10 Things I’ve Learned in 10 Days of Being a Dad

At 1:00 a.m. on August 20, our son came into the world. He didn’t come exactly how we thought. In fact, he didn’t come how the doctors thought he would either. Somewhere between the ultrasound on Monday the 15th and Friday night when we checked my wife into the hospital to be induced our son decided to become part of the three percent of babies who flip from upside down (the right way to be) to right side up (the not right way to be). That meant getting him out (as he was nearly two weeks past his due date) a different way. This is where I started learning things. I’m not saying they’re all right. I’m not saying I know anything anyone else doesn’t, but these are 10 things that jumped out at me since our son arrived: 

  1. There’s nothing to prepare you for seeing your wife on an operating table. I know it was planned and I know it’s something that happens every day, but I was sick to my stomach seeing her there. I would’ve switched places with her if I could, but the only thing they’d take out of my abdomen would have been some Annie’s mac ‘n’ cheese.
  2. Meeting your kid for the first time is insane. Yeah, I knew what the end game here was… I had taken high school sex ed. However, things became incredibly real when I heard him cry and saw this little guy that was hanging out inside my wife’s stomach for 9+ months. He looked weird and was screaming at me… and I lost it. He was perfect. I just kept yelling to my wife, over the sounds of the O.R. over the nurses, and over the blue tarp that basically sectioned her off from everything going on down south.  
  3. Babies eat. A ton. Seriously, I’m not sure where he’s putting all this stuff, but the kid eats constantly. It’s amazing. I’d say he has a hollow leg, but honesty he’s so damn long and skinny I’m not sure if that would help.
  4. Babies poop. A ton. See above, then this makes a ton of sense. Oh, also if they have wieners they pee everywhere, so there’s that.
  5. People are horrible drivers. Seriously, everyone is really bad. Maybe it’s me… maybe I’m more acutely aware of this, especially considering it took me about 30mins. to drive the less-than-a-mile route from the hospital to our house.
  6. You can function pretty well while sleep deprived… to a point. Our kid actually sleeps pretty well at night so far, just waking up (usually we actually have to wake him up) to eat every 3 hours or so. That said, it was definitely an adjustment not getting that 7+ hours of solid sleep in. I went to lay down for “30 mins” the other day and woke up 2 hours later.
  7. Strangers will talk to you about your baby. Oh, and touch your baby. And ask really personal questions about the birthing process. And share their really personal info. Just smile and nod.
  8. Everyone has an opinion on your baby’s name. We’re not Brangelina or anything, but we didn’t tell anyone besides some close friends what our kid’s name would be. This was mostly because everyone’s a critic, but also because we just didn’t want to constantly talk about it. 
  9. Your wife/partner/whatever… They’re a freaking badass superhero. You wouldn’t know it looking at her – all 5’8″ and blonde haired with bright, kind eyes… but my wife is so badass. She’s 10 days removed from getting sliced open and is up doing things around the house (and literally has been since getting out of the hospital early). She just magically knows stuff and can calm our son down in a second, usually after I piss him off by changing him or getting too excited and waking him up. I heeded the advice of a coworker who said “there will be a ton of people focused on the baby – focus on your wife,” but honestly, she had this all in the bag.
  10. Every baby is different. “Oh he’s so small!!!” What? Really? He was just normal sized earlier, maybe I put him in the dryer on high heat. Oh shit. Seriously though, he’s skinny, but the doctors (who are presumably trained on this stuff) say he’s just fine. Sorry we didn’t have a fully-formed toddler at birth. There are about as many books about how to raise a kid as there are kids out there. Nothing is going to 100% work for you, especially when your kid is young. Heck, what works for us now might not tomorrow… that’s life. The best you can do is your best. At the end of the day we all get kids who grow up to resent us and slam their doors, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Like I said, I’m 10 days in… many more to go, but writing helps me relax and catalog thoughts that have been running around in my head.

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