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Daddyhood

She was wrong. Two weeks later she was pregnant

My wife was ready to have a baby. I was not. Sure, I supported the idea in a vague, abstract way—I want to have kids— just like—I want to retire to a house on a lake. Someday.

But now? Why now? Not now, dear.

Eventually she convinced me, and here’s how: it’s not that easy. Many couples try for years before they have kids. If we want a baby in a few years, we should start now.

She was wrong. Two weeks later we knew she was pregnant.

He was born just after midnight. Some parents—including my own wife—say they fell in love with their children the moment they laid eyes on them. I won’t lie to you. I did not.

Here he was: slimy, squalling, wrinkly, cone-headed. OK, kind of cute. In a muppet sort-of-way. But that’s not love.

The moment came for me one week later. Rocking him on my legs, soothing him back to sleep. He stared into my eyes in that half-focused, newborn way. My heart cracked open as I stared back. I let him suckle the tip of my pinkie, and he held on like he was never, ever letting go.

Four years pass and Jacob has become my closest companion. He should have a sibling. Someday. And my wife has decided the right someday is now.

Even an idiot is hard to fool twice. I mull it over, marshall my arguments. Screw up my courage to tell her: now is just not a good time. The day I’m ready to tell her, she beats me to it: she is pregnant.

Before this book is published, I know I’ll be in love again. She’ll be daddy’s girl. Even if she turns out to be a boy.

_Michael Forster Rothbart is a photojournalist in New York. He seldom regrets being the father of two amazing kids._

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