2 months of fatherhood lessons

Without further ado, here are some random things I have picked up after nearly 2 months of being a father.

  1. You do a LOT of things 1-handed. By far the most challenging is eating a burrito with your right hand while burping the baby on the left.   I’ve gotten so good at the football hold that I can cook and still manage to keep the baby’s head away from the heat.
  2. The best analogy I have heard to date (Mikhail) is that a new baby is like a campfire in your living room.  You need to keep an eye on it, carry it carefully, and always have a place to put it wherever you are headed.   If you are not careful, the campfire will cause damage to the property around it.
  3. Watching the nurse give the baby her first bath was enlightening.  Not to say the nurse was “rough”, but darn she was quick about it.   This alone gave me the confidence to “manhandle” the baby like trussing a turkey (for diapering) or rolling out pizza dough (for wipe-downs).   Putting on new gowns is it’s own bit of rodeo wrangling!
  4. Speaking of diapers and baths and all that — don’t worry about it.  The baby might scream but she will live and forgive you and you will be much much better at it by the 100th time you drag your weary ass out of bed to deal with it (which happens about 1 week into becoming a new parent).   Definitely one of the fastest learn-as-you-go cycles to be had anywhere!
  5. Trading off and/or putting down the screaming baby and walking away is one of the sanest things you can do after being screamed at nonstop.  Heck, I can’t figure out (or fix) all of her problems, especially that breastfeeding part.
  6. The new camera has definitely been worth the investment.  Before you know it, she’s learning to smile and laugh!

    Problem:  I needed 2 hands to carry the warm laundry up the stairs.  Solution shown.

    Problem: I needed 2 hands to carry the warm laundry up the stairs. Solution shown.

  7. If someone you know offers to come over and hold the baby, you take them up on it so that you can get some sleep or eat a meal (with 2 hands).
  8. It is far too easy to talk about your child’s main accomplishment, and by that I mean poopy diapers.  On the other hand, it is very difficult to not become “one of those parents” that always refers to diaper incidents.   Like the time I woke up at 6 in the morning only to be shotgunned by projectile poop that went 9 feet across the room (true story).
  9. Butt Paste is a real product (although not our favorite in the breed, since it smells like vanilla and that just ruins creme brulee for me).  Oh, and as our pediatrician informed us, it really helps to frost the baby’s cookies every diaper change.
  10. Be prepared to wash your hands a LOT (see previous 2 items).  While purell-type stuff “sterilizes” it also dries the crap out of your hands and chaps your skin.  Get some good smelling hand-soap and some lotion to boot.
  11. Staring at the baby is a time-consuming task.  Your entire day can be sucked up watching the baby just sit there.   Not sure why I stare at the baby…..it just happens!
  12. Cats don’t get jealous…heck they don’t even seem interested in being in the room when she screams at us.   As far as they are concerned, the baby is not food nor is it a provider of food.  It is merely a source of loud noise.

    Dagny at just over 8 pounds next to Boris at just over 16 pounds!

    Dagny at just over 8 pounds next to Boris at just over 16 pounds!

  13. It is very important to have the next 2 hour block of time planned. By the time the feeding/diapering block has occurred you have a scant window of 1 hour to accomplish something before the fussing begins to start the next feeding/diapering block.
  14. Babies can stink like Starbucks.  You know what I’m talking about, too….that nasty rotten milk smell that pervades the chain of McCoffee shops.   We found that lots of spot-cleaning helped keep our stinky baby smelling baby fresh.
  15. The 5 S’s and a fast problem-solving triage are key (a la Happiest Baby On The Block) for limiting the crying.  I can quiet a baby in seconds with some loud shushing and the shaking really lulls them off, while the super tight swaddling keeps them there.  As for “side-lying” and “sucking”, those 2 are overrated but sometimes necessary.  My favorite hold in the early days was what I call “The Cocktail Shaker”.  Guaranteed to put baby to sleep in 5 minutes.
  16. Burp Cloths! We thought we had a lot of them, but this item was always our limiter for laundry load cycles.   We have since bolstered our ranks and can go almost an entire day without having to do burp cloth laundry.
  17. We totally did not have our co-sleeping arrangement setup properly for when we came home.   Turns out we needed a nightlight for those late night feedings and diaper changes.   We also needed a comfortable place for those late night feedings and by day 2 the recliner moved downstairs into the bedroom.   That said, the Graco Pack and Play with the integral diaper changing station has been key to our survival!
  18. Having loads of recorded shows ready-to-go on the Tivo really helped in the first 2 weeks when the baby simply did not want to sleep.   The baby and I both enjoyed catching up and Dirty Jobs.
  19. You just figure it out, they gain weight and grow, and somewhere amidst the exhaustion, when they start smiling back at you, it makes it all worth while……especially when the smiling to crying ratio begins exceeding 1!

1 comment to 2 months of fatherhood lessons

  • Mary Ann

    This was too funny! Thanks for a great laugh. With 4 kids someone is always shouting “MINE!” and one is usually crying. Loved it!

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