Children have the capability of making you feel very, very old.
I dropped my son off at a community event tonight where, among other things, they watched cartoons. He had never seen The Flintstones before and announced to me excitedly, "Daddy, look, cartoons with those guys who have the cereal!"
This is almost as bad as the time at work when, a few years ago, I made a reference to the "Sweathogs" to my recent college-grad assistant and my college age intern and was answered with blank stares. ("Sweathogs" - they were on "Welcome Back Kotter," a sitcom starring Gabe Kaplan - just Google it.)
Now I check on this when I interview possible job candidates. It isn't a job requirement - but I'd like to know so I can avoid the blank stares.
Today, my wife and I celebrated our freedom from oppressive, demanding overlords. We handed our children off to my parents. When the handoff was completed, we sat in the care for twenty minutes shouting:
Free at last, free at last. Thank God almighty, free at last.
Our freedom however will be shortlived - we pick them up Monday afternoon.
Just like everything else, baby stuff is now purchased in mega-stores, such as Buy Buy Baby. You will have to spend a lot of time in these stores - babies, toddlers, etc. require a lot of stuff. However, as big as these stores are, there is very little cool stuff in them - and you will get bored.
You would think getting baby stuff would appeal to Dads. There are lots of choices, with complicated options and various drawbacks and advantages. Cribs, carseats, pacifiers. There are warring factions on Mommy news-groups on all of these issues. Long, bloody conflicts that make Mac vs. PC seem downright dignified.
But there is nothing there for a Dad to sink his teeth into - maybe because none of these devices have any electronics or engines or anything. The key issue with them is never power - it is always safety.
The big electronic items are baby monitors, which are about the least cool electronic device you can imagine. You can't change channels (say to listen to other people's kids, or ballgames), they all have the same range so there is nothing to compare, and you can't get one with fiber optics or satellite uplink mode.
They have videos and CDs, but it is mostly Barney, Baby Einstein, and Teletubbies. You will not want to spend a lot of time reviewing them. I don't know if they make kids smarter - but they definitely make adults dumber.
There is one thing Dads can get into - glider chairs. There are more than a few stories of Dads appropriating these comfortable chairs for various sports seasons. At the very least you can test them all (really you can test every single one) while your wife considers Britax vs. Combi and Avent vs. Gerber. Support her in whatever decision she makes. Or, if you are nuts, become a Gerber partisan when she has chosen Avent. Your call.
There is also a trick, that just might get you out of the store. Start softly singing "I want my babyback babyback babyback, I want my babyback, babyback ribs" over and over again. With luck your wife will let you go to a nearby tavern or coffeeshop or, whatever. The longer she waits before she releases you the more other Dads you will infect. Eventually, the manager will ask you to leave.
Sometimes these stores aren't near anything else, in which case the Dads just linger around the entrance, waiting and inadverdantly serenading entering Moms and Moms-to-be with endless repetitions of "I want my babyback babyback babyback, I want my babyback, babyback ribs."
My son is obsessed with Star Wars. At four and a half he is far too young to actually watch the movies, but he gazes longingly at the action figures when we go to toy stores, He discusses the characters and their various capabilities. Some days he is Yoda and some days he is Chewbacca. When he carries his little sister's diaper bag (he's a little helper monkey sometimes) he insists on putting the strap across his chest, in his words, "Like an Ewok."
Naturally, he yearns to become a Jedi and wield a light sabre. He talks about getting one when he is "older," say five. (He also thinks that is when he will learn how to drive. He plans to get married when he is six.)
What he doesn't know (and won't learn until he can read, access the Internet and find this blog) is that years ago, before he was born, I bought a plastic toy light sabre at a Woolworths. I never took it out of its package. It is sitting in his closet.
You will, no doubt, delight in playing this little game. You will pop little pieces of food in your child's mouth and you will both laugh as the morsel disappears. In a little while you will graduate to the next level. Your child will share his/her food with you. Your kid will really get a kick out of this, laughing as you greedily chomp at his/her fingers. Little kids love this role reversal stuff, wherein they pretend to be the parent.
Be forewarned, your little one will try to help a bit too much. Sometimes the treat is a bit soggy. Your baby was just getting it started for you. That doesn't make it any less disgusting.