A Year to the day of my 16 Days In Fatherhood Post…Here is what I learned in my first year…
Your “Gangster” Evaporates…completely
One of the first lessons of fatherhood is that any ‘gangster’ you had left in you quickly evaporates the minute you hold your child in your arms. If there was still a sliver left after that, the first time she looks at you lovingly you’re done.
People make shit up…all the time.
Not one parent can confidently say they know what the hell they are doing. Most of us are throwing stuff at the wall and seeing if it sticks. I’ve heard so many home remedies about what was done in the 1800s — I’m sorry we have electricity now, B. I’m not doing it. After MiMo eats, I pull her out of her high chair and shake her like maracas to get the food off of her. Then I call Pru over to eat what hit the ground. Is that mature parenting, probably not. If anyone says they know they are doing, run, run far and run fast. In modern fatherhood we have tools like google and asking our Facebook ‘friends’ for suggestions.
Babies literally try to kill themselves all day
I spend 70% of my time preventing MiMo from plunging to certain death from falling from beds, couches, and tripping over objects clearly in her way. The other 30% I try to prevent her from ingesting paper, plastic, leaves (when fall hit, leaves are EVERYWHERE) you name it. She’s already tried to eat one of the pine needles from the ARTIFICIAL Christmas tree. It’s like, “help me, help you”. While her food is trash, Pru’s dog food is a delicacy in her eyes.
Feeding Time Is The New Workout Plan
When they are babies, for the most part, it’s easy. Get a bottle, warm up bottle, stick bottle in the bottomless pit aka your baby. But once solid foods are introduced, oy vey. You have to use these midget spoons and scoop out bite size portions of baby food and coerce the dictator to eat. You have to make funny noises, wave your hands, do funny dances and make weird face — at the same time for ONE spoonful of food. Feeding time becomes a Sean T video fast. Then you have the night where nothing is good enough. And you realize she’s not old enough for you to pull the “well starve then” move your parents pulled on you. That’s when you start to negotiate with the terrorist and then God. You remember how you used to have those hangovers and beg God that if he spared you you would never drink again. Yeah you have that same conversation and tell God if your baby eats you will never *insert your vice* again. Just like when you were a raging alcoholic in college — you don’t hold up your end of the bargain.
*Rhianna Voice* Poop, Poop, Poop, Poop
That’s all you talk about. Is the poop loose, is it solid? Is she pooping regular? How many times did she poop? Is she pooping enough? When was the last time she pooped? What color is the poop? “Ok Google, what does it mean when the poop is yellow?” Because who doesn’t love talking about poop? It just never ends. The first time she ate corn and I changed her diaper — I looked up to the heavens and screamed ” Whhhhhhyyyyyy?” while she stared at me laughing.
You have to trust your baby with strangers
If your child is one of the 33% of all children who have to be cared for by a non-relative then good luck. For you other lucky bastards — scroll down. You have to find a place or a caregiver to have the same level of care that you would provide to your child if necessary. You would think that would be easy because who wants to hurt a baby? Seemingly, EVERYONE. You have idiots who want to start a baby fight club, children getting molested, the list can go on. It is hard to trust a stranger with your progeny. It’s either that or one of you have stay at home. Neither of us are about that stay at home life. On top of all that you have to pay another mortgage just for your child to be cared for in a safe environment. And to learn some stuff too!
There is no such thing as a 50/50 Parent split
Once you realize that, fatherhood becomes exponentially easier. I was guilty of it, I was score keeping AF. It comes to a point where you realize that you’re raising a human life and everytime you throw the human element into it, nothing is ever cut that clean. Deal with it and move TF on. That’s not to say I don’t backslide sometimes but hey I’m human…
Father Friends Are Essentials
You need to have friends in your circle that are fathers. It’s important that you have someone to bounce situations off of that can really identify with your situation. Once you become a father and you’re married or in a serious committed relationship — your relationship with your wife/SO changes. The changes can manifest differently by relationship but it creates a different dynamic. You relate to your wife differently and things you may have decided were important become unimportant because you consider the impact it may have on your child. You have to embrace the difference and you need someone who has recently went through that transition. While older fathers can offer some sage wisdom they can’t offer the nuance that newer fathers have from fighting those wars more recently. (SN: Also find a father support group rather virtual or real life…it helps, alot)
“This is my child not yours…”
Is the most empowering statement ever.
Your child is the biggest cockblocker ever.
Your wife’s overly talkative and judgemental friend has nothing on your little crumbsnatcher. You start to look gazingly into your wife’s eyes thinking something is about to jump off and the little one cries. You wait and you think its just a wimper, she will be fine. Next you hear a full on cry. You think to yourself, no worries, quick rock and sway and I’m back. Nope. Enter projectile vomit all over you. ….And scene!
Where did she go?
Babies are fast. I’m talking Barry Allen mixed with Pietro fast. If Usain Bolt and Michael Johnson had a love child that was injecting steroids from Balco Labs and running from the police type fast. That’s what you deal with when you have an experienced crawler or a walker testing their limits. You blink and they are across the room. There was a time where I swore MiMo was using instant transmission to get to the other side of the room.
Remember These Times
Pictures are one thing but write/type some things. I’ve looked back on past writings and remember exactly where I was at that point. I’ve recorded some videos and sent them to Mila’s email address for her to uncover when she gets older. Our memory will fail us eventually — this will help paint a full picture of the important moments.
Babies are shady.
MiMo gives me a side eye daily. I’ll start singing a song when we are on our way to school/work and she will look at me in her mirror with eyes that burns through my soul. She will leave the room when she tires of me talking or playing with her. At 1 she already has 0 Fs to give. Adolescence is going to be fun.