, down her legs, into every nook and crevice of her lower half, and all over her clothes.  How it climbs up between her shoulder blades, even when she’s sitting upright, is a mystery.

Of course, I’m a philosopher and my desire is to understand the world in which we live.  Struggling to explain this phenomenon, since we used a brand-name diaper that worked well for us with our first child, I came up with two options: (a) Dovetailing Devilry: the particular shape of this specific diaper is not suitable for the particular shape of our baby’s backside, or (2) the Potency Possibility: our daughter simply defecates with spectacular force.

There is at least a prima facie plausibility to both explanations.  I’ve noticed that our baby’s backside looks surprisingly like the wrinkled bottom of a female octogenarian — or, rather, what I imagine such a bottom would look like, since I have not seen any myself.  On the other hand, our daughters have always been powerful little girls, and they do everything they do with gusto.  Combining Dovetailing Devilry with the Potency Possibility, is it possible that our baby simply has a bunker-busting granny fanny?

3.  WORD TO THE WISE.  If you’re ever driving your daughter to school in the morning, and Wendy Wright (past President of Concerned Women for America) is sitting in the passenger seat, do not play “Drop it Low” for your three-year-old little girl.  This is not because Wendy Wright will disapprove — for such a famously Concerned woman, she was entirely unconcerned and mostly amused — but because your daughter will start chanting “Go daddy, go daddy” and expect you to bust a move.  It was only once I began to show Wendy the dancing skills that I used to entertain my daughter in the car (which involves a lot of head-banging) that she began to look Concerned.

After “Drop it Low” and “Single Ladies” (my daughter’s two favorites right now), I played “Old MacDonald,” just so Wendy could see that my daughter enjoys three-year-old fare as well.

4.  ON THE PERSISTENCE OF ALLIGATORS.  Me: Where’d that scrape come from, sweetheart? My 3-year-old girl: I don’t know…I think an alligator bit me. Me: Again?  That’s the third time you’ve been bitten by alligators this week. Her: Again.  Me to myself: Geez, that girl’s gotta deal with a lot of alligators! A friend, when I related this story: Maybe you should consider moving out of the swamp.

5.  GUNS AND YOUNG’UNS.  Like all fathers of daughters, I look forward to terrorizing potential suitors.  When I saw what a beautiful daughter I had on my hand, I began to consider the guns I should purchase.  I figure a shotgun will do well for the first time I meet the young man at our house, and a pistol on the dashboard will be suitable for making him urinate himself in the backseat when I drive them to the movie theater for a chaperoned date.

Just kidding, of course.  I will never allow my daughters to date.


1.  WHERE’S THE POINT?  Is there such a thing as “low” dudgeon?  If not, if there’s no point of reference, how do we determine when somfeone’s dudgeon is high?  Moreover, if you can be “in” high dudgeon, how do you get out of it?

2.  PASTORAL POSEURS.  Pastors must get tired of photographers telling them to sit at their desks and pretend to read their Bibles.


UNINTENDED VULGARITY.  If you have virgin ears, you might want to skip this one.  Recently I returned from “work” and found my daughter watching the end of an episode of Dora the Explorer.  There’s a character in “Dora” called Tico the Squirrel.  I asked my daughter what had happened in the episode.

She looked at me with wide-eyed innocence and reported: “Tico tore his sack and his nuts fell out.”

I wrote that one down so I could tell the story at her wedding.  Her arranged wedding.

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  • David

    I’m afraid the only way out of the high dudgeon is by defeating the drageon.

    Perhaps a little more slack on the bottom of the diaper might help? We’ve bumped our boys up a level on the diaper too when this happens.

  • Peter

    With respect to item 2, “Blasting Behind,” may I offer my own theory as to how a baby is able to anoint its neck with the nightsoil? Rather than the philosophical view, I offer the take of an engineer, albeit an electrical engineer with but a passing familiarity with fluid dynamics. I offer as supporting qualification for my theory that I am the father of 5 children (1 still in utero) and have been present at a large number of neck-anointings and various subclasses thereof, performed with great aplomb by my boys and girl. (On a side note, my wife and I have coined the term “four-hander” for those explosive disasters that require both parents to extricate the child from the soiled clothes and diaper without getting poop all over the changing table, the floor and the walls. When the call “Four-Hander!!” is heard, the other parent immediately drops everything and comes to the aid of the beleagured diaper changer.)

    Anyway, my theory is this: Due to the particular physical arrangement of a baby behind, and the lower back area directly above, when a baby is sitting, the intergluteal septum (I haven’t looked the proper anatomical term up, but y’all know what I mean) is compressed into a perfect venturi, wide at top and bottom, and narrowing in the middle. The lower back curves inward, causing the waistband of the diaper to become loose precisely at the exit of this perfect venturi. Just as the venturi in the carburetor of a gasoline engine serves to speed up the airflow and create a lower pressure in the neck so that the fuel may be properly atomized into the airstream, so the venturi in the diaper serves to aerosolize the poop-stream so that it may spread far and wide at great velocity. The effect is akin to that of a pressure washer, forcing atomized material into all the nooks and crannies, where it instantly condenses into its original form.

    Such is my theory. Every child of ours, three boys and one girl, has managed it numerous times, and I expect number 5 to follow in the same way.

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Excellent theory. Excellent.

  • Someday, your daughters will be in Jr. High. Their friends will find this post. They will hate you for life, if not longer.

  • Tara Edelschick

    Brilliant. I love, love, love this.

    And I may be wrong, but my guess is that the girls will actually love these stories in middle school. Everyone likes being paid attention to. Noticing what’s great, and awful, and ridiculous about your kids is a gift to them. Writing it down is love.

    That, and it makes the rest of LOAO.

  • Steve

    I enjoy reading your thoughtful insights on the weighty subjects, but this caught me unaware; I laughed out loud. That gives me another dimension to apply to you.

  • Basil

    Awesome story at the end! I LOVE it!!

  • MatthewS

    Howling! bunker-busting granny fanny and Tico’s torn gear…

    followed by the 4-hander comment and the hilariously disturbing venturi theory…

    My mood is seriously improved!