THE BIG DAY
Amazing dad skill: Cut the umbilical cord like it’s butter!
Few fatherhood chores carry as much weight as the first duty you may face as a new dad: cutting the cord. Want to make the cut? First, make sure your doc knows ahead of time that you want to do it. And don’t worry — the doctor will double-clamp the cord, so it won’t bleed much. When he hands you the surgical scissors, hold them like ... well, scissors, aim for the spot between the clamps, and cut slowly and smoothly. It’s just like cutting a tough, slightly slippery piece of rope. (Tip: An umbilical cord can bear a striking resemblance to a latex-gloved finger, so choose your target carefully.)
Amazing dad skill: Take an unbelievably cute birth-announcement photo!
Any doofus can point a Pentax and take a picture. To get a really great shot, though, you have to play to your star’s mood. So spend a couple of days getting to know your baby’s habits — you’re looking for the time of day when she’s most awake, for starters. For an original approach, use black-and-white film, which not only looks classy but also masks any jaundice or blotchiness. Turn off the flash and use the natural light near a window, just like that Rembrandt guy did in his paintings. If you have twins, try taking photos separately and sending two birth announcements. (Tip: If you have octuplets, the people from Newsweek will take the photo for you.)
Amazing dad skill: Make a dirty diaper disappear like magic!
Nothing brings out that cuddly paternal feeling like the smell of a newborn dozing in your arms. And there’s nothing like the stench wafting from the diaper pail to spoil it. To minimize trash-bin runs, follow these steps to turn any soiled disposable diaper into a hermetically sealed olfactory capsule:
1. Remove the soiled diaper and set it aside, sunny side up, well out of kicking range. The end with the tabs should face away from you. (Tip: Practice in advance with a clean diaper.)
2. Wipe baby’s butt as necessary (front to back), dropping dirty wipes or cotton balls (better for newborns) onto the center of the dirty diaper.
3. With the new diaper in place (remember, tabs in back, wrapping around to front) and without taking your attention away from the baby, grab the front of the dirty diaper and fold the diaper in half, away from you.
4. Again working away from you, roll the package tightly and secure it with the adhesive tabs, folding them over one at a time to form a snug “pillow.”
5. Step to the free-throw line, aim, and swish! Nothing but pail, champ.