Ok. Well……you’re a Daddy. You’re no longer an “expecting father”. You’ve got a newborn baby in the house. You’re officially a “father”. So, your life just violently changed in ways that you cannot yet even fathom. You have no idea what kind of ridiculousness that your next few days, weeks, months and years, have in store. Most of the changes are wonderful and amazing. MOST of them. And some of them suck. Hard. So get ready.
Let’s rewind a bit to the day Gracee was born. With my wife still lying on the Optimus Prime Transformer table, her placenta and other weird unmentionable things are just lying in a pan on the floor, the nurses are weighing the baby, cleaning out her ears, and cleaning her eyes on this kickass robot/tanning bed/scale/computer thingy that I TOTALLY am going to jack around with later, when the nurses leave. They are wiping all the gross crap (looks like cheese) off of her that she was covered in when she finally made her Grand Entrance. The nurses are very efficient, like a NASCAR pit stop. They know their business. They were GREAT nurses, and more helpful than I can say……but, to them we were just another baby in their work day. But to ME….oh, to ME, this was the most amazing and surreal moment IN MY LIFE.
If you’re like me, you’re just STARING at her. Staring at her with a million different things going through your brain. First……she’s the most BEAUTIFUL thing I’ve ever laid eyes on. I’ve never seen anything like her. I feel an instant connection; a fierce protective streak arises in me. Something primal that I can’t explain. She NEEDS me, and I’ll never let ANYTHING hurt her. I can almost feel the hair on my neck stand up, as I bear my teeth and emit the low rumbling growl of a jungle cat. She’s MINE. Get back. Let me have her.
I’ve never held a baby in my life. Seriously. I never held my nephews as newborns. I always felt like Lenny in Of Mice and Men…..like I was going to pet them on the head too hard, or squeeze them too tight and cause irreparable brain or internal organ damage. “Do I still get to tend to dem rabbits, George”? I’m just a big, strong, bumbling idiot. But I know immediately, I need to hold her. The nurse asks, “are you ready”? She places this perfect little bundle into my arms, and everything in my world disappears. Everything else is lost, for just a moment, as I come face to face with my new daughter. We make eye contact, and her tiny little blue eyes take my breath away. I love her, and she knows it. And she loves me, I can feel it. My heart is near exploding…
That was beautiful, wasn’t it? Ok…..now that all that sappy crap is out of the way……..what the hell do I do with her???! Once the elation of childbirth wears off, then you begin to realize that you are now responsible for a HUMAN LIFE. Serious panic begins to set in. I don’t know how to take care of a baby!!! There’s no way I’m qualified for this!!! My sister let me take my nephews out for the day, once. ONCE. And you know what happened? I split Joby’s head open on a merry-go-round. Blood was everywhere. *In my defense, everyone knows that you try and make the merry-go-round go as fast as humanly possible, and he really wasn’t holding on as tightly as he should have*. He won’t get on a merry-go-round still, to this day. I traumatized him to the point that he will not get on a merry-go-round FIVE YEARS later! That was a one-time deal…..just in one afternoon. Imagine the damage I could lay down if given my own human person to have under my care 24 hours a day?! It’s inconceivable…
Fortunately, for Gracee’s sake, her mother has done this a time or two already. She was born to be a mother. So, I hope for you and your new baby’s sake, that your baby mama is equally as qualified as mine was. That doesn’t mean you aren’t going to screw the pooch time and time again. It just means that you’ll have some supervision that will, most likely, keep you from screwing up TOO BAD. Oh no……you’re going to do some really stupid stuff. Don’t worry about that. Just you wait and see. *Footnote: Some fellow dad bloggers gave me some hate over this comment the first time I shared this post. Because I was “promoting the stance that a dad is a bumbling, incompetent fool.” That’s not what I am promoting, at all. I am promoting the stance that I am bumbling, incompetent fool. Big difference.
So, back to Gracee’s birthday. As I’m holding her, staring at her in awe, I really do get seriously panicked. I’ve never changed a diaper. I’ve never held a bottle. Her perfect tiny fingers wrap around mine, and first, I think to myself, “look at those beautiful little fingers”!…..and then, I think to myself “Oh my gosh…I could break those SO easily”. Not on purpose, of course…..psycho. On accident. She’s so small, and so fragile. Right now, she’s all bundled up, tightly, in this little swaddle blanket, protected and safe. But soon, I’m going to have to take her out of it and take her out of this hospital room full of doctors and nurses and machines. I’m going to have to take her out into the world…..and that’s freakin’ terrifying.
Here’s the good news folks…..
I, like many of you, who weren’t “ready” to be a grownup and care for a child of my own, have made it nearly 21 months with minimal incidents. And so will you. Once you get that baby home, you’ll slowly begin to learn the essentials for keeping this baby in good shape. Sure, he or she may not be clean all the time, or it’s clothes may be on backwards, or the diaper may leak etc etc…..but, if it’s got a happy home, a mom and a dad that love it, then you’re on the right track. The other stuff will take care of itself.
Just make sure you feed it sometimes and change its diaper occasionally, and everything will be fine. Oh, and don’t drop it. Or hit its little itty bitty head on anything. Seriously.