The threshold for paternal competence seems criminally low. In the last month, since the Hatchling arrived, plenty of people have complimented me either straight to my face or via my Smaller Half, saying what a great dad I am.
I do not understand why, because what I am doing at the time is simply holding my own child. So I'm standing there just holding a sleeping baby and some complete stranger comes up to me and says, "You're a great dad!"
It just doesn't make any sense. Perhaps if the baby was screaming and I was holding it in one arm while ironing a shirt with the other and making pancakes with my feet I would understand that people would be impressed. And as for how impressed people are when I change a dirty nappy. Good Lord. You'd think I'd transplanted my own liver into the kid, the way it causes people to fall all over the places in rapturous praise.
Elderly women are the worst culprits. I've had them grab me by the arm as I walk past, demanding to inspect the Hatchling, then praise me for my parenting skills. Incredible, that I can walk in a straight line and yet, somehow, contrive to not drop the Hatchling or accidentally feed her peanuts.
Meanwhile, my poor Smaller Half, who busted a gut (literally) to produce the Hatchling and is in a permanent daze from the shock of being tethered to her 16 hours a day, looks on in wonder as she is elbowed to one side by hordes of women singing my praises and ignoring her contribution completely. The upside of it all though is that it's very rapidly rebuilt my self-esteem after it was destroyed last year by my jerk supervisor. Right now, I'm pretty sure that I'm some kind of superhuman.
And if you'll excuse me, I have to go. I've been recklessly holding the Hatching in my arms while I type this and her neck seems to have developed more joints in it than mine does. Gotta straighten her back out again. All in a day's work for Super-Dad!