Advice for living with a new baby, one year removed
I’d planned a new Thanksgiving-themed post for today, something along the lines of “10 things that make parents of small children very, very thankful.” But I couldn’t get past #1, small batch bourbon, and #2, sleep. I mean that literally, as in I got into the small batch bourbon and then I fell asleep.
So instead, I looked up my Thanksgiving post from last year, which I wrote days after we had our third baby in three years. We’re a year removed from that insanity, er, I mean, blessing, but I thought the observations were still on point. So here you go, “A Baby Daddy’s List of Thanksgiving, Redux.” Enjoy.
A Baby Daddy’s List of Thanksgiving … Redux (Originally posted in November 2012)
It’s been a whirlwind 10 days. Dad on Arrival welcomed a new character, Heavy D, last week, and I’ve self-imposed a new baby break to help out around the house and bond with the kiddo. Of course, with my hyper-productive in-laws in town, my role has been reduced to a series of menial tasks, such as moving heavy objects from one room to another (and sometimes back again), cleaning up yard refuse, changing dirty diapers (not holding or playing with the baby, mind you, just changing the poopers), and emptying massive amounts of trash. Nothing makes a dad more obsolete than grandparents.
Still, with Thanksgiving looming like a rotund wild bird, there’s a lot to be thankful for. Yes, yes, there’s all the really important stuff like a great family, healthy kids, a roof over our heads, football on TV five days a week, and the sudden availability of winter seasonal beers, but there are other, less obvious items that should be mentioned. So here’s a baby daddy’s list of things to be thankful for.
1. Parenting experience. This is our third baby, so we’ve learned a thing or two. For example, when the pediatrician insists that we feed the child every 2.5 to 3 hours, no matter what, I take that with a grain of salt. She actually wants us to wake the child up in the middle of the night to feed him. Told us that with a straight face as we sat there bleary-eyed from lack of sleep. Um, hell no. This kid is healthy and well fed. Some might even say, “portly.” And if that little butterball wants to sleep for 4 or 5 hours straight without screaming for milk, then you will not see me standing in his way. We’re not going to starve him for 10 hours or anything crazy, but sleep is good. Sleep is very, very good. My tip to all the new parents out there: Do. Not. Wake. A. Sleeping. Baby.
2. Soft carpets and a good dog. I’ve been fighting a cold all week. Yeah, I know, awesome timing with the newborn and all. A couple days ago, after doing all my menial tasks, heavy lifting, and diaper changing, I felt a bit dizzy and lightheaded. I’m not going to say that I fainted while walking down the hall, because that sounds a bit dramatic. We’ll just say that I went into a state of repose rather abruptly and with a loud thud. Thankfully, we have a nice, thick carpet in the hallway that cushioned my fall. But here’s the thing: Despite the loud thud of my body crashing to the floor, no one came to investigate. Even worse, I figure that I was out for a good 45 minutes, and no one noticed that I was missing. This despite the fact that it was dinner time, and I have a longstanding policy of never skipping a meal. I was finally roused by my loyal dog (and, as it would seem, my only friend), who stood over me licking my face until I woke up. A little groggy, I looked up at her, and she stared right back at me as if to say, “Welcome to the bottom of the totem pole, big guy.”
3. The discretion that comes with having been through this drill before. This could also fall under the new baby experience category, but it has more to do with dad-mom relations. For example, in the middle of the night, when the baby starts crying, and my wife asks me to get up, pick up the baby, and hand him to her, even though he is two feet away from her in a cradle on her side of the bed, do I groan audibly or curse her needless involvement of me in this process? No, because I’m not suicidal. When my wife wakes me up again after the feeding to hand me the baby so I can walk him back around the bed and place him back in the cradle, do I scream, “MY GOD, WOMAN! YOU’RE ALREADY AWAKE! CAN’T YOU JUST DO THIS YOURSELF?” No, because, as I mentioned above, I’m not suicidal. Also, I tried that approach with our first child, and it did not go over well. So now, being the experienced, savvy dad/husband that I am, I just silently rise, do my baby transport duty, and then slip back into bed, content in the knowledge that I have survived another day of new daddyhood.
There you have it, folks. New baby wisdom fresh from the land of too much experience. Take it with a grain of salt, some parsley and thyme, a healthy dose of garlic and vegetable oil, and roast it for 3 to 3.5 hours until golden brown. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
In other news, I just noticed that my next post on Dad on Arrival will be #100. So I’ll try to bring my A game, since it will commemorate not only 100 articles on DOA, but roughly one year of living with three kids born within three years of each other. I’ll see if I can tap my hops encrusted, sleep-deprived brain for some good observations. Until then, enjoy your holiday!