There are a lot of first moments worth celebrating when you’re a new parent – first full night of sleep, first sounds that you think are words but any reasonable person will insist that they’re just random burps – and this last week I’m proud to say that I officially attained a particularly monumental first in my newfound career into fatherhood … I officially managed to keep my child alive for an entire year!

It seemed only fitting that I would mark such an impressive occasion by sharing a wee few of the numerous nuggets of wisdom that I’ve attained thus far on my parenting journey so as to make life a little less insane for the new dads that will follow in my own courageous footsteps. That’s just the kind of guy I am. Also, I’ve been told that misery loves company.

I have little doubt that my second year is going to be much more challenging than the first because he’s nearly walking and child-proofing the house is a terrifying notion in its own right, but first thing’s first – here’s what I have to share with you so far…

  • The worst poop ever is an enigma that you will forever chase because even when you find yourself staring down the most disgusting, gut-wrenching, jump-off-a-cliff to escape it combination of stench, color, and texture … there will always be a worse poop lurking just off in the distance … waiting.
  • Baby shoes are stupid expensive, and it’s not uncommon for wives to insist on their purchase long before your baby ever shows any intention of actually setting foot outside.
  • Much like an elephant, a baby also never forgets … something to keep in mind if you’re like me and happen to find it funny to stick your nose in your newborn baby’s mouth, for one day soon your baby will have teeth and by then he’ll have grown a taste for nose.
  • There’s no worse way to wake up at four in the morning than by the sound of a screaming baby. I’m sure that even if I was awoken on account of my house being on fire, it’d still be a far gentler wake-up call.
  • Trying to eat a baby’s toes is a uniquely female trait. You will never witness a man threatening to consume a young child’s toes, even if it’s completely accidental and they’ve been slathered in barbecue sauce.
  • There are phrases I never imagined having to utter to another human being, much less to my own flesh and blood. “Don’t eat dog food” is one of those phrases. “That was a good poop!” is another.
  • As fun as hanging your child upside-down by his ankles may be, it’s important to learn that there’s a time and a place. Right after eating is not the time, and in the middle of Target is not the place.
  • Singing toys are a lot more fun at the store than they are in your living room. At the store you can simply move on to another aisle to escape them, whereas at home they become like a dozen crazy people all trying to sing their own songs about cleanliness and eating your vegetables at the same time at maximum volume.
  • If you just laugh it off when your child falls headfirst off the bed, there’s a chance that he will, too, instead of screaming for his mother to call you out as the negligent father that you really are.
  • It’s become painfully apparent to me that if we’re going to have any more of these things, I’m going to need a bigger car. And a Sherpa. And a whole lot more of you are going to need to start buying my books.