Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The New Normal


Before our son was born, Mrs. Blackwell and I were creatures of habit    at least from Monday through Friday. 

We'd wake these mornings between 6 a.m. and 6:30; one of us would get breakfast going, nothing fancy, often just an egg on an English Muffin, maybe some fruit. If one of us happened to wake earlier, we'd occasionally surprise the other with breakfast in bed. 

Then, we'd go about getting ready for work and be out the door together at roughly 8 a.m. 

This was our routine for a couple of years and it continued right up until our little guy arrived. Now, our routine consists of catering to the whims of a single-minded creature concerned only with itself  and willing to adopt any fascist, dictatorial tactic necessary to accomplish its objectives. (I keeed! I keeed!)

Which is to say, when he's hungry, we feed our baby. When he's tired, we put him to sleep. When he needs his diaper changed, we change it. When he cries, we find out why and fix the issue. When he's happy, we stop everything and try to enjoy the moment. 

We've got him on a schedule that is    slowly    tightening up. Nonetheless, English muffins and eggs have been replaced with microwaved oatmeal.

This is the new routine. Trying to fit our lives in between the sometimes random and frequently arbitrary whims of an infant. 

When described like that, parenting sounds unbearable. It's not. 

Even though we've been sleep-deprived, soiled and pushed to the brink, Mrs. Blackwell and I are laughing a lot. 

Despite the fact that they can't talk, can't walk and are pretty much boorish in their manner, it turns out, infants can occasionally be fun. 

For instance, in our home my wife takes some joy in the fact that I am the only one our son pees on with regularity. For now, I'll disregard the implications of this and simply have a chuckle that, once Huggies are out of the picture, it's me he chooses to mark his territory on. 

(Perhaps this is the universe's way of making up for the fact that I frequently don't get stuck  changing fully-loaded diapers.) 

We also laugh regularly at our son's physical attributes. Like every parent we think our baby is beautiful. However, Mrs. Blackwell and I have been gifted with a kid possessing particularly distinct facial expressions, the bulk of them falling somewhere between angry and outraged, each of them far from beautiful.

To be fair and at least partially objective, the baby can't always be beautiful, particularly when he's angry. And when our little guy is angry, whew boy, he is ANGRY.  

"I can't decide whether to rest my hand on my chin and
contemplate life or yell at you.  So, I'll attempt both." 

And, many times I find it funny. Sorry if that makes me bad or insensitive. But, if he's got a clean diaper, he's fed and burped but otherwise inconsolable, I sometimes laugh at his furor, particularly if he's making faces I find funny. 

I've maintained since he was born that our son looks like a different baby when he's really wailing. This only ads to the humor. 

When he's really tuned up and angry, he gets lines on his forehead and a crease on the bridge of his nose. To top it off he takes on the color of a concord grape. 

All this, coupled with his round, bald head leaves him looking more like an enraged old man than a baby. (I like to picture him wearing that same expression but dressed in an old, tweed suit, rudely interrupting town council meetings.)  

Despite the lack of photographic evidence, he's smiling a lot. (For whatever reason, he's stingy with the grins when the camera comes out.) 

And, while I rush around to get ready for work I will stop dead in my tracks whenever my wife tells me to look at him. Invariably, it's always worth it. A smiling baby? Pretty tough to beat that.

His range of noises is broadening too. Instead of his noises either being the sucking sound of a bottle, or a blaring wail, he's starting to make cute baby noises    cooing and excited little yelps. 

If we can enjoy the cries and the tantrums at this stage, I like to think it bodes well for how much we'll enjoy the sounds we've yet to hear, like laughter and a speaking voice.

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