Confessions of a First Time Dad

Penny has been with us 43 days now. They have been both the longest and quickest 43 days of our lives. I have been struggling with what to focus my next post on because so much has changed. Where does one begin? I must confess that while I feel I have too much to talk about, I find the words hard to type. Maybe it is lack of sleep, the constant flow of overwhelming emotions, or just finding time to write it down. Here are a few more confessions:

I confess…

!t’s a lot harder than I thought it would be. It’s not like I went into this thinking, “Our baby won’t do that, she’ll just be perfect.” Because honestly, she has been great- she doesn’t cry for long periods and is typically content. It is that I did not anticipate how little I knew about taking care of a newborn. No one ever told us that it is hard and exhausting not because of lack of sleep, but because you care and love your baby so much that you are constantly second-guessing and worrying about every little decision you make. Still, motherhood seems to have come naturally to Mel, as she is the sweetest and most caring person I know, and it is so much fun and inspiring to watch her be a mom. I have caught on quickly and have even become a master at changing diapers, no matter the time of day.

Penny

I confess…

I strongly dislike disposable diapers. We have been 100% cloth since Penelope was about 3 weeks old. We started using all disposables for the first week until all the meconium was evacuated. We heard that it will permanently stain cloth diapers so we waited until week 2 to use them during the day and disposable at night. Every morning her bum would look very red and it was always really moist and tender, but by the evening, after using cloth all day, it would go away. By week 3 we had her in one size bigger cloth diapers at night. We are using cloth-eez prefolds with snappies and I love them!  We wash a load of diapers every other day and it is very manageable. We have had no rash or bum issues yet.

Penny Smile

I confess…

Our lives have changed. It seems simpler yet so much more complex and fulfilling.  (SPOILER ALERT: this section will contain the stereotypical smug parent revelation). Our lives do seem more fulfilled, yet we do so much less than we used to. There is no way to describe it. I truly care about different things now, which is great, because I needed to make my life simpler and be less concerned with frivolous things. I cannot remember spending this much time at home before. Do not get me wrong, we have been out to dinner, coffee shops, and the farmer’s market with Penny, but we spend a lot of our time holding, caring for and staring at Penelope in the comfort of our home, where everything she needs is close by. It is amazing to watch her do the simplest things, like following a picture with her eyes, and way better than watching any JJ Abrams’ film. Our lives have also changed in the sense that it takes 3 times longer to get out of the house and we try to schedule outings to best fit into her feeding intervals.

Penny and Charlie

I confess…

I love it when I can calm her down, but nothing is more frustrating when I cannot. I have been able to get her to fall asleep pretty quickly and painlessly most of the time. The trick seems to be to hold her on my chest, go into our dark half bathroom and rock her with the fan and the water running. Also, the Baby Bjorn on a walk seems to put the sleep spell on her every time. I love this opportunity to care, bond, and comfort her to sleep. When it works, I feel like I can take on the world; then there are the days, or especially the nights, when I can’t. It is the worse feeling and it is enormously frustrating. All I want to do is make her happy and comfortable and when I cannot, it just rips me apart. After nights of great sleep and even after the rough nights, I love to watch her wake up. She does the most adorable full-body stretch that makes it all worth it.

Penny Kudu

Penny Up

Finally, I confess…

I’m looking forward to her getting older. It has been an amazing experience to take care of our new born daughter. We held her and had to take care of her from literally the second she was born. We had her home before she turned 5 hours old and we have kept her alive and mostly happy since then. We have seen glimpses of her smile in her sleep and every now and then when we change her she will look up and smile. It is beyond words to describe how nice it is to see this milestone. I was starting to think that she was always going to be a newborn. We have only seen her in that state for the first several weeks so it is hard to image her being any different. But this glimpse of personality has been all I can think about lately. I love her, this person that I only met 43 days ago, more than I love anything. But I am looking forward to enjoying a walk with her as she looks at the trees and we talk about Disney Movies, or  biking to get milk shakes, or laughing at the dolphins as we kayak through Shem Creek. But mostly I am looking forward to two way communication- whether through smiles, coos, basically anything more than just crying. But I should be careful what I ask for- if she is as smart as Mel, I am asking for trouble with two brilliant and beautiful women at home to gang up on Dad.

Mel&Penny

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