But there's a concept or two I've had to work out that would have been nice to know back at the beginning.
There's a couple basic roles the parents are responsible for: nurturing, worrying, learning and nudging. Now in the beginning, the baby is so cute, the nurturing is pretty easy; and starting day one the mom starts right in on worrying part (is the baby warm enough, is he going to roll off the bed, should I take him to the doctor for that rash ...), I think it's pretty much instinctive for the mom. So the dad has it pretty easy at the beginning, just keeping the diaper pail emptied on schedule and foraging for supplies.
If your wife has traditionally done the grocery shopping, there will be some adjusting as you learn what brand of dish soap she has been buying for the last ten years and discover there's actually a difference between those thirty cuts of beef. Luckily, you'll also learn that grocery stores actually take back food, however embarassing the reason (kind of like how Circuit City will take back that gadget you're wife got you for your birthday that uses compact flash instead of SDI mean, they're like completely different interfaces...)
But as the kid grows a little bigger, there's all these thing that we expect them to be able to do: crawl, walk, eat solid food, sit at the table, walk on the sidewalk instead of the street, pickup their toys, play nice with others, use the bathroom, drive a car, be a productive member of society (ok, maybe I getting a little ahead of myself). But the reality is that your little baby has no desire to do any of those thing. Eat & sleep is a great lifestlye, and your job is to nudge the little runt into the big world of society.
It's not an easy job. You're going to be fighting tantrums, throwing, hiding, redirection, and any other trick they can think of. You're going to have to put your foot down, starve them, freeze them, harrange them, bribe, yell, threaten, and anything else you can think of to get them to move out of their comfort zone. It gets pretty difficult sometimes to find the right timing though. My little one is right at the point where anytime I want to do anything besides play, he'll throw a tantrum, kicking and screaming on the floor. But that only lasts a minute or two. Though the crying doesn't change in pitch, the intent changes as he changes from defiance to sadness. At this point he need a big hug and then he's ready to go with me to face the next terrifying challenge of the day.
My job is to make sure they get where they need to go, while always being there. Check back in a couple of years and I'll let you know how its going.
Not that I haven't written about my attempts at being a parent before.