I feel like I’m starting from scratch again! You wouldn’t have guessed that Jackie gave birth over a month ago because it feels like it’s happening all over again. The constant complaining, the shouting at the Playstation 3 for cutting out on shows, the weeps and sobs when that commercial about the orphaned dogs comes on TV, and that’s just me!
Seriously though, Jackie is going through some new emotions and changes in her attitude that I just don’t get. Griffin is feeling it too, following right along with mamas reactions towards how daddy makes a bottle, how daddy folds baby’s clothes, and how daddy can’t seem to utter a word in when mama’s yelling at everything and anything. I’ve always liked rollercoasters, no, loved rollercoasters, but this is the bumpiest, loopiest, most upside-down ride I’ve ever been on! (Speaking of rollercoasters I suggest Six Flags in the Chicago land area, epic rides)
What I learned today about being a father:
It’s been nearly four days since my last post, and I know what you’re thinking, “Why so lazy daddy?” I promise when I say I’m motivated, obligated, and doing my best to emancipate myself from my wife to keep up on this blog. I am trying to convey this in the best way possible, but over the last four days my wife and sister (who is in from out-of-town) planned a Cinco De Mayo party without telling me; one that I had to take off early from work to prepare for. My sister was supposed to help me cook, Jackie run errands and prep our small two-bed for company, while I did all the grocery shopping, meal and bar preparation. Though I wasn’t keen on the idea of making food I for twenty in our little kitchen, at 6AM I had it in my mind that with all the help from the other two this wouldn’t be an issue.
Daddies, never make plans that something won’t go wrong.
My sister ended up lame with a hurt back, one that would end up making sending us to a hospital and making her bed ridden for the remainder of her stay in town, at a hotel room, with my parents coming into town. Jackie called grandma over to help clean the apartment which turned into grandma and mama sitting on the couch watching Grey’s goo-gooing and ga-gaing over baby. Daddy went to work until 11AM, then to the store to buy the goods, then home and unloaded and went straight to work prepping, baking, and cooking for the next 7 hours. It was a whirlwind of on-goings and what-the-heck-am-I-doing dessert making, but it all worked out in the end.
And that’s the thing, Jackie, completely ignoring my pleas for help, just kept saying, “B, it will all work out in the end. Everything will be great.” Smiling wide, looking at baby.
What I think I know:
Despite the problems with my sister and Jackie’s emotional ups and downs, all in all it was a great weekend. My parents were able to meet their grandson for the first time, and though they had to take turns, one watching my sister, one at the two-bed holding Griffin, they couldn’t have asked for a better, more complete weekend.
I didn’t get it, to be honest. I talked it over with my parents Sunday night, wondering with the serious back issue my sister faced (and I mean serious-serious, she couldn’t walk, stand up, move from her laying position, or get to the bathroom in time because of the pain) and the long road they took to get here why they thought it was such a great weekend? It was damp and rained off-and-on all weekend, we didn’t even get a chance to go out for dinner or lunch or hang out as a family. Moms (I call her moms, can’t really explain why) and dad chuckled, and they agreed that it was great because they got the chance to not only be fun, loving grandparents, but they got to be parents again.
The art of being a parent never really goes away. My parents house has been empty for over five years, and though the enjoy us staying over when we come into town they never, ever have to take care of us. This weekend moms and dad went to work on my sister, and I, older brother and all, got a chance to give good brotherly help as well.
As everything changes, some things never do. My parents, the guardian of their children, went into protection/take care of mode without hesitation. They relished this role, the role of parent, husband and wife taking care of their little girl. It was amazing, perfect even, just watching them do what they do best hoping that in the coming years I can be the best daddy I can be.
Once the smoke cleared, the grandparents gone and my sister back home, I sat with Jackie and listened to her complain about our dinner, yell at her phone, scold the dog, and tell me how need to stop telling people stories because it takes me too long to get to the point. The point is, and I’m sorry it took this long, she gave me a kiss, thanked me for watching Grey’s with her, let me hold baby and got me ice cream, just because.
Being daddy it sometimes feels like we are starting over again and again, but it all works out in the end.
When her hand waves across her lips I know she’s telling me to get baby‘s nuk. When she holds him out in front of me and he has that relieved look on his face I know he needs to be changed. When she’s ready to nurse looking at me frantically I know she’s looking for her nipple shield. When she sits down next to me, lays her head on my shoulder and sighs, I know mommy needs a break. Welcome to mommy speak.
What I learned today about being a father:
My wife has always had her things,you know, a look that says how she feels or sound she makes when she needs you to do something for her. I have them too, but Jackie’s are less subtle, somewhat more aggressive, and now she has added new mommy speak territory that I can barely keep up with.
I’m pretty good at rolling with the punches, but yesterday I was missing cues left and right. She started doing this thing with her elbow, waving it up and down as she bottle feeds saying things like, “Hey, B, over there…” than pointing with her tip-toes to something on the floor, or maybe on the desk, or maybe in the kitchen. I scamper back and forth in our little two-bedroom, picking up items and showcasing them like I’m the Price-Is-Right. I’m no show model, either, but when I don’t get whatever it is she’s asking for correct she rolls her eyes at me and let’s me know how she has to do everything herself.
“Honey,” I say. “Just tell me what you need and I’ll get it.” She sits down with baby, ignoring my incompetence completely at this point, and let’s baby know how hard it is being mommy, out loud of course.
What I think I know:
Griffin is three weeks into this world now and I can tell you that he understands mommy speak better than I ever will. He laughs at her jokes (with me as the punch line) and snarls when I do something wrong or handle him in a way that doesn’t suit his mood. I see it already, baby and mommy conspiring against daddy to take over the household (which they already rule) and soon, one day, his soul.
The bond created between mother and child is very unique. She can hush him up with the twist of his body, make him smile just by looking at him, and when she gives me that look, that “You’re in the doghouse” look, he does too.
Mommy’s needs are great and her life is moving at a pace that I will never quite understand. I’ve studied her moods and her antics for over five years now and have gotten pretty good at heading off any issues at the pass, but mommy speak is different, more complicated, and now involves another entity that is attached to mommy’s hip like the two guys from that move “Stuck On You“, starring Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear. Being Daddy is all about making adjustments, and I have realized that if I can relearn to read my wife better I can also understand my son.
And when mommy sends me text with pictures like this,
I know she’s telling me she loves me.