For better or more likely worse, I've realized that my enthusiasm for our kids in their newborn states - was well, not as enduring as I think it should have been. I know. Go ahead and gasp. The shame. The horror. It's my dirty little secret of fatherhood. (Eeeek, re-reading that last paragraph makes me worry I'm not articulating well. Let's try that again.)
After the initial excitement of the kids' arrivals, the routine of feeding, burping, diaper changing, clothes changing, sleep, etc. grinded on me sporadically. The Groundhog Day moments wore me down at irregular times. And I'm only home for a portion of the day to parent.
I confess with some shame that there were times where I manufactured excuses to leave the room, abandon Gigi and/or Gus with their mom, in order to escape temporarily to recharge and regain my sanity. Perhaps it's the sleep deprivation, the disappearance of a social life, the paranoid pressure to rush home from work as soon as possible to avoid the "where are you" phone call, the bouts of monotony, or a combination of all. Maybe it's just the forced transition of becoming less selfish. Who knows?
With Greta, everything was gravy once she began sleeping 6 and then 8 hours a night. With Gus, I thought, he just needs to turn that sleep corner and everything will stabilize.
Now don't get me wrong. The experiences of becoming acquainted with my two children in their newborn states provided many moments of utter happiness. Greta was our first, so of course the newness of parenthood was invigorating in its own right. And with Gus, after all that he endured, I shouldn't complain about anything for even a millisecond. But I'm an American. I want it all the easiest and fastest way possible. And I'm the guy who complained of a shoulder cramp while holding THE WIFE's leg during Greta's delivery.
Why am I writing all of this? Because G-man has turned that corner from newborn to baby. Forget about not needing oxygen or calorie-enriched formula, he's sleeping (knock on wood - please no jinx) eight hours a night. My boy holds his head up by himself. His little legs kick crazily when his sister dances carefreely around him. And my absolute favorite development - he smiles and laughs if you chat gently or make ridiculous faces at him. August, simply said, continues to impress all of his loved ones after a matter of just minutes together.
Take last week for instance. One night, I somehow forgot to put a diaper on Greta before putting her to bed. She woke up soaked at 2 a.m. Mama cleaned up our girl and the bed. Of course, Greta wouldn't go back down, so I took over guilt ridden trying at 3 o'clock attempting unsuccessfully to induce her sleep until 5:30 a.m. came and I showered for work.
Three nights later, the fire alarms' low battery beeps began at 3 a.m. without stopping until 11 a.m. Standing in my underwear on a coffee table, after apparently installing dead replacement batteries, I made a 4 a.m. drive to Mobil for 9-volts cursing the entire time. Long story short, I disconnected the culprit from the electric supply only to discover hours later that it still somehow had enough power to continue beeping. If only I had thrown that alarm out the window, then Greta, THE WIFE, and I may have been able to go back to sleep.
On both of these awful nights, though, G-man snoozed away peacefully until he woke up at his normal time, smiling as soon as his gentle cries were answered. His happy face was contagious. How could I not grin back at him?
Now I realize it was never my kids who needed to turn any corner. It was me and I'm definitely there. And as for Gus - really, he's still doing great.