I wrote the following in my journal on August 4, 2007 when “Little Man” was nearly a month old. Boy did I have A LOT to learn! Twice!
I’m a dad in some serious training. They say the best way to learn something is through immersion. Well, let me tell you, I AM IMMERSED! Little Man likes all the attention and when he’s not getting it, he cries. But the trick isn’t as simple as soothing him. No. You have to figure out WHY he’s crying. Sometimes I think he’s a former Navajo Code Talker of WWII. His messages are so secret, not even the Japanese can figure it out. So, here in Daddy Boot Camp I’m being rigorously trained in deciphering his secrets. There’s a routine I am starting to memorize. it is as follows:
1) I offer a binky/soothie/pacifier, maybe he just needs comforted
2) I swaddle him, he loves to be swaddled
3) I offer a bottle, maybe he’s hungry
4) I check his diaper, maybe it’s dirty
5) I put him in his vibrating chair
6) I offer a bottle, maybe he’s hungry now
7) I change his position, maybe he want’s to lie down somewhere else
8) I carry him around the house, maybe he wants to be in motion
9) I offer him a bottle, maybe he’s hungry this time
10) Maybe he just has gas pains and there’s not too much I can do for that.
I’ve gotten really good at bum changes. I can get it done in under a minute and a half. It’s like a covert operation done by Delta Force. I’ve got to be fast and efficient. I’ve learned I had to because once the dirty diaper is off I’m behind enemy lines. I might get shot with pee or I could get the dirty bomb (if ya know what i mean). So I’ve learned to work quickly. The second part of my training is in sleep deprivation. Little Man likes (I think he loves it, actually) waking us up several time a night. He goes to bed anywhere between 8 and 11:30PM and wakes up hungry every 3 hours after that. I’m learning to go on little sleep. Or at least how to not look like the walking dead. So the night tactics are in full force. We sleep lightly, listening for the “siren” (aka baby monitor). We’re beginning to develop night vision, also. We can navigate the entire house in absolute darkness while fully loaded with baby in arms. Good morning fatherhood!
Here I am 7 years later and I’m still in training. It’s a constantly changing field which was altered slightly the addition of another new born back in ’11. Now it feels like we’re taking double the course load. I tip my hat to those who have more.
While the interests have changed, the needs haven’t. They need attention. The games have changed over the years, of course. They need food. Meals. Snacks. Desserts. Bed lunches. I fear the grocery bill when they become teenagers. They need to be cleaned. Apparently, routine cleaning keeps them healthy and smelling fresh. Crash is graduating to showers, but he still needs a bit of supervision. He tends to get lazy and either not wash everything or not rinse the soap off very well, regardless of how many times we tell him. Bang loves his baths. It still amazes me how well water can calm an upset child.
DW is a faster learner than I am. And one of these days I’ll start heeding her directions. When she gives me a direction regarding the kids I know it’s because she know what works. But I STILL have to try it my way and hear “I told ya so” afterward. Is that just me? Or is that a man trait? Sorry hon. It’s not because I don’t believe you. It’s because I want to know if my way will work, too (which usually, 90% of the time, does not).