29 December 2007

Random thoughts from a week of fatherhood

Please excuse me as the blog continues to be all baby, all the time.

Des has been with us for a week now.  We brought him home on Christmas Eve and enjoyed a constant stream of visits from both of our families.  Everyone says he looks like me, but truthfully I don't see it, at least not yet.  To me, he just looks like Desmond.  Nothing could make me happier.

Some thoughts I've had in the last week:

1. Feed first, change diapers later.  A empty belly demands attention over a full diaper anytime.  It's all about the stomach, and when it's empty, it doesn't matter what else is going on.  Fill it.

2. I hope whoever invented the pacifier won a Nobel Prize.  Or was canonized.  Or both.

3. Waking up every three hours or so in the middle of the night isn't fun, but it could be a whole lot worse.  So far, our boy likes to sleep.  Let's hope that continues, though I'm thinking that is mostly wishful thinking.

4. I never realized how much newborn boys look like old men until I stared at my son for twelve hours straight after he was born.

5. I was adequately under-prepared for the emotional level of a child's birth, which stuns me because I knew going in it was going to be the most intense experience of my life.  I felt like I was being tasered from the moment we left for the hospital until the time we came home with Des.  it comes now in waves.  I can be sitting here doing next to nothing when it hits me again that there is a new life in the house and that it is ALL OURS!!! and the process starts over again.  It's very liberating, like I just emerged from a mine after a year or something. 

6. If there is a feeling better than having an infant fall asleep on your chest, I don't want to know what it is.

7. I hope whoever invented the pacifier owns at least a home on every inhabitable continent, for they deserve it.

8. I've always felt that I've been someone who has given women their due as a gender, but now more than ever, it's clear to me that men are the inferior sex.  There's no way any man could have put up with eight hours of labor, two hours of pushing, and then a c-section without punching someone or declaring war.  I was ready to invade China.  Toss in being on call 24/7 for the maniacal feeding desires of a wrinkly-yet-supremely lovable baby boy and I am more convinced that if it were men who were responsible for giving birth, this would be an empty planet.

9. Have I mentioned lately how much I love my wife?  How I will never be able to doubt anything she does ever again (not that I did much before this), how I know for sure that she tolerates pain better than I do, is braver than I am, etc.?  I am several rungs below her on the ladder of impressibility.

10. I remember five years ago when my father died how surprised I was when people who had lost their fathers too commiserated with me.  Any time someone said "I've been there" or "I had my turn X years ago" I was floored by the idea that someone else was going through what I was.  Eventually I realized that the feeling of surprise was due to the fact that while other people lost their fathers, they didn't lose my father.  When it happened, I felt like I was the only person ever to lose a dad.  Building up to the birth of our son, it was the opposite.  It seemed like everyone had been through this before and were happy to offer advice and tips, so much so that I expected certain things.  It was only after Desmond was born that I realized he was more than just a baby, he was my baby.  And now that he is here, he puts me in the middle of something.  I was and always will be a son to my father.  Now, I am and always will be a father to my son.  I see another facet of Dad's life that I knew existed but had no idea how it felt.  We never talked about what it was like to be a father, mostly because I never asked but also I think he felt, like I did, that I would not be one.  The conversations I have now with my father about being a dad come from my memories of the things that he did.  While I don't remember what he was like when I was first born, I see myself doing things with Desmond that I know he did with me.  It is quite a comforting feeling, one that gives me a sense of my father's presence, stronger than I have ever felt since he died.  I am in the middle of a circle, looking back while I am moving forward, and it has never felt so right to be alive.


jevanslink said...

I just spent a week with five kids aged 4 3 2, a little less than 2 and six weeks old. I don't think I've ever heard a dad express so well the wonder of a pacifier's magic or the joy of a baby sleeping on your chest.

Way ta go Dad.  Kudos to Mom, too.

Mrs. L

paulmcs said...

I wish your Dad had been able to share the experience.

psychfun said...

Ha...I love the pacifer idea! Too true! My cousin had her boy on Dec 15th. I just spent about 5 hours with him on Mon. So cute! He sleeps about 2 hours at a time so you are doing good! I know I don't know how my parents did it when they had a 3 yr old, 1 yr old & then a brand new baby! My sis & bro are a year & 6 days apart! Then they took a break for 3 more years! HA! My cousin did say that things are different with the 2nd time around though, much easier even with two to deal with.