This changes everything

I won’t post specifics in order to protect him, but I became a father this week. This is my first, a son.

Don’t expect any coherence in any of this. These are just some thoughts in the order they come to me.I’d never changed a diaper before in my life. The day he was born, I think I changed four. By the time I did the last one, I was even able to change one without him screaming bloody murder.

As I changed those diapers, it was so clear how vulnerable he is. He’s pretty much defenseless in every single way. Maybe that’s the idea, so parents will protect and nurture them.

They had to monitor his blood sugar really closely at first, and he screamed bloody murder whenever they took those samples. I tried to figure out how I could convince them to let me take the sample. Of course any sample I took would be from me, not from him.

Balancing your son’s long-term safety against comfort for the moment is a bit difficult. In the long term, all of those shots and other things will make him healthier. But there’s no way to explain any of that to him. All he knows is that strange people are hurting him and he can’t hear mom’s and dad’s voices anymore.

So far it looks like he has my ears, my eyes, my hair, and my wife’s nose and bone structure. The combination quickly made him popular with the female nurses. I hope his vision ends up being comparable to mine and my dad’s, but I sure hope he doesn’t end up being as prone to ear infections as I was. It also might be nice if he doesn’t get his first gray hair in the sixth grade like I did.

I’ve always been afraid to hold other people’s babies because I was afraid I might drop them. I haven’t had any trouble with him. It’s easier for some reason when it’s your own.

Trying to bribe a newborn with promises of a puppy, trains, and Tonka trucks doesn’t work. I didn’t think it would, but I thought it was worth a shot.

It’s also impossible to explain to the dog where my wife is and that she’s bringing a baby home. My dog loves kids, and any time kids come to visit, she’ll walk around the house looking for them even a couple of hours after they’ve left. I don’t know how she’ll react to a newborn, but once he’s big enough to crawl, she’ll have a playmate for the rest of her life.

I used to joke, derisively, that some people want to baptize their babies before, or right after, the umbilical cord is cut. I actually understand that attitude now. I still don’t agree with it (except in case of dire emergency of course), but now I see the perspective. I wasn’t there in the room holding a glass of water. But did the thought cross my mind? Yes.

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6 thoughts on “This changes everything

  • February 16, 2008 at 7:01 am


    • February 18, 2008 at 3:57 pm

      Congrats, Dave. Now you understand why men are truly the weaker sex…

      In a couple of weeks, you’re going to understand all of those strange looks you remember from your mom and dad’s faces. Then it gets fun.

      Take LOTS of pictures. There’s no such thing as "too many baby pictures."

  • February 16, 2008 at 9:04 am

    Congrats, Dave. You’re starting him on trains early – that’s good!

    After the physical feature comparison, it will be interesting to see whose temperament he takes after.

    And I’m glad you’re keeping God in his life. I was a slacker – born on a Monday, so I didn’t attend my first church service until I was six days old. Proverbs 22:6 says "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Moral teaching and HO scale in one verse ("train" up) – what could be better?

  • February 18, 2008 at 6:52 am

    Congratulations. We’re very happy for you.

  • February 18, 2008 at 11:46 am

    It most certainly does.

    Congratulations and best wishes for a happy and healthy mommy and baby.

    Better get some rest now if you still can – you’re gonna need it!


  • April 2, 2008 at 9:55 am

    Congratulations and welcome to your new world. Enjoy every moment.

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