Everybody remembers their first days of parenting. But nobody recalls them with the humor and insight that award winning author Tim Bete does in his new book "In the beginning...There were no diapers." I have read many books about parenting and family life. Most were written by women for women. But this book articulates very well the perspective of a father in the first years of fatherhood. After reading the book, it was obvious why Tim Bete is also the director of the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop at the University of Dayton.
In a very easy to read style without a lot of wordiness, (he obviously understand the attention span of a new parent) he offers nuggets of wisdom and advice on a variety of issues. They range from how to change a diaper on an airplane to getting rid of household pests. My personal favorite was chapter two, "How I determine the sex of our baby - The miracle of birth". He included special advice to fathers on how to handle the "fertility police". He shares my love of humor with a slight edge that makes a larger point. Here's his answer when someone asked him if he knew whether he was having a boy or a girl.
"Yes," I replied with confidence. Then waited. After about a moment of silence she inquired "Well which is it - a boy or a girl?"Good insight from a father of 3 and a great answer to those difficult questions put to all of us with large families by strangers who feel no inhibition about asking us very private questions.
"I told her I hadn't decided yet. This left her perplexed until I launched into my high school biology lecture.
"The male of the species determines the sex of the offspring." I began in my best academic drone. "I am the male therefore, I decide the sex of our child. I will make up my decision sometime between now and when the baby is born." (I skipped a few biology classes but I think I got the gist of it.)
"Until our baby is born I can change my mind as many times as my little heart desires," I concluded.
The real proof of the humor in this book came one day when I walked in the door and found my oldest reading Chapter 13 "The Perfect Child - The Miracle of Christmas" to her siblings. They were all laughing hysterically outloud as she read Mr. Bete's slightly revised version of "Twas the Night before Christmas". You'll have to buy the book to find out what that's all about.
All of the anecdotes reflect the author's love for life, his family, and the Lord. He looks at the struggles and triumphs as miracles. Each "miracle" he recounts is uplifting and fun. He makes you smile at the most mundane tasks that confront all parents and somehow glad for each one.
This is a delightful read and a great gift for a first time dad. But I am curious about one thing he doesn't answer in the book...How did he get two bare bottomed babies to pose for the front cover without making a mess? Hopefully, there will be a sequel and we'll find out that answer as well.
Note: The book "In The Beginning...There Were No Diapers" by Tim Bete was provided free for my review by Mind & Media. Make sure you visit her site to find out how you can particpate in this wonderful enterprise.