Fatherhood

My son was born 10 days ago. Probably the weirdest thing about being a father is how weird it isn’t. I’m taking it one day (or one feeding break) at a time. It’s not much different from other challenging things I’ve done before, like running long distance. At times it’s really unpleasant, but it’s not really that big of a deal, just keep moving and you get through it. Eventually. Things I’ve learned from being a dad:

— Baby books lie. Here’s a small example. Most books say that babies start being able to lift their heads when they’re around a month old. Mine has spent part of most burping sessions lifting his head off my shoulder and looking around the room. Sure, he looks like an intoxicated meerkat looking for a bar fight, but he can support his head for several seconds at a time.

Of course, his control isn’t that good all the time. Every once in a while he likes to check if my heart will keep beating after a sudden shock by spasming and throwing his head sideways off my shoulder. I haven’t died from a heart attack or dropped him yet, but he keeps testing my reaction time and responses to sudden movements. He’s going to be a scientist when he grows up ☺

— If those ancient Greek writers weren’t so afraid of women’s things, Sisyphus would have been taking care of a newborn instead of rolling a boulder. My wife and I cooperate on everything we can. I’m making meals for us, doing household stuff, making bottles and cleaning them to supplement her breast feeding. She feeds him more often, being equipped for immediate response.

Between feeding him and changing his diaper, even trading off tasks, neither one of us typically sits down for more than about 20 minutes at a time. This morning he kept us busy for nearly 4 hours before and after, and a bit during breakfast. I don’t even remember what the hell we were doing that kept us so busy. I swear I lost an hour in an eye-blink that I’d like to blame on alien abduction, but probably have to give my progeny credit for.

— Babies are the embodiment of Murphy’s Law. Today, he filled his diaper with the fragrant curds of organically processed human lactate and formula. To the brim. Front, and back. It was an impressive display of defecatory prowess. While I was changing him, he managed to kick both heels into the mess. This got on the waterproof mat we have to keep errant urine from soaking the sheet.

While I was using another wet wipe to get him cleaned up and wipe the pad, he peed over his head onto the unprotected part of the sheet. Nice distance, boy! Four wet wipes, two diapers, a sheet change, and a soiled waterproof pad later, I thought I’d gotten ahead of him again.

He peed in the diaper I just put on him. And wasn’t quite finished, because he peed again when I opened the damn thing to change him again.

There went the last clean sheet, and his latest change of clothes, and this one went through to the pad above the final waterproof pad layer. I made sure the diaper was secure, changed his clothes, transferred him to the middle of the bed, stripped the crib, and did a load of baby-generated laundry.

The whole thing reminded me of a bad sitcom episode, where everything is going impossibly worse than it could ever do in real life. Except that I was living the episode, and reality was imitating art. One thing is for sure, life is going to be a lot busier and a lot more…interesting in some ways with a baby around.