Courtesy of Lucy Peck
Aaron Peck is looking forward to being a father in a few weeks to his son, Dexter. He's already planning to teach him a father-son handshake — right after learning how to change a diaper.
Aaron Peck is looking forward to being a father in a few weeks to his son, Dexter. He's already planning to teach him a father-son handshake — right after learning how to change a diaper. Courtesy of Lucy Peck
Aaron Peck is the husband of Baby Project mom Lucy Peck, and the father of soon-to-be-born Dexter. He shares his thoughts on impending fatherhood.
What does a father-to-be do to ready himself for impending
doom fatherhood? This isn't where I come up with some poignant answer — I'm truly asking. What in the bleeding blazes do I do?
My head is swimming with all sorts of jumbled information. Pictures of car seats, pacifiers and diapers roll around in my noggin like an alcohol-addled dream. Obviously, I try to dwell on the important stuff first, like: How am I going to groom my little guy into the best basketball player ever? What naughty words will he inadvertently learn from me, but that I'll in turn blame on the unruly kids at school? And most importantly, the creation of our own unique father-son handshake.
These seem like good places to start. Well, as good a place as any, since when it comes to fatherhood, I may as well be flailing about in darkness trying to change a diaper.
I may not show it on the outside, but I'm a worrier. I can't make this known because my wife is also a worrier. If we both worried at the same time, I'm sure we'd end up huddled in a corner, fetal position, unmoving. She worries enough for the both of us and seems to rely on me to talk sensible and all that.
Courtesy of Lucy Peck
Lucy and Aaron Peck at Bear Lake on the Utah-Idaho border. Aaron is preparing to take on the challenges of being a new dad.
Lucy and Aaron Peck at Bear Lake on the Utah-Idaho border. Aaron is preparing to take on the challenges of being a new dad. Courtesy of Lucy Peck
"No, honey, our child won't come out of the womb with hoofed feet."
Even though, deep down, I worry about the hoofed feet just as much. Maybe more.
As a film critic by trade, much of my life revolves around movies. The other night we watched The Other Woman, starring Natalie Portman as a woman who's trying to deal with losing her perfectly healthy child to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). As if I didn't have enough to worry about, now I have to be afraid of a disease that strikes at will, with no reasoning behind its fatal touch. Trying to get everything situated for a baby is hard enough — clothes, crib, breast pump, mountains of diapers — now I have to worry about a faceless killer that I'm powerless to stop?
In The Other Woman, Portman's character never really comes to terms with losing her child. Instead, she just moves on with her life. I guess that's all you can do. Brace for the worst and hope for the best.
Now I'm officially scared to the point of partial paralysis, and I haven't even begun to think about his formidable (terrifying) teenage years. It's all just a blur. Fragmented thoughts here and there, of: How am I going to raise another human being? Am I qualified for this? I still think farts are funny; shouldn't that immediately negate any chance I have at being a responsible parent?
Lucy Peck, 27, of Logan, Utah, became a first-time mom on July 29, when she and her husband, Aaron, welcomed Dexter Aaron Peck into their lives.
OK, since I started writing this post, I've realized that it's more like a free association exercise of the imminent unknown adventures of parenthood. This is what my thought process is like, more or less. It jumps erratically from one subject to another. (I've never changed a diaper before. Will he like me when he's 18 and has three nose piercings?) My life feels like a never-ending flood of random thoughts punctuated by paralyzing fear.
I haven't even begun to really comprehend what will take place in the delivery room or what I'll be asked to do, since my beautiful (possibly completely naïve) wife is going sans medication. My ability to show compassion and empathy peaks at a "there, there" pat on the shoulder. I'm not sure my patented patting will help alleviate my wife's birthing pains. But I'll be patting away, trying to give her the comfort she will need and deserve — while also trying to secretly stick her in the spine with a concealed epidural.
I guess there's no real readying yourself to become a parent, it just sort of happens. The baby pops out, and you're all of a sudden counted on to provide for another life. It's a daunting task to say the least. I've come to the realization that you can't really plan for anything.
We haven't thought too much about how we're going to raise and teach our kids, but I've laid down some ground rules: Never brush your teeth before drinking orange juice; don't do drugs; and, no, you're never, ever going to have a webcam in your room. Ever!
With all these fears and anxieties piling up, it's helpful to remember that humans have been raising other humans for centuries. Some people got it right, others got it wrong, and others squeaked by with a barely passing grade.
I don't know if I've allayed any of my trepidation about having a child of my own, but it doesn't really matter. All that matters is that he's healthy, happy and free of hoofed feet. Everything else will fall into place ... hopefully.