Today, I’d like to share with you my thoughts on the presidential campaign. Unfortunately, I don’t have any, because my wife and I just had a baby.
The birth went very well from my perspective, which was the perspective of a person keeping an eye on the contractions via a hospital bedside computer monitor. My wife, who was experiencing the contractions in person, found it more challenging, although I know she appreciated my helpful reports:
ME (watching the monitor): OK, you’re having a contraction now.
MICHELLE: ARRRRRRGG GGHHHHHH
ME: It looks like a big one.
MICHELLE: AAAAAAAA AARRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGG HHHHHHHHHHHHOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
The contractions went on for what seemed like two years, although it was really only about 14 months. In theory, the baby was supposed to be headed toward the exit at that point, but this particular baby seemed to like it in there. This baby was still up in the vicinity of Michelle’s sinus cavities.
So with month 15 of labor looming, the doctors decided to remove the baby via Caesarean section, a medical procedure named for the Roman emperor Julius Section. They put up a curtain, with Michelle’s head on one side and the rest of her body on the other. Michelle and I both stayed on the head side, so we saw nothing; the doctors could have been over there grafting on extra legs, or replacing Michelle’s spleen with a harmonica, and we would have had no way of knowing.
Finally, the doctors shouted ``Stand up, dad!’‘ This was my signal to stand up, look over the screen, and pass out.
No, seriously, I managed to remain conscious, because I was dying to know the baby’s gender. There’s a test they can do to determine the gender ahead of time; I think they insert a tiny photo of Leonardo DiCaprio into the uterus, and if the baby punches it, it’s a boy. We had not had this test done. We had, however, heard many strong opinions from total strangers. For some reason, total strangers feel compelled to do two things whenever they see a pregnant woman:
1. Touch her belly, as though her navel were an elevator button; and
2. Look her over, the way state-fair judges examine a cow, then loudly declare the baby’s gender.
There was absolutely no doubt in anybody’s mind that this baby was a boy. During the pregnancy at least 600 total strangers assured us of this fact. NOBODY thought it was a girl. So you will not be surprised to learn that when the moment came, the doctors reached in and pulled out 7 pounds, 9 ounces of Sophie Kaufman Barry.
As a trained journalist I can state with total objectivity that she is the cutest little girl in the history of the world. The doctors took one look at her and immediately decided that they would shut down the hospital birthing unit, because this baby was so perfect that there was clearly no point in making any more.
OK, they didn’t say that, but they agreed, under intensive interrogation from the father, that the baby was pretty darned cute. She is also, of course, very gifted. I know this because the next morning, I carried Sophie over to the hospital-room window, and we looked out, and I told her that this was the world, and she should not get involved with it. I also told her that our policy regarding boys was that she would never be allowed to date or look directly at them. I could tell by her facial expression that she understood me completely. Although it might also have been gas.
So now we’re in that mode - you parents know the mode I’m talking about - where you don’t sleep much, and you find yourself celebrating a baby poop the way the French celebrated the liberation of Paris, and you walk around the house at 4:30 a.m. with the baby on your shoulder, trying to remember the words to lullabies (``And if that Billy goat don’t shed, papa’s gonna buy you
My point is that lately I haven’t had time to follow the presidential campaign, or to assess the current crop of candidates. I’m sure they’re all fine men. But they’re not getting near my daughter.
(c) 2000, Dave Barry This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Electronic or print reproduction, adaptation, or distribution without permission is prohibited. Ordinary links to this column at http://www.miamiherald.com may be posted or distributed without written permission.