The last time I wrote about my plight of being a new dad, mythical wife and I were staying overnight at the NICU as the last milestone necessary in order for our kid to come home. That being said, baby is now home where she belongs, and thus begins (really) the rest of our lives, and the start of our lives as a family unit.
Honestly, it hasn’t been as tragically difficult as people love to expound that new parenthood really is. Sure, we’re operating on the NICU’s general schedule of feeding every three hours, so that our premature child can gain weight as efficiently as possible, but I imagine this is something that my body will get used to as time progresses, not to mention the fact that as baby grows and develops, she won’t need to be on this kind of timeline forever either.
So mythical wife and I get up at 2:30 and 5:30 in the morning each night to feed our baby, and slog our way through the motions in the AM hours. I get up at around 7:45 to make sure that I’m logged into work on time, but then I go ahead and take care of the feedings at 8:30 and 11:30, while I frantically do my best to do work-related things in between. Yes, I am still working from home, and it is truly an unprecedented brave new world we’re all operating in these days, and I often have anxious thoughts about the future of my own career, as I wonder if the longer all of this goes on, the more expendable my team’s work will become perceived.
Work aside, being a dad is pretty great. I don’t mind the dirty diapers and the demanding schedule, because I have a beautiful daughter that I enjoy just sitting and watching sometimes, wondering how her features are going to grow in, and despite the fact that she had more of my features at birth, I can see glimpses of lighter brown hair, and there’s no mistaking the large eyes she sprouts whenever they open up, that definitely come from mommy and not from me.
I love changing her outfits and seeing her in the large varieties of adorable baby clothing that we’ve purchased in advance as well as inherited from the generations of cousins ahead of me. I’ve been peed on and I’ve witnessed various catastrophes of soiled diapers, but they’re no big deal at all. I refuse to be a stereotypical dad that can’t handle changing diapers or think I’m too macho or manly to do things that people tend to associate as being “mom work.”
In fact, it kind of makes me a little sad whenever people have given me praise over my indifference and enthusiasm for doing things like changing diapers or bathing my kid. It speaks volumes of the amount of men out there that don’t do the littlest things that instill love and affection for their children, and if there’s one thing that I want to accomplish as a dad, it’s that my kid grows up knowing that I love her more than anything, from the big things to the little ones.
Eventually, we’ll hopefully get to a comfortable rhythm as it comes to living with a child in tow now. As much as I want to use this additional time at home to catch up on cleaning and making the house as great as possible for our kid, or I want to be a lazy slug and watch television and movies in between feedings, I just don’t feel like I ever have the time. Three hours sounds like a lot of time, but given how much of it I spend cleaning bottles or pump parts or straightening things out for the next feeding/changing session, then I feel like I don’t have enough contiguous time to do anything productive or enjoyable, so I usually dick around on my phone or watch YouTube videos instead.