Tonight is the second night our sweet, stubborn, beautiful four-day old, baby girl is sleeping in our home. I find myself much more confident than our first night at home. Don’t get me wrong I’m still terrified, about EVERYTHING:
- Her enormous squishy bobble head and how to hold it?
- Her tiny toes/fingers and how to put clothes on her without breaking them?
- Every single noise she utters must mean something is wrong, right?
- Is she getting enough to eat?
- Is she eating too much?
- Is she sleeping too much?
- Is she sleeping enough?
- Is she crying too much?
- Is she crying enough?
- How did we make someone so little? (Under 7 lbs. she’s a tiny gal!)
- How is someone so little, so strong? (Remarkable)
- Was that mark on her leg there yesterday?
- Where did that mark go?
- Is she too red?
- Is she too pale?
- Is she too warm?
- Is she too cold?
- Is she pooping enough?
- Is she pooping too much?
- Are the cats going to eat her soft melon head or scratch her button nose?
- Will the dog lick or trample her to death?
- Will I be the favorite parent?
- What if she likes terrible music?
- What if she grows up to be a same sider?
- Is that smell her diaper or me?
And other completely normal questions that any new Dad finds himself asking. These are normal right? Mostly though, I find myself staring lovingly at her adorable, perfect, little face and wondering how it’s possible that we created the most precious creature I have ever laid my eyes on. It’s amazing how her little cries and utterances, and even the tiniest of movements tug at my heartstrings.
Confidence is rising with each passing hour. I can successfully change a diaper without too much of a tantrum being thrown, from her or me. You’ve seen those action movies where soldiers disassemble, clean, and reassemble their weapons while being timed? Picture that, but with breast pumps and parts. I’m the fastest pump-slinger this side of the Hudson River. With enough fresh coffee, I can successfully function with just a couple of hours of sleep, like my college days. I’m putting my data entry and excel skills to use and tracking poops, pees, and feedings. Maybe I’ll throw together some pie charts, graphs, and once I’ve gathered more stinky data, do a report out on potty trends. Who knows!
At the moment, the hardest thing for me is dressing my little lady. Seems like this should be the least of my worries. But it’s up there, maybe number one. Someone really should have focused on this aspect of taking home a newborn in some of the classes I attended or the books I read. Or maybe I’m the only one incompetent at this task. I just hate trying to squeeze her teeny tiny fingers and toes through sleeves and pant legs out of fear they’ll snap in half. And it pains me to see her face covered up, even if only for a second, while pulling clothes over her jiggly, fragile (must be Italian) noggin. Especially when I can see her lip begin to quiver as I pull the fabric over her head. That’s the worst – when her lower lip begins to quiver I’m suddenly on the verge of tears! So many new and heightened emotions coursing through my veins, it can be overwhelming, but in the most wonderful way imaginable.
My wife is exhausted and rightfully so. She was absolutely amazing throughout the entire process. I was in awe of her at times. I still am. She’s been selfless since the day we found out she was pregnant. This baby doesn’t know how lucky she is to have her as a Mom. I’m trying to do as much as I can so she can focus on feeding, bonding, resting, and healing.
Our animals aren’t sure what to do about the newest addition to our family. The oldest cat, Sadie, has sniffed her once and decided she isn’t food, so she’s of no concern. The doggo, Zoe, is already strangely protective of her but doesn’t quite know what she is yet. She’s confusingly guarding her, from what I’m not sure, and she is whimpering and sometimes even barking when the baby cries. Our youngest four-legged fur child, Charlie the cat, isn’t thrilled. I think he feels betrayed. He’s marched around the living room a handful of times, let out a couple of loud hisses, and found new places to nap, away from us. I’m sure he’ll come around, but it’s going to take some time for him to get used to not being the baby of the house anymore.
I do miss the safety of the hospital – knowing that with the push of a button a team of nurses will come running in to help us, tell us what to do, and to check on the baby. I miss knowing there’s a building of highly trained medical professionals surrounding us while we “sleep.” I miss the fridge with the free cranberry juice boxes. Who doesn’t love free juice? But bringing our baby home yesterday was one of the most exciting days of my life. Even though we felt safe at the hospital we couldn’t wait to bring our baby home and begin our life together as a family. Something about being at the hospital made it seem cold, sterile, and at times unreal. It feels more real now that we are home. It’s exhilarating, it’s wonderful, it’s soul warming, and it has swelled my heart and my being with a love I have never felt before. The most real thing I have ever felt.
We are getting settled, getting ready to have visitors, and starting to plan out our adventures as a family. What will our first family outing be, other than doctor appointments? What will the first restaurant we take her to be? Which park will we visit together first? How many pictures are too many pictures to post on the ‘gram? Which quintessential Upstate New York things will we do together first?
Right now it’s mostly just a whole lotta love and a whole lotta questions, but I have never felt this fulfilled in my entire life and can’t wait to share the world with this little one. And, if I ever have any performance anxiety when it comes to being a good role model or a good father, I can always just take a quick scroll through some of the parents on Facebook, and know I’m going to be just fine!