William turned four weeks old yesterday! Hooray for arbitrary milestones!
There’s so much wonder in being the father of a newborn baby for the first time that I haven’t been entirely sure how to begin writing something the last few weeks. Sure, there’s the sleepless nights (albeit mostly for my wife, not me), the poopy diapers, the issues bringing a baby into a house where attentions were previously devoted to a somewhat spoiled dog (I probably will write about that next, actually), but I couldn’t find the inspiration to write what I’ve been seeing and feeling.
Already it’s amazing just to look into William’s little face and marvel at what you find there. He’s been lifting his head and looking around at his world with wonder from the moment he was born. It’s easy to just hold him in your lap and stare into his eyes and wonder what he might be thinking. To hear him coo and grunt and see him stare back into your eyes and make funny faces and think he must already be trying to tell you something, if only you were smart enough to figure it out. To discover what kind of soother he likes, his preference for breast milk over formula, how much he hates to have his diaper and clothes changed and take a bath, but loves to be in his swing, bounce up and down on the back of the recliner and push off with his legs when you lift him in the air and wonder if these things might be clues about what kind of person he’s going to be. To look at his big head and turned up nose and ridged brow and fat little arms and legs and wonder how you could ever have been part of the creation of something so beautiful. The picture above not necessarily showing William at his most beautiful, of course.
Sure, it’s hard sometimes. He has gas pains and gets cranky and occasionally the only thing that brings him any comfort is feeding. But overall, it’s pretty amazing. Can’t wait to see what happens next.
A wise man told me when we started this whole pregnancy thing that for the first and third trimesters, the best thing to do was just to keep your mouth shut. Unfortunately, this is an extremely difficult thing for two reasons:
1. My wife tends to get angry at me when I don’t talk to her.
2. Though I’m not an extremely talkative person, keeping silent for six of nine months is, for all but the mute, pretty much impossible.
I’m currently on the eve of my first child being born. It’ll probably happen sometime this weekend. So what sage advice do I have for other dudes after 40-some weeks of pregnancy? Man, I dunno.
This is not to say that my wife’s had a particular bear of a pregnancy. She’s been a virtual saint, really. A few of her more, hmm, critical tendencies come out a bit more often, and she’s had sicknesses and pains and a bit of hormonal craziness. The problem I have is that I’m generally a pretty patient person, but when that fails me I get annoyed with myself, and then things only get worse.
As we near the end of the pregnancy, things have only become amplified. People who I tell that the time is coming near jokingly tell me “Welp, better get your sleep in now while you can!” and I chuckle and smile and think “yes, well, if only that were possible.” I’ve never been a good sleeper. My wife is, but not only has she expanded, her snoring and tossing have as well. And after 8 months of managing to mostly focus on what needs to be done to get ready rather than my sheer, unadulterated terror of becoming a father for the first time, now that there’s little left to do besides wait my pre-father stress levels have skyrocketed.
So while my wife has, from stories I’ve heard of other people, had a very mild pregnancy and I feel very fortunate for that, I nevertheless find myself wondering just how much worse the sleepless nights once the baby arrives can get, considering how bad some of the nights I’ve had the last two weeks or so have been. As a different wise man once said, it can always get worse.