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I Said I’d NEVER Do Baby Talk. Then I Had a Baby.

Illustration of Dad and baby talking baby talk

In three years, I’ve gone through three different nicknames for my daughter: Cheeba Cheeba. Scrub. And, most recently, Cho-Cho With the Mocho.

I have no idea what any of those words mean, I don’t know why I said them, and, yes, I know I sometimes sound like an idiot.

And yet, when my little E is asked her name at school, without hesitating she says, proudly: “Cho Cho Wif’ Da Mocho.”

And every time I get the chills.

My mother-in-law still gets a kick out of documenting my slide into baby talk. “Remember,” she’ll say while I’m undoubtedly lost in the middle of some high-pitched, syrupy gibberish with my daughter, “when you said you’d never do baby talk?”

I do remember. At the time, I suppose I was still lying to myself about the size of the impact crater a child would leave on my life. I’m neither touchy nor feely, never have been; no poop-and-pee factory was going to suddenly turn me into a gibbering slug.

Yeah, well, about that…

Here is a lesson for all you prospective fathers out there: never, ever, ever say what you won’t do when it comes to soothing and interacting with your child. (Related side note: Don’t ever say that because you have a dog, you know what it’s like to have a baby. You don’t know anything.)

Here is the truth: You will do anything for your baby. You will be a sycophant. You will be willing to barter your soul if only your kid will sleep. Or eat. Or latch. Or stop shoving her finger up inside of her nose.

And that nonsensical softening? The Goo-Goo Ga-Ga Rosetta Stone course you never knew you signed up for? That stuff seeps in overnight. Gradually. Mid-sentence. And before you know it, that rough exterior you’ve been cultivating is now graffiti’d with pink chalk drawings of zoo animals and spit up.

My advice? Lean into it.

I think Cho Cho With the Mocho would agree.

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