A Single Dad Takes a Fatherhood Development Class

The last student to arrive for fatherhood class was the only one holding a baby, and a dozen men looked up from their desks to stare. Paul Gayle, 19, had a pink diaper bag hanging off a shoulder decorated with tattoos of marijuana leaves, and a crying 7-month-old in his arms. “Come on, girl, chill out,” Paul said, carrying the baby to a seat in the corner. He offered her a rattle, and she swatted it away. He gave her a bottle, and she only cried louder. Finally, he reached into the diaper bag and took out a pacifier for her and a shot of Goody’s Headache Relief for himself.

“Sorry for the noise, y’all,” he said. “We’re both a little mad at the world today.”

“No problem,” the teacher said. “I’m up here talking about being a dad, and you’re doing it.”

“I’m trying,” Paul said. “But damn.”

— Paul wants his baby girl to have the world, and he’s participating in the President’s 16-part fatherhood course to get there. But his girlfriend won’t return his calls, he can’t hold down a job and he lives in one of the roughest neighborhoods in Milwaukee. Eli Saslow has the story at the Washington Post.

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