The Saratoga Sun -

This poop just got real


“Fatherhood is great because you can ruin someone from scratch.”

~ Jon Stewart

So, as a new parent it seems like the cliches, advice and anecdotes are coming at me as fast as an F-350 rolling down the Snowy Range with no brakes.

Me being me, I used a little of my down time in between changing diapers and doing laundry to see what folks on the interwebs have to say about all of the things new parents hear. It turns out I am not alone.

Here’s my take on being one week into parenting and what the gen pop has to offer me in the way of advice.

You will love your baby instantly

Not that I didn’t think this would happen, but I am still amazed at how true it is. At about 2:35 a.m. on Oct. 13, I was handed a crusty, purple, wrinkly 6lb 1oz naked human being and my heart split wide open. She was the most beautiful, perfect, infallible and exceptional human being I have ever seen.

I also instantly flashed forward to her teenage years and had the urge to oil up the shotgun, put on my Key bib overalls and put the rocker on the porch next to the front door.

Be very aware all you infant and toddler boys out there, my roots are in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and I learned how to take care of ne’er do well boys.

You see the world

differently forever after

This is one that I hope is true.

In the last week I seem to have shed another layer of pessimism. Maybe the world isn’t going to hell in a hand basket, or at least I hope it won’t for my daughter’s sake.

I have also managed to shake off some of my deeply held fears that my less than ideal genes and character defects would mean certain physiological, moral and social doom for my child. Even though I have been in acceptance that development of my little girl is out of my control for the last six months or so, it is truly comforting to bask in her healthy perfectly formed glow.

It’s really hard at first

but gets easier

Let me make clear what I am about to say is from my perspective only and my wife probably won’t agree. Maybe I need to wait for the other shoe to drop, but I’m not finding the responsibilities of parenthood that hard so far.

Tiring yes, hard no.

At this point, I love every moment I get to spend with my little Avery. As I can’t produce mother’s milk, I don’t get to feed her as often as I would like, but I do get the chance to feed her a bottle of pumped milk or supplement feeding with a little formula sometimes. I truly cannot convey the sense of purpose and fulfillment I get from being able to provide nourishment for my child. Let’s just say the word “awesome” could be correctly used to sum up the experience.

If this is hard and it is going to get easier, that is just a bonus for me.

My skepticism creeps in here as I remember my teenage years and the “rebel without a cause” angst I put my parents through.

There is no

owner’s manual

Obvious, but still true. I’m part of the subset of the population that actually reads owner’s manuals and instructions. I like to have a plan for how something goes together before I start and I like to know what all the buttons on the new gadget do. It’s just my nature.

With little Avery I am having to wing it. Sometimes it works great and sometimes I fail. Sometimes, as I am professing to my wife what worked to quiet our baby girl the night before, Avery decides my tactics are outdated and let’s me know with her own impersonation of an air raid siren.

“Oh swing, why were you so perfect yesterday but fail me today,” I ask myself.

On the bright side, it turns out that I am a whiz at diaper changing and can swaddle our “little burrito” with great ease. It probably helps that these two tasks can be performed with repetition and precision and can be analyzed for potential improvements in proficiency and efficiency.

All Babies Do is Eat, Sleep and Poop

I have been guilty of espousing similar sentiments to the one above, but I am learning to hate this statement.

My little Avery does so much more than eat sleep and poop, although those three things have probably taken up the majority of her week outside the womb thus far.

She gurgles, coos, smiles, stares (I love having staring contests with her), frowns, gives the “stink eye”, hiccups, sneezes, snuggles, kicks, punches and screams.

She also dreams, and I am left wondering, especially in her first two days on this earth, what does a day-old baby dream about? Can anyone tell me this?

You won’t even remember this in a few years

I really hope this isn’t true. I am coming into this parenthood thing a little later than most, I will be 42 in a few weeks. Even with those extra years behind me, this last week has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I don’t want to forget this. Plain and simple.

Being a parent is

the most rewarding job

in the world

’Nuff said.

I’ll get off my little “being a parent is the best thing ever” soapbox now and get back to reporting on events that affect the Valley and people other than myself now.

Thanks to everyone who has stopped me on the street, at Valley Foods, the Kum and Go or in the post office to ask about little Avery and momma. Thanks to all of the friends and neighbors who have stopped by to check on us and bring meaningful gifts of books, clothes and food. Thanks again to everyone who has been a part of this process with me and Jillian.

It’s a brave new world and I’m happy about that.


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