Five Week Reflections

So I’ve been at this fatherhood thing for about five weeks now, and am getting pretty used to the routines. I’m working on mastering cooking with one arm, and am gradually figuring out positions I can sit with her without my legs falling asleep, curled under me as I watch the newest biggest sporting event or reality show. Both Kristie and I have given up the bedroom rocking chair for mid-night feedings in favor of the bed…I have gotten pretty good at giving her a bottle in sleeping position. She doesn’t seem to mind sharing my pillow. Though I don’t see her during the day, and haven’t had many responsibilities (Kristie does NOT like giving her up), I’m confident in my bathing, feeding and swaddling skills at this point.

So what’s new with Blanche? She’s starting to wake up more and more; for the first month we got to see her eyes only for a couple hours in the evening. Now she spends much of her day gazing, and we imagine that her stares are into our eyes and not just fixated on a random, unfocused spot. The things she loves more than anything else are to wave her arms and suck on anything that approaches her mouth. Often times her waving limbs dislodge the pacifier that fulfilled the latter need. She’s been much more vocal in the last ten days, but rarely goes on for more than a couple minutes. Usually, the fixes are easy–a tight swaddle, a new position, something to suck on, a clean diaper. Typical baby comforts. If none of those work, mom takes her.

She is now holding her head up with good regularity. It still wobbles a bit, but she seems to enjoy being able to look out and up, instead of being forced to look down at her slumped body. She’s still so tiny, though, so I thought it would be fun to see what she looked like in her Bumbo chair. She did great! But didn’t love it.

Her belly, in comparison to the rest of her, is HUGE. We knew this when she was still on the inside; her stomach measured much larger than the rest of her body. It’s especially evident when you change her. Her legs are tiny, and her belly seemingly explodes in all directions at the top of her diaper. It’s very strange when you imagine how a grown person might look with that body type, but probably shouldn’t shock me that much. Her organs have to go somewhere, and we must not forget that for the first year at my preschool, all the kids called me “Big Belly.”

So what have been the best things about being a dad? What have been the hardest? The most surprising? Very hard to say; hate to disappoint. I love the faces she makes. I love it when she grunts and moans, lets out a little toot, then sighs audibly. I love how she stiffens her limbs when you hold her out. I love seeing friends and family meet her for the first time. I love how cautiously everyone passes her around. I love the cuddle time I get with her on my pillow at the end of the night. I love the way she squints and scrunches her face when Atlas licks her.

The hardest things are less tangible. I sometimes feel like I should love and appreciate her more, and do feel guilty at times when I’m not jumping out of my chair to hold her. She is the most precious thing in our lives, and how dare I not want to spend every waking second with her in my arms! I’m trying to give myself a break. Truthfully, other than being beautiful and irreplaceable, she is not yet capable of giving me genuine love or appreciation. I can’t wait for that day, when I know she knows, needs and loves me. I know that day is drawing near: she undoubtedly knows our voices, our touch, and soon she’ll be able to communicate that to us. Or maybe it’s my inability to interpret what communication she’s already giving. Either way, it’s difficult–not because I’m frustrated at her–she’s a baby! Frustrating because of the anticipation of a stronger two-way love.

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2 Responses to “Five Week Reflections”

  1. Deb Says:

    So sweet! Her face and your writing about her.

  2. mollyinminn Says:

    She’s adorable. And I, for one, still have a kid who fondly remembers calling you “Big Belly.” (A nickname, for the record, that I never really understood.)

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