From an award-winning illustrator and children’s book author comes a touching, honest, and laugh-out-loud funny memoir about parenting, love, and the wonder of new life.
"I would have sooner been handed a bomb than a baby,” admits Elisha Cooper, early in his charming chronicle of his first year as a father. But that, like everything else, is about to change. Luckily, Cooper recorded it all: from playing Outkast’s “So Fresh, So Clean” as he changes his daughter's diaper, to having a romantic dinner at Chez Panisse with his wife--and baby. Cooper’s disarmingly beautiful essays about the perils and pleasures of parenthood will appeal to any reader, and especially all parents, no matter how old their children. He has done what every new parent is too busy, or too tired, to do—captured with grace the joys, fears, and stumbles of learning to raise a child for the first time.
In spite of all the fine children's books he'd written and illustrated (Magic Thinks Big; Dance!), Cooper always knew, deep down, that he didn't really like children "in person." Parents were worse. Parents were people who used to have interesting lives, but now spent their waking hours discussing how tired they were. Adults without children dined in marvelously relaxing restaurants; parents ate in horribly plastic places featuring "mac and cheese." The very act of becoming a parent that "miracle" of his wife giving birth to Zo was frightening; as he said, "I'd call 911 but we're already in a hospital." In loosely chronological essays, Cooper describes his experiences taking Zo to the local cafe, to playgrounds, to the petting farm or to "baby night" at the movies. Before long, he started to relax. He learned to give her diaper a surreptitious sniff and not make a big deal of it. Rather than complain about Zo 's outfits, he learned just to change them after his wife left for work. While he always found something new to worry about, he also realized it didn't matter, since he was so totally besotted with this dear child. With a delicious sense of humor and remarkably graceful phrasing, Cooper's journal is a gift to all new parents especially the guys.