As we enter February I look back on the last 7 months. The Wee Baby T went from being a mild inconvenience for my wife in later stages of pregnancy to a tiny helpless newborn (as babies typically do), and now he is rolling over, sitting up, attempting to feed himself, and playing violin.
Not really, I made that last one up.
The fact of the matter is, as much as I go on about how amazing my son is (and he truly is quite brilliant…), I’m sure he is about on par with everyone else at his age. The real question is, have I learned the same lessons as other dads?
1) You really can sleep through anything if you put your mind to it.
This sounds terrible, and I would never sleep through my son crying, but when the fire alarm started going off at 2 in the morning I ran in to check on T. He was sleeping like a champ. Flabbergasted I went to the couch and thought “Well why the hell not, if he can sleep through this so can I!” and that was it. Out like a light. K actually thought I had hit my head and knocked myself out.
2) ‘Clean’ becomes relative.
I never thought we were a ‘messy family’, but once T was born there wasn’t enough bleach in the world. The second a pacifier hit the ground it was swapped out and put in the steriliser. We actually had a “sterile” zone marked off on the counter top where only T’s things could go. I have actually designed a kitchen made entirely of stainless steel which can be sterilised with the push of a button, unfortunately the condo board won’t approve it. Something about “massive flooding” and “an incredible impact on building water pressure”.
3) No testicle is safe.
You think “I’ll just pick him up out of the crib and bring him in the other…” *OMPH!* right in the pills. I’ve tried every which way to carry my son, but he always figures out a way to make contact. I’ll hand him over to my wife and as a parting gift he lashes out and delivers a 1-2 with some sort of super accurate spinning backfist and superman punch combo. My largest criticism of EVERY CHANGE TABLE EVER INVENTED is there is no nard-guard. They always seem to be ball-height, and any railing has just enough space to allow a baby’s seeking foot through.
4) Babies are surprisingly strong.
The first time T grabbed my finger I thought “Oh that’s adorable!” *SNAP* my pinky was suddenly being brought back ’round and sideways. With my arm forced up behind my back we staggered into the living room: “Hun, he wants his bottle, and he wants it now… AHH!!! WARM! HE WANTS IT WARMED!!!” Seriously, who taught my son Judo?
5) You’re more comfortable with bodily functions than you previously thought, but still not THAT comfortable…
Every parent has their own blow-out horror story. The fact is, they’ll only ever tell you the 2nd worst. There is still that one that haunts even the most hardened parent’s memory. *shudder* I’m never going back to that yoga studio again.
On the note of diapers:
6) Diaper pails are great until babies start solid foods.
The first few months were brilliant – our home smelled like, well, nothing. It smelled like nothing and I loved it. Now the diaper pail can’t keep up. Lavender scented bags can only do so much and the charcoal filters are a lie.
7) But it gets better…
You will hear this daily. Everyone is eager to ask about your little bundle of joy, and then equally eager to let you know that everything is terrible, but it will get better. Initially I only had positive things to say – “Oh he’s sleeping well enough, we take turns feeding him, He only cries when he’s hungry”, but it wasn’t enough for people! They needed more, they needed to know that I was suffering. In the end it was easier to make something up and let my friends and colleagues offer solutions to problems that never existed, and reassure me that it gets better.
It’s been a great ride, and I can’t wait to see what the next few months hold in store.
Good luck out there!
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