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Tag Archives: Infant

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,

Good morning Daddy!

I know she’s telling me she loves me.

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I work with a bunch of women, seriously.  My current career path has me working long hours around a bunch of mothers and grandmothers, easily making up 80% of the people I am around on a daily basis, in meetings with, or working in close quarters to.  They have seen me in all of my glory, through my promotions and my wedding and now the birth of child and I can not stress enough how these women, whom I know so well but also know so little, are proud of daddy.

What I learned today about being a father:

Newborn children, especially first borns, are the doorstep into any meaningful conversation.  I write this with a smile, because I’ve learned so much more about the people who surround me on a much deeper emotional level.  For some, I am their boss, for others co-workers and for others clients, but all these people want nothing to do with me work-wise until they can talk about child. 

They want to see pictures, which I now show with honor, and talk about the birthing process and the sleep processes and the nursing.  They want to ask about mama, tell me what she’s going through and how I can be more help and then listen as I explain my goals and what I’ve realized being daddy is all about so far (because, they will tell me, there is so much more to learn). 

Some cry, others just hug.  Today, of all days, more and more people have come to me to for something other than business plans, correspondences or advice.  They have come to congratulate, pat me on the back, and tell me how proud they are of me, and I couldn’t feel better about my life.

What I think I know:

It’s all in the pictures.  A few days ago I wrote a litte about catching the moments, and I came to the conclusion that those moments are better captured not with the lense but with my own eyes.  I still believe this, but through the thousands of pictures I took (seriously, thousands) everyone else is able to get an idea of the moment and ascertain for themselves what they think of baby.  It truly is an experience to watch faces light up with joy, to see the disgruntled co-worker (because we all have them) take part in the celebration of a new being, a baby, whom all immediately consider him one of their own.  They love his small mouth, his round head, the simplesest expressions that they get from the pictures and especially his big toes!  (akwardly large, even the doctor said so)

The point I’m trying to get to, I guess, is that even though I’ve gotten to know these women enough to know something about them through the birth of my son I’ve become closer to them then I could ever have imagined.  I have become, in a strange sense, one of the ladies.  It is different with other fathers, sure, and this feeling of camaraderie probably changes with time, but for now I’ll take my hugs and I’ll show my pictures, I’ll listen to the wonderful stories of parenthood that people come out of the woodwork to share, and I’ll continue to do my best to raise my son and be the best husband I can be.  My family makes daddy proud.  With each picture I show and with each smile my little guy brings I’m reminded just how proud I am.


Archie

Archie, our dog.

We walked today, for the first time in baby’s life.  Well, mama and I walked, baby rode, and dog (Archie, pictured left) strutted in tow.  It was a top 10 day in Madison, WI, easily one of the best over my five-plus years of living here.  We made it half way up the block before baby fussed, scaring mom into a frenzy of what-could-be-wrongs and maybe-this-or-that suggestions that I couldn’t quite comprehend in the manner they were being shot out of her mouth at me.  I tried my best to listen and agree, but in the end mama didn’t acknowledge with the idea that baby did not need sun, but that fresh air is good for his lungs and brain.  We walked up the hill first, then scurried down it, and back into our little two-bedroom where mama saved baby from whatever it was that ailed him…which was probably my whistling while I walk.

What I learned today about being a father:

My darling wife was in charge of all things baby related when it came to registering for gifts.  She overindulged on things, and half of the stuff that fills our apartment don’t make practical sense to own.  But one thing she got right was baby’s stroller.  I don’t like to name drop, but mama high-rolled on a Britax B-Agile Stroller plus carrier, the high end type of bad-assness stroller that you don’t even expect to get as a baby gift, but ba-bam!  She scored!

Anyhow, this thing turns on a dime, rides on the bike path like a cruise liner through open waters and provides excellent pushing sensations that make one want to walk with child…but I only know this because mama keeps telling me.  It was a simple lesson today, but a heart dropping one as well.  I learned how fold the stroller up, carry it by it’s provided handle to the landing spot outside our apartment, and then unfold back into it’s upright position.  Mama handed me Archie’s leash, thanked me for getting the stroller ready, and set sail for a walk that would end up disappointing everyone involved.

What I think I know:

Honestly, there is so much to say about what I think I know that I could go on and on about the state of the world, the workings of mobile magicians, and how every act is in and of itself purposeful no matter how small the act, but I don’t know squat about mamas and babies.  I try to understand and listen to the reason that is mama, but babies cry, sometimes, to test us.  Today baby cried, and mama, like many mamas do, got scared.  She blah-blah-blahed me about all the things that could be going on with baby and convinced me (not rationally, but by turning towards home and leaving me holding Archie) that baby needed to get back inside.  She rushed me, “come on, come on” and waved me along only because I had the keys. I unlocked the front door, her grabbing baby and keys and leaving the heavy lifting to me.

We never went back out on that walk like she said we would, so I went running instead.  But now my back hurts, and I equate the partial walk, the quick turns and twists to get back inside while navigating Archie backwards-forwards and the constant folding/lifting/unfolding/setting down of said stroller/car seat combo for the blame.  It’s the small acts of being daddy that have made my back hurt, but like so many new things in our life my wife made me realize family walks will happen.  Being daddy means that I need jut need to bare with her and take it slowly before she’s completely comfortable, “One step at time,” she said.

And when she’s ready to let go, she promised she’d let me walk behind the stroller, too.  One step at a time, that’s what being daddy is all about.


As baby settles in to his new routine we have clamored over who gets what picture taken with him and when.  In our small two bedroom we have cameras and computers and other picture-taking electronics strewn throughout across our space, waiting with our breaths held to catch baby’s first full-fledged smile, a new pose we have yet to see, or for that time when both eyes are opened wide and attentive.

What I learned today about being a father:

It’s been a struggle to keep track of which pictures are on which camera or if these or those pictures have been posted to Facebook or sent to Shutterfly or not.  Mama and I keep telling each other to get the camera, or saying things like, “we need to get a video of this.”  What I’ve learned over the course of our first week is that the harder we try catching the moment the more moments that we’ve missed.  Last night mama and I put the cameras away, stored the video recorder back in its attache, and have just been more conscious of keeping our iPhones closer than before.  But we don’t worry anymore about a look or a smile, or a new pose that baby hasn’t done before because we are now both being more attentive seeing it for ourselves.

What I think I know:

I’ve been a father for one week, and it’s been the happiest most difficult and shortest week of my life.  I never gave the concept of “they grow up so fast” much thought, but last night mama and I talked about how much new hair has come in on baby and how much his face has filled out in such short time.  I always knew that baby would grow up, because that’s what babies do and if we didn’t I wouldn’t be as I am, but man, they grow up so fast.

I thought we’d have a chance to enjoy each and every one of his little moments for eternity, but I think I realized that we only have a small amount of time to relish them, and that if I don’t get to see them first hand, not behind a camera or a lens, that those moments really won’t stick with me the way I want them too.  I can close my eyes and see baby better each and every day over the past week than I can trying to find the pictures in a file on my computer.  Being daddy isn’t simple, but knowing that it’s better to see than to realize that he is growing up so fast might just make it easier on the both of us.