Week 22 — Independence Dad
Ok, I realise that the title sounds a lot like I’m now on my own with a baby, covered in mucus and food, while my ex-wife goes off to Vegas to discover both herself and the Chippendales dancers. But that’s not it, that’s not it at all. That’s a misunderstanding, don’t do that.
What I mean is an allusion to how much bigger and older my son seems now, and, by extension, what that entails for the dad of a baby that’s exclusively breastfed. I can still only take him on my own for a short while but that amount of time has steadily, albeit in tiny increments, increased to a point where my wife can get her own thing done and I can feel like I’m helping out in a significant way. I take him and the dog out for walks through the woods and to the park while my significant other spends three hours’ worth of time of getting ready that comes built in as standard with every wife and girlfriend. However momentary and infrequent my outings are with the little baby they are still enough to ensure that I also feel like I’m getting good quality time with my son, even if he’s just asleep on my chest, drooling liberally and dreaming of all the new colours he saw that morning.
We’ve grown as a relationship and, as a positive consequence, we’ve grown as a family unit. I never thought I’d say those two words but there you are, that’s personal growth.
I take the baby in the mornings and play with him as he expels the first aliquots of energy that sudden wakefulness brings him. He bounces around and kicks and squeaks and squeals until my ears bleed; he screws his little face up and farts with enough power and ferocity to make me doubt the structural integrity of his lower colon, the little champion; he pulls on the dog’s ears and struggles to get everything that he can inside his mouth to inspect and investigate with that disgustingly inquisitive tongue of his; he starts to cry and I take him upstairs to a dozing mummy so that he can be fed again. He doesn’t seem as if he’s changed and then we think of what he was like a month ago, then further back to how he was when he was born, and realise that he’s advanced so much in such a short span of time. It’s crazy and it’s going too fast.
Did we accidentally invest our conception cells in a rapid-growth baby? I’M TOO YOUNG TO BE GETTING OLDER!
Speaking of advancement, my son’s beginning to copy the mouth shapes of people that are talking to him. Different noises are escaping him now, big boy sounds such as ’ooo’, ’eee’ and ’aanaanaa’. These, coupled with the addition of the want to imitate, mean he’s gaining some form of intelligence and perhaps even an emotional engagement beyond the juvenile psychopath he technically used to be. It’s becoming more and more difficult not to sing all of those ’sailor songs’ around him because otherwise if I’m not careful I swear to god his first words will be ’that bonnie lass with the busty knockers.’
His legs are getting stronger and at some point in the next half-year he’ll be learning to walk. It’s all just getting to be too much. The only solace I can take is that he might be able to stay young for slightly longer than other babies because I just don’t think he’s going to crack that whole rolling over successfully thing. Or crawling, come to think of it: the furthest he gets with that is clutching hold of the rug and kicking for a minute or so followed by the second stage of crying directly into the floor. Poor lad, we can’t all be winners at everything.