As every parent can attest to, having a baby is like giving everyone in the world an excuse to offer unsolicited advice and ask highly insensitive questions. It is a rule that no one agrees on, no one likes, and yet everyone participates in. While I can usually brush off unsolicited advice with smile and courteous thanks, ignoring questions is quite a bit harder to pull off.
Here is a list of the most puzzling, annoying, and back-handed questions I have heard so far and how I will be responding to these questions from here on out.
- Have you changed a diaper yet?
This question has to be the most frequent and baffling question I have been asked so far. The implications of this question stem into a deeper topic of the world’s perception on fathers (a topic that will merit its own post later), but it definitely irks me more than any other question. The underlying assumption is that dad’s are not participants in the parenting process. Perhaps I am over-sensitive but the imbedded message in this question is that there are extremely low expectations placed on a father’s involvement with his child. If after one month of living with a baby you have not changed a diaper then you fall into one of two options. #1: You are dead, severely injured, or missing or #2: Your wife is planning to make you #1.
My new response: “Of course! I only have to change mine once during the work day. It has saved me loads of time on bathroom breaks.”
- Does she look like you?
While this admittedly is a fairly tame question, it is almost an impossible one to answer in the first few weeks of life. Every newborn baby, to me, looks like an odd mixture of Winston Churchill and the Gerber baby.
I am sure that as time progresses our daughter will show a genetic lean towards one of us but in the beginning she is just a ridiculously cute ball of chubby.
My new response: “The jury is out until her goatee comes in.”
- I bet you wanted a boy, right?
This may be a question that is exclusive to guys with daughters but who knows what questions people dare to ask these days. Again this is a question with implications on top of implications. First off, there is no right way to ask this question and it not seem offensive. There is nothing like asking if someone would like a refund on their child. However unintentional the person might be, this simply implies that you are already disappointed by your child, who may not even have been born yet. I remember hearing this question almost the same week that I found out the sex of our daughter. Remember kids, you can never be too young to disappoint your parents. The second implication is that the only children that father’s can enjoy are the ones that share similar sex organs. This one throws me off because of the prevalence of the terms “daddy’s girl” and “momma’s boy.” I thought they were the norm until I was asked this question repeatedly. I will note that the typical demographic of people asking this question were women over 60 so it may just be a cultural thing.
My new response: “We would return her but we lost the receipt.”
- Are you going to have another baby?
I would have to say that this is my favorite question that people ask on a regular basis. My initial reaction is an involuntary Costanza face.
My second reaction is to actually try to figure out how to give the most noncommittal answer I can come up with. At this stage of parenthood I am still trying to figure out if feeding the baby after midnight will in fact cause her to turn into a gremlin.
The last thing I am thinking about is how to take care of two of these things at the same time. Yet the question is still a valid one and it is one that you will eventually ask yourself. Yes, being a father is pretty awesome and yes I will probably want more kids but right now the farthest I can think into the future is how many hours of sleep I am going to be missing by tomorrow. Parents should be able to have some break time to enjoy the child they have before trying to pop out another one.
My new response: “I might have to wait; the last one was pretty filling.”
What questions are you tired of hearing? We would love to empathize…