Today I would like to talk about a new father. In a three-hour drive from sea to sea, this weekend, Alex and I started talking about parenting, and he brought out a few funny and surprising thoughts of our first year with the baby. Here are his eight confessions, in his own words, below.
Father’s experience is exciting, but it is also very difficult at the same time. I have loved Toby since the second I saw him. But honestly, the first few months were a change. The baby is helpless, and you do not know, and you do not have that strong chemical, hormonal and emotional bond with the baby, in the same way as a mother.
You spend the first six months of your child’s life filling out this great rule book. You need to learn everything – how to hold a baby, wrap it up, change a nappy. I had never played with a doll or a babysat, so it was completely new. You can give the first father’s day shirt to a new dad.
I enjoyed it – it was an attractive and deeply satisfying odyssey – but, privately, at the same time, if Joanna came in and said, “Mom’s going to take it next month,” I’d be happy.
“Time alone with a child was very important.”
Even though I felt completely lost, I was surprised that spending time alone with Toby felt so natural and unsurprisingly intimidating. I remember the first night we had Toby at home. Joanna was in bed, and I had four times alone with her. He was lying on a bus next to me, and he began to move.
I realized that she had never heard music before and that I had to choose the first song she had never heard. I felt like I had a hand in shaping his future. Selecting a song on iTunes suddenly felt deep! It was bright and hopeful, like the first day of spring. It was a time of magic.
“My wife pretended to be on drugs.”
Until you have a baby, whatever happens, you and your wife respond in the same way. You are in the same rating range. But when the baby arrives, whatever happens, your wife takes a 90-degree variation.
Joanna’s height was high, and her looseness was low. His normal happiness was very high; he was gazing at the stars and was overjoyed. On the flip side, he was very worried. She was very inclined to take anything bad out of her heart – like Toby’s argument when we changed her nappy. I could see that her argument was a small one, unfortunate but inevitable, but she felt an amazing rush for Joanna. He was very upset with her crying – to her, it was as if an alarm clock was ringing inside her. She was very worried about any sign of disturbance on Toby, and I was going to deal with her crying but it didn’t bother me emotionally. I just thought, Oh, all the kids are crying, she’ll be all right.
It’s like having a drug addict. You are on a different flight. You look at your wife, and you have to think, ‘How do you really feel? Then you have to find out how to respond in the way he would like.
It all comes back to earth again. Joanna no longer felt those bright surges on both sides of the emotional spectrum and looked very much like her old man (which is a relief to her), and I gained more familiarity and felt like my old self. About the ninth month, we found ourselves back in our old rhythms and feeling like ourselves again (see below :).
I was afraid that my wife would love the baby better. ”
Maybe it sounds crazy, but the biggest fear I always had about having children was that my future wife would love them better. In many of my friends’ growing families, the husband was basically replaced by children. I was completely worried about losing the note. Surprise gifts for a husband can make him happier.
One time Joanna put Toby to bed, and I overheard her say, “You’re the most loved person in the world, you know that?” and I was thinking, ‘Really? What about me? ‘Sounds ridiculous, but it was a correction that he would not be the only man in his life. But in the end, I realized that our marriage was not going to be replaced by a baby – it was a very different thing. That sight was a great relief.
“Children’s books are boring.”
I love spending time with Toby, especially when we go for a walk or play the guitar. But other children’s activities are s-l-o-w. Joanna seems to have the ability to step outside and see things with a child’s eyes, such as reading children’s books. But for me, children’s books are basically boring. Like, mental anxiety. Very Hungry Caterpillar is difficult sledding.
Everything changed when Toby was nine months old. One day, Toby seemed to have no idea who I was (or care!). But the next evening, I came home from work, and Toby was having dinner in a high chair, and he looked at me and smiled and shouted and did some jazz hands. He saw me! It was amazing. I felt like we were really connected. Honestly, for the first time, he felt not only my child but also my son.
“I’m dreaming about the future with Toby.”
I used to think of growing things about Toby: listening to music, taking him on a boat, teaching him how to cook a beautiful omelet. My dad and I would spend hours each night planning my future, and I liked the idea of being on the other side of that conversation. I also look forward to giving lessons that my father did not give me – such as how to ask people.
“I’m ready for something else.”
With your first child, it’s really hard. Every day is amazing. But now I know I can do it. Raising a child for the first 12 months of their life is a skill I have now. Having a second child? Believe it or not, I can’t wait. 🙂
If possible, try to have dinner with your parents overnight. Like taking a morning trip, eating dinner gives you the opportunity to enjoy a meal together and talk about your day. A birthday gift for dad from daughter or son can make him happier.
When your parents ask you about your date, don’t be quick to dismiss it. For example, if they ask you what the school was like that day, don’t just say, “OK”. Give them details of why it is good or bad. Talk about something exciting you read or about a funny thing that happened during the day.
Tell them you love and value them. This is a very small step but it can mean a lot to your parents. Simply telling them that they are important to you and that you appreciate all that they do for you can have a profound effect on them. You can find a recipe for anything you would like to cook online. Making an effort to cook can be a great help to your parents. You may need to get help from your parent to get everything you need, but they will likely be happy to help you get what you need.
Start by writing down all the ingredients and ingredients you will need. If you are not able to get to the store to pick up ingredients alone, ask your parent to call you. If you need more help with your recipe, try searching YouTube videos related to what you would like to cook.