Thursday, April 5, 2012

He's Here, Now What?

As of yesterday, Mrs. Blackwell is 33 weeks pregnant. 

Our little guy could be here, quite literally, any day now. 

If only his mother had used warm baby wipes.
When he arrives he'll be surrounded by a loving and sleep-deprived family. Of that I am certain. He's already got piles of baby stuff waiting for him so, he'll want for nothing important (except the baby wipe warmer. Sorry advocates, we just couldn't bring ourselves to do it. This boy might have one cold bottom but perhaps that will lead him to be a strong, stoic man who favors cold showers and doesn't cry).

We've done some reading about parenting. We've been to the baby classes. We talk to other parents. We've tried to inform ourselves. For all of her prattling about how disorganized she is and, despite the fact that it often looks like a filing cabinet blew up inside her car, Mrs. Blackwell does in fact like to be prepared. 

At this point it's my feeling that the parents we will be, we already are. Our priorities, preferences, morals, ethics, values and whatever else it is we're bringing to the table as parents are there. I'm sure we'll learn more by talking with our folks and other parents but, for the most important things, the dye is cast.

I've been living with and guided by these important things for the past three decades (Mrs. Blackwell for just two plus decades    a note she'd want me to make I'm sure).

I'm looking forward to teaching my son to read, teaching him to skate (on ice, not roller skates. In fact, never, ever, ever roller skates), to taking him to the movies and, mostly, I'm looking forward to being goofy and making him laugh. 

Trouble is, none of this happens for a while. I don't think they make hockey skates for three-month olds and I'm pretty sure that my impersonation of a vaudevillian real estate salesman will fly under his radar for the first couple of years.

I talked with a new dad a few months back and learned a bit about the very practical concerns of the first few months being a new dad.

This guy, who happens to be a very funny, clever fellow was particularly humorous while discussing the arrival of his newborn.

First there was the nurse quickly and unceremoniously handing his just-born son to him. Immediately, he did what I've heard many new parents do: panic.

Crippling fear of dropping the baby or any other disastrous scenario you wish to insert seems to befall a lot of dads the first time they hold their newborn. This new dad said his knees grew a little weak and he was petrified at the very practical responsibility before him: hold on to the baby or else. 

And that was just at the hospital. 

Once these new parents got home with their little boy, his dad looked at his son and wondered "Ok. Now what?"

He's here, but what do you do with him?

There is no playbook. There no instruction manual for this moment. It is what it is.
Discomfort = the price you pay for cute. Sorry buddy.

From what I've seen, newborns keep their parents plenty busy. As we've chronicled here previously, sleep deprivation is a big concern but, lack of things to do with the baby is not.

I know Mrs. Blackwell will find plenty of ways to keep herself busy with the baby. (Note to my unborn son: I hope you like getting dressed up like a new doll buddy, 'cause it's about to happen to you in a big, big way.)

As for me, I'm sure I'll take part in the dress-up too (we've got a post-bathing, shark outfit for him so he'll be sporting big, white terry-cloth teeth around his face which is pretty sweet).

My plan for now, is to take this as it comes. Address the very real practical concerns, feedings, diapers and general welfare, enjoy the quiet moments and the ride of watching a personality emerge.

In the meantime, I'll be practicing my 19th century real estate sales pitch.

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