To celebrate Father’s Day, I thought I’d follow my lead from Mother’s Day and look at a rugged daddy. I immediately thought of daddy Emperor penguins. These doting dads show insane patience with their teeny tiny charges.
It all starts in late May or early June, when the mama penguin shoots out an egg. The shell of the egg is extra thick as far as eggs go. That’s because the mama penguin is about to pass the buck.
The mama calls over the daddy and goes through a very careful egg-transfer process. This is the first test for the dad. If the egg is fumbled, the baby will most likely die before it has much of a chance to grow. The egg won’t crack, but the extreme cold of the ground will prove too much for the chick.
Regardless of what happens to the egg, the mamas are out of there like it’s Ladies Night down at the local beer tap. In this case, Ladies Night lasts for two months. Apparently pooping out an egg is more draining than any of us realized.
This means the daddy is left standing more or less in one spot, balancing the egg on his feet, drooping his flappy belly all over it for those same two months. It um, it takes a while for the baby to grow. They will have lost about half their weight during this time, all the while braving temps below freezing and winds as high as 120 mph.
Despite being emaciated at this point, the daddy penguin will squeeze something akin to cheese curd out of his esophagus to feed the newborn chick. Yum-O! This sustains the fledgling chick until the mama returns (hopefully) a few days later.
It is at this point that the daddy penguin finally gets relieved of duty. The now well-fed mama takes over baby holding duty. The hangry daddy penguin goes off on the mother of all fishing trips for about three weeks to pack on the pounds once again.
So let’s recap, shall we? The mama penguin poops out the egg, says “Woo, I’m tired,” and goes on a two-month eating binge. Meanwhile daddy penguin stands in one spot for TWO MONTHS with a silent egg and Chris from next door that talks WAY TOO MUCH.
Then, FINALLY, his little baby is finally born! It was all worth it! Hi, champ! Have some regurgitated cheese turds from my throat, although I’m deadly thin! But lo, here comes the mama.
Goodbye, baby I just saw born. I’m going to go eat for a few weeks. Maybe you’ll remember me when I finally get back. Who knows? At least the poor S.O.B. gets to finally eat, eh?
In the end, just like in real life, the kids are slowly coddled less and less. Eventually they are left to fend for themselves while mama and daddy penguin go off for some alone time. Then they can do it all over again next year! Yay?
So yeah, moms are pretty cool. Dads can be pretty cool too, though. Get it? Cool? They’re like, penguins? Sorry… Go daddy penguins!
And Happy Father’s Day to all. 🙂