Ruminations on Daddy-hood

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fatherhood

I’ve been a dad now for roughly 6 days and I find myself wanting to put words down before I forget what this feels like. Also, perhaps I can come back here in a few years and have some decent stories for the little one. On the other hand, I’m getting 4 hours of sleep on a good day, maybe I shouldn’t pick up writing again…

Ruminations on Daddy-hood /images/babyface.jpg

I was ready, and yet completely unprepared

I waited. I waited until it was the “right time.” I put my ducks all in a row. Plenty of money in the bank, good job, loving partner, robust support structure. I took infant CPR classes, bought prenatal vitamins, went to parenting groups. I thought I was ready.

I was not prepared. It’s instantaneous. As soon as my hands wrapped around that tiny, fragile, breathing body everything changed. My whole world view twisted and reshaped itself around this thing. This terribly new and vulnerable creature. I could feel new hormones coursing through my blood like heroin and I immediately burst into tears.

The subconscious is in charge

The “prefrontal me,” that part of me that is driven my reason and logic isn’t worried about a thing. My baby is healthy by all accounts, and is strapped with so many privileges he’ll have to learn to check them in a few years.

And yet every time I relax…

DEFEND FAMILY. HUNT FOOD. PROVIDE SHELTER.

I find I can’t sleep if I know he’s been down for more than 2 hours. I google every oddity. Today, I asked the internet “Why does my baby sneeze?” It responded, “Same reason you sneeze, moron.” The aggregate search history of new parents would be a fascinating pile of data to dig through.

It’s a curious sensation, being haunted a primeval version of myself with immediate access to the worlds knowledge.

Time is very different

I used to measure time in days, weeks sometimes. Now I measure it in 2 hours “cycles.” See, newborns have this loop they live in.

// NOTE: expelWaste runs for a random duration
// and may complete at any point in the loop or
// during subsequent loops. This can lead to "pile-ups"
//
// TODO: Add loop condition
for {
    go expelWaste()
    wake()
    eat()
    lookAtStuff()
    time.Sleep((rand.Intn(2) * time.Hours))
}

Because of this, I now live my live in this same loop. I don’t sleep 8 hours a night, I sleep “every third cycle.”

Teamwork means taking turns

Initially I thought teamwork meant changing diapers, or making sure the nursing station is well equipped while her hands are full. Giving back-rubs, and doing dishes. In fact, it means sleeping through all of that so that I can watch him for a few cycles and she can sleep.

The downside is, I have no sense of a circadian rhythm anymore. After getting up at 3:30AM, cracking a beer at 10:30 doesn’t feel odd at all.

Amazon prime is amazing

At any given time I have about 2 packages on the way from Amazon. Right now it’s wipes and a wall mounted bottle opener, so I can crack a beer with one hand. The list goes on (for quite some time). If I had to go to the store every time I needed something, I would be in trouble for sure.

Leaving the house is an expedition

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But also quite gratifying. On day 5 I showered shaved, and went out into the world. ‘Course, it was just down to the local grocery to buy hummus and diapers. I felt like an explorer on safari. All these people and their fully functioning brains, going about their day. They would say words to me and expect me to respond. All in all, an enlightening experience.

Single moms and dads must be superhuman

Baby has a Mom, a Dad, an “aunt,” and “uncle,” and 3 local grandparents. Even still, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I have heard tale of single parents who have no help at all, and I think they must be the most extraordinary people in the world. I have no idea how they do it.

A clean house is a luxury

When we came home from the hospital, our housemates had cleaned everything. The entire house was spotless, garbage taken out, food in the fridge, etc. It was the most amazing gift, I felt loved and cared for by those closest to me.

24 hours later, it looked like a tsunami of baby clothes, left-overs, and paperwork had crashed through every room. I have new found respect for new parents who manage to keep their house in order.

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Dogs get it

Dogs understand babies, I think. I have 2 dogs, and one had nominated himself nurse-maid. He checks on Baby several dozen times a day, sniffing his head and making sure he’s okay. It’s somehow comforting to know that my dogs, whom I have shared the last decade with accept this new addition to the pack.