dad from day one: Instantly Becoming a Complete Goofball to Entertain the Baby

Twenty-seven weeks.

I know nothing about how to take care of a baby, yet.  But what I do know, and what I have always known when it comes to babies is how to make them laugh and play with them.  In the way that women instinctively speak in a high, falsetto voice to babies (I’ve read that that’s the frequency babies hear when they’re that young, as opposed to a normal speaking voice), I automatically become any given idiot monster when I find myself in a situation where a baby is looking at me, waiting for some kind of confirmation.

The default character I play while entertaining babies could best be described as Popeye mixed with Grimace mixed with Beaker: A smiling, squinty-eyed, beeping mutant.  But what can I say?  Babies like me when I am this fictional goofball.

And really, that’s what happens to any adult when a baby is set in front of them.  Adults become ridiculous.  That’s one of the many reasons people like babies.  Because adults get a free pass to act stupid.  All in the name of making a baby happy.

Needless to say, I am so looking forward to my free pass.

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:



How to Be Weird in a Publix Grocery Store and Get Away With It

When a small kid falls and bumps their head, there is a Two Second Delay where he or she must decide whether to cry or to laugh, whether it is a painful or funny moment. They must choose which they want more- nurture or fellowship. As an older brother in 1987, I clearly remember that happening to my sister, who was three years old at the time. I said, “Dana, don’t cry. Laugh instead.”

Then I started making indistinguishable animal sounds and rolling my eyes and puffing up my cheeks. Her facial expression went from the verge of crying to actually laughing instead. That’s when I learned that it is possible influence the response of a young child during The Two Second Delay. Since then, I have been keeping this in mind as I am exposed to antsy kids in shopping carts at stores, forced to go shopping with their moms.

Last Sunday, in the produce section of the local Publix, a Russian-speaking mom with her little boy and girl facing her as they both sat in the cart caught my attention. The boy was grabbing for some grapes and his mom told him no. So he did it what he knew best.

He started squalling. Whining. Crying. Over grapes.

The Russian mom’s back was turned away from me, but the boy could clearly see me from 15 feet away. I made eye contact with him and started doing my best impression of a bumbling buffoon. It worked. From tears to giggles.

And the best part: I only did it when his sister, who was sitting right beside him, was looking the other way. So every 10 seconds, I would make stupid faces at the boy. Immediately, he would tug on his mom’s shirt sleeve and bump his sister with his elbow, each time failing to get their attention in order to see me before I stopped.

This happened for several minutes, as we all made our way through the the fruits and vegetables. And I never got caught. That boy went home, with his mom and sister, both thinking he was crazy for pointing at nothing. I’m sure they were just glad he stopped his tantrum.

I have been doing this procedure for about 20 years. It’s really great. I highly recommend it.

boy candy