Daddy Diary: Part Seven
Faster than an unfired bullet: A first-time father discovers his superpower has nothing to do with speed, and everything to do with slowing down to a snail’s pace
By Chris Lackner
That’s my superhero name at home these days — prompted by my less-than lightning flash responses to my newborn daughter’s needs.
Mom may be The Flash, but dad is decidedly less so. “Faster than an unfired bullet. More powerful than your average eight-year-old. Able to leap tall stuffed animals in a single bound (on his good days). He is… The Slow.”
Is Dad on diaper duty? Triple or quadruple the time required to complete the task. Is Dad sent to find some kind of baby item — cloth, blanket, toy, cream, soother etc.? Don’t wait up for him; he’ll be back before dawn.
It’s not that I decided to become The Slow. No superhero chooses their destiny – their destiny is thrust upon them. With great power comes great responsibility – even if you’re responsible for adding 75 minutes to your departure time for a doctor appointment.
Daddy’s Girl seems to either enjoy – or be sweetly oblivious — to his “powers.” I feel like Clark Kent before the phone booth. But Mom, a.k.a. Lois Lane with a Latino temper, is on to my “secret identify.” The Slow can’t pull a fast one on her.
It’s not like I set out to expose my powers. I’m like Superman waiting in line for the change room in a department store. My X-Ray vision is “involuntary.” I’ve never moved quickly in this life, but baby exhaustion has slowed me down to a snail’s pace (if the snail was sleeping). If I were in a race against a tortoise, while being chased by the Devil through a burning building full of quicksand, poisonous snakes and Donald Trump supporters, my shelled competitor could still run circles around me. I tell my wife it’s because I’m “a thinker.” This does not go over well.
I think Dads in general are destined to be some variation of The Slow. We’re just not detail-oriented in the face of an endless onslaught of baby stuff. How are we supposed to recall where things are stored when there are 15 drawers, 10 cabinets and three dressers full of our little one’s things? There are 10 creams, including four fricking yellow ones! We don’t know which one is for “under the rolls of baby fat” and which one is for the diaper zone. It’s all the same. A cream is a cream is a cream (ice cream being a notable exception to this rule).
If I were in a race against a tortoise, while being chased by the Devil through a burning building full of quicksand, poisonous snakes and Donald Trump supporters, my shelled competitor could still run circles around me. I tell my wife it’s because I’m “a thinker.” This does not go over well.
My soothing message to all Dads: just embrace your inner Slow. Don’t go through the existential angst and crisis of superheroes like Wolverine and The Hulk. Don’t try and hide your identity like Spider-Man. Sure, an enemy like The Poop or The Button will know exactly where to find you… but then you get to skip ahead to your superhero-villain showdown instead of hiding in your fortress of solitude. The amount of times I’ve already clashed with The Button is legendary. (I can barely match the buttons on my own dress shirts; matching them on a button-laced baby onesie requires a near daily miracle.)
My soothing message to all Dads: just embrace your inner Slow.
So what if it takes Dads an extra 10 minutes to battle an arch-villain like The Diaper? That just raises the stakes (because the baby is crying and the bath is getting cold) and makes the battle all the more epic.
I fully accepted my new Superhero status on a recent family walk in the neighbourhood. True story. As I lumbered, zombie-like down the street — with our daughter attached to my chest in a baby carrier — a senior citizen shouted at me from his driveway. “I like the way you move. That’s my kind of pace!”
“See,” I said to my wife. “My superhero reputation precedes me.”
Up up and away. Just gimme 75 minutes to prepare for lift-off.
THE EX-PRESS, November 25, 2016