Fatherhood, So Far, Cont.
I’ll start off by admitting that I am really, really new to the parenthood game. It’s been about two weeks since The Son was born and the patterns of fatherhood are starting to emerge; when to hold, when to feed, and when to do neither. His cries are starting to make more sense to our new parent ears allowing us to react accordingly. It’s been a good couple of weeks as we have been gifted with a good baby (so far).
I am also starting to understand how the conversation dynamic changes between people who are newly minted parents and, well, the rest of the civilized world. It’s very hard to get through a conversation without mentioning my son and something he has done in relatively short life. It must strain all kinds of patience and etiquette not to walk away from a conversation that has taken a turn to the color and consistency of bowel movements and, worse I’m sure, the genuine pleasure that they are coming out that way. Or that cute face he made right before he spit up what appears to be a generous portion of his meal. Or the destruction he wrecked on the changing table with his seemingly omnidirectional peeing and innate sense of timing for dropping a deuce as soon as the old diaper is taken away. While these are the bread and butter for story swaps between parents, their reception in the non-parenting world is highly subjective and possibly questionable. Given the amount of conversation time I’ve devoted to The Son’s bodily functions in the last two weeks, it’s not above notice that I am a bit preoccupied with it.
But in the intervening hours between his birth and now, the long and sometimes sleep deprived time has given me a chance to think on the phenomena of babies. One aspect is wholly unoriginal; all babies need relatively the same things and it’s up to you to figure out what and when. The other aspect is completely subjective, the discovery and the personal journey that it impacts everything you thought you knew about the world. And it’s the latter that turns your inside thoughts into outward expression, the kind that can be both endearing and obnoxious to conversational partners because it’s just not something you can contain.
For myself, part of the experience has felt like stepping into a familiar and comfortable role. I don’t mind the long holds in the middle of the night, the nose-itching awe-inspiring poopy diapers, and the struggle to figure out what exactly he needs when he is crying or cooing. The most scary part that I had worried about has worked out better than I could have guessed.
On the other end, babies are completely surreal. They are like aliens dropped into our lives whose customs and language are nearly completely foreign to us. You also get to name a human being, something that they will take with them for the rest of their lives. And you get to take them home!
In total, fatherhood has been good so far. It’s a front row seat to the development of a human being which is completely and uniquely fascinating to me. I am enjoying the present but I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Just like all of the other dads out there. I hope.