My first Father’s Day weekend.

Small hand – Big hand (If this image doesn’t show up, blame Instagram)

Father’s Day weekend has come and passed; almost perfectly timed with William becoming a social creature. I will admit that before he became social, it was a bit odd taking care of him. He was pretty much a cat that can’t walk around – ie. eat, sleep, poop, repeat. My job was to clean up the poop.

I could try/pretend to play with him and such, but he would barely respond in any way that could be considered social. So, those moments were more me playing with myself.

A little while ago (couple of weeks I think), he started to smile back at mommy and me. the first time that happened, it was pretty amazing. Whether it was an instinctual or automatic response on his part, it still felt like he was finally showing how much he cared and appreciated the efforts we were putting into making him happy and comfortable. He ceased being a cat, and started being more human.

This week, almost as a father’s day gift, he started to talk back in response to me, hold my hand and pull me near when he was lonely, and the very best, squeeze when I held him. I would bet that many people with children would understand this. There is no greater feeling. I wish I could explain it fully.

I can only explain it from my Catholic faith – it feels like pure unadulterated love. The type of love that is described in catechism to young people, who are probably too inexperienced to really understand it. He is no longer needing you there, he is wanting you there. He doesn’t even really know why.

This continued to peak during this Father’s Day weekend; specifically just after Suzanne gave me William’s gift, a cute t-shirt that said “daddy is my hero.” Now, you must admit that was more of a gift for himself, but I can excuse it since he’s still young and learning things like “gift-giving.” I smiled, give him a peck on the forehead and moved on with my day.

Then he started to cry…

and cry…

and cry…

A strange new cry, almost inconsolable. He wasn’t hungry, didn’t have a wet diaper, and wasn’t dealing with the common gas pain; he didn’t want his swing, or his playmat, even a bath didn’t help.

No, he was just crying… a lot.

“I want daddy hugs.” (Again, if no show, blame instagram)

Then I had a strange idea – I sat down on the couch and held him in my arms without walking around or bouncing him. Almost immediately, he went quiet and, even stranger, started to squeeze my sides and closed his eyes. This may seem boring and common, but this was something he had never done before.

In a short period of time, he seemed to have fallen asleep, and I thought, “great! He’s asleep, I can put him down and help mommy with cleaning the house.”

Nope. The moment I put him aside, he immediately returned to inconsolable unhappiness. so, I would pick him up again, he would squeeze and then fall asleep.

After a half-hour or so of this (passed by playing Candy Crush and reading Zite on my iPhone.), I wanted to actually get some work done. So, I asked mommy to come and take him, foolishly thinking it was just the warmth of my body calming him down.


Inconsolable sadness.

He clearly wanted his daddy for Father’s Day.

This could all be coincidence and just lucky timing, but I wonder, deep down, if perhaps he just knew somehow. It was Daddy’s Day, Daddy is his hero, so he wanted to spend as much time with me as possible.

And to be honest, I enjoyed every moment of it.


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2 things I’ve learned from having a newborn for a month.

So, William is now officially just over one month old. As a new father, I’m learning some very surprising and useful tools for dealing with him and maintaining sanity. Most of which revolving around that short period in the evening when either Suzanne or I want to get some rest. Overall, the kid seems to be healthy and happy, so I think the first month has been successful. He is starting to look at people more and respond to conversation which is really nice because before that he always seemed totally lost to everything.

I was thinking the best way to lay out this month is to put down the 2 main things I’ve learned to share with other possibly new fathers coming down the pipe so they don’t make the same mistakes. Pretty simple stuff that you don’t realize really matters until you need it.

#1 It’s not safe to go to sleep naked

While sleeping naked wasn’t a common thing for me, every once in a while I’d come out of a bath, be comfortable and just crash. I have discovered that this really isn’t wise once you have a kid kicking around, and not just for when they grow up. You may be needed at a moment’s notice to spring into action, and unless you have access to a self-dressing Iron Man suit, you are going to end up having to work (and run around your living quarters) in the buff. As a father, your duty is to take action when the mother is tired and exhausted and just needs a few more minutes rest before she has to breastfeed again. This means keeping the baby quiet while you address all of his needs.

Before you have a newborn, this isn’t entirely a problem. Once you get a moment to breathe, you can throw on some pants or a shirt and be off to work. However, you don’t get the luxury of taking your eye off a bawling newborn for that long. If the baby cries too much or too loudly, you will have failed at your primary task, ensuring mother gets a few more winks of sleep. If the baby is calm, but on a changing table, you really can’t take your eyes off of them for a moment. Thus, if you are naked when you start, it’s quite likely you’ll be naked while carrying a crying, wet, and possibly random-liquid spraying baby with you while trying to desperately calm him down.

All of which could’ve been avoided if you threw something comfortable on before you went to bed.

#2 At night, go pee before you change the baby

Do you know what almost always takes longer than you’d expect… changing a baby’s diaper. It’s not that it’s complicated. It’s actually one of the easier tasks I have to do day-to-day. However, there are always surprises.

Everyone knows about the sudden pee fountain, which is easy enough to avoid and usually just involves another diaper change. This, however, is the least of your concerns. The ones I’ve cataloged so far include:

  • the baby volcano, where just as you get a new diaper in place and ready to tie up, baby decides to take the longest and most bubbly poop ever. So named for the resemblance to the science volcano from when you are a kid and the fear you have that it will either burst or spill over the edges of the new diaper.
  • the poonami (I’ve stolen this from a friend), where baby suddenly decides to expel liquids from all orifices at the same time. Ensuring a fun and extensive clean up time as baby giggles at you.
  • the super-duper-pooper, baby poops just enough to ensure you need to change his diaper, waits for you to complete the change when, *Bblllrrprpr*, he poops just enough to require yet another change. Wash-Rinse-Repeat for about 3-5 runs.

Now, imagine having to pee really badly through all of this, and knowing you can’t actually go pee until the baby is properly dressed and back in the crib safely. As well, having the weird impetus to pee emphasized by the fact that baby has no problem at all peeing… everywhere.

I realize that both of these revolve around baby, nighttimes and bodily functions. However, for the first month, that’s really where 90% of your memorable interactions with baby come from. During the day, when you are sane, clothed, and awake, the interactions are fairly straightforward. Baby will eat, sleep and poop, almost like a cat. Your job is to clean up the poop and ensure he keeps on eating.

At night, unlike a cat, baby will continue these operations and still require you to be on the ball, being ready for this is key for any new father, and having read very very many father books I never saw these two lessons listed out.

They are important.

Trust me.

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