February 27, 2004

The Bugaboo Epiphany, or "Where did Daddy Types come from?"

As we were getting ready for our kid to be born, I kept sensing something was wrong, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. It was there in the chatty tone of the pregnancy books . The weekly emails annoyingly written in the voice of the baby ("It's week 18, I'm the size of a peanut!"). The cutesiness-žber-alles of every badly designed baby product (and that's most of them, by the way). The new parent industry operates on the assumption that men are and will be only bit players, not active, equal particpants and decisionmakers ("Girlfriend, you're lucky if you can just get him to do a little more housework.").

But then, wholly unexpected, came the satisfying click of our Bugaboo Frog stroller's offroad tires sliding into place on the aluminum frame. For nearly the first time, it seemed, someone had thought about my experience as a father-to-be. It wasn't just that, finally, here was some cool baby gear I could live with (although the MBA in me sat in awe of Bugaboo's Lexus-like attention to detail).

In that moment, it felt not only possible, but right to want to be involved and to care about changing tables, feeding schedules and infant music classes. (OK, I can't say I'm totally convinced about the music classes yet; check back in a few months.)

The other day on the radio, a retired general was talking about her early days in the army. Women couldn't wear the then-standard boots, she recalled, and so the army had to redesign them. Suddenly, the male soldiers were reporting far fewer foot problems; women were the catalyst for improving all the soldiers' experience.

Over time, I'm looking for Daddy Types to play a similar role. This site will collect useful gear, advice, news and resources for all dads, but especially new ones. Eventually, I hope Daddy Types' influence will extend beyond dads, to improve the lot of mothers--and kids--too.

Oh, and I want to put an end to tole painting on furniture. Throw 'em all in the wood chipper and let God sort'em out. Yeah, no more tole painting.

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