15 Things I Learned in the First Two Weeks of Fatherhood

Two weeks of fatherhood down, fifteen lessons and counting.

  1. The female body is amazing.
    Watching my wife, Emily, go through the ups and downs of pregnancy and then within less than a couple hours meet a brand new human…wow.
  2. Peers that told me that I can kiss sleep goodbye were spot on.
    I haven’t gotten more than about three hours of consecutive sleep since a two weeks ago Friday. Not only that, but most of the time it’s more like thirty minutes or an hour here followed by another, an hour later.
  3. I can do a lot of things with only one hand.
    With baby cradled on one side I have learned to do dishes, clean breastpump apparatuses, make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (this is harder than you think since you have to open lids), feed our various animals, and do laundry. I’m sure more one-handed skills will come.
  4. No matter how tired or burnt out, Lucky Charms heal all.
    I don’t usually eat junk cereal, but at a certain point you need to eat your emotions.
  5. Trying to take time off as an entrepreneur is difficult.
    I tried to prepare for leaving my business for two weeks, but with a big fall launch on the horizon, it just seemed that I was needed more than anticipated. It’s times like this that I look at the grass on the other side for folks in corporate or establishment jobs that can take “PTO” and turn off their email, phone, and computers for their paternity leave.
  6. Babies make you present.
    Their eyes are magnetic. Once you stare into the gaze…all bets are off. This is also true when something isn’t quite right and they let out a banshee cry: not a whole lot of room to think about next week when you need to figure out if it’s poop in the pants, gas, over stimulated, tired, or the myriad of other reasons that babies aren’t happy.
  7. Don’t fret the small stuff.
    Did the cats just knock over a vase? No problem. Is my kitchen a disaster? No problem. Do I have poop all over me from a “blowout”? Ain’t no thing.
  8. I’m closer with my wife.
    I imagine that having a baby with your significant other amplifies whatever kind of relationship you have. If you are close and strong, then it will make you closer and stronger. If you have issues…well, I don’t know what that would be like but I imagine they would get a lot worse due to the stress and lack of sleep. Luckily I’m insanely in love with Emily and that has only deepened since Phoenix arrived.
  9. The internet is wrong dangerous.
    No matter what the situation is with parenting, ask Google and there is almost always at least one website on page one that insists whatever you are looking up is the worst possible thing you can do for your kid. Pacifier? Check. Bottle feed before six weeks? Check. Taking baby for walks in a stroller? Check. Using a crib? Check. Co-sleeping? Check. I decided that instead of looking anything up on the internet, I’d just keep a list of things that I wanted answers to and then each doctor visit, I would ask. Surprisingly most of the things that the internet goes bonkers over got a “meh” response from our pediatrician. In terms of reading baby stuff online, it would be nice if everything wasn’t written in a way that causes the level of anxiety and uncertainty that it does. If you want to see some crazies going at it, just read the comments on some of the “expert” mommy blog websites…sheesh!
  10. There is a baby product for everything.
    As an entrepreneur, it’s been an eye opening adventure to experience the myriad of baby products on the market. Just the volume of companies and products that exist is overwhelming. I had to read about twenty articles before I felt like I wasn’t going to completely screw up the car seat purchasing decision let alone the type and speed of bottle feeding nipples.
  11. People love babies.
    When we go walking around our neighborhood or a simple stroll to the store means that random strangers have an opportunity to say “hi”. The cashier at Tattered Cover came around and informed Phoenix that when he was sixteen, he should come to the store and hang out. Pretty adorable. In this “connected” day and age where everyone is constantly staring at a smartphone, having a baby provides a quick slap in the face for people to open up and reach out in RL. Even if it’s just to get a squeeze of our babies tiny little toes.
  12. Finally get to see the world through my parents’ eyes.
    This has probably been one of the weirdest sensations yet. My imagination will run down a tangent and I will think, “man, I really don’t know what I’m doing right now…” and then think, “wait a minute! I bet my parents didn’t know what they were doing either!” It’s a funny thought that a belief that our parents are all knowing and all powerful is kind of just a mental construct. But then again, when our baby is literally the size of my fore arm and we, as parents, take complete care of them…it’s hard not to imagine as a kid that those taking care of you aren’t all knowing and all powerful. Imagine being an adult and a human that was twenty times your size just reached down and scooped you up and planted you on a giant breast? Yeah, I would think that person was all powerful too.
  13. I am excited to get childishly creative.
    Growing into an adult takes some of your imaginative edge off. I remember sitting for hours as a kid playing with Legos or action figures. Somewhere along the lines that became either not as fun or not appropriate. Well, I’m ready for it again. I’m ready to build things that are meant to just nurture my, and my boy’s, imagination and creativity. There are so many things out there these days with 3D printers, Bits, Raspberry Pi, and so on that must just be a firestorm for a child to manipulate. As an adult, I can’t wait.
  14. We have amazing family and friends.
    The love has been pouring in. Between family throwing in a helping hand or friends stopping in to gaze at the puddle of joy, it’s truly been a blessing to be a part of such an amazing community. These days I enjoy the company of those I love. We don’t have to be doing anything. Just hanging out, checking out the baby, talking about life, it’s enough. More than enough.
  15. It’s awesome to be a Dad.
    I still haven’t fully grown into the label, “Dad.” When I hear it, I still get a glimpse of my father and not myself. Maybe that will change…or maybe I will always think of my Dad. My Dad was amazing, so that’s not a bad thing.

I have learned more in a couple of weeks about life and love than probably in my whole life put together. I never knew how much bigger my heart could grow.

Something tells me these fifteen lessons are only the beginning…

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