One of the first things I've noticed as a new father is how sensitive I am again to time passing. After graduating college, my has not been measured in discrete chunks of time like semesters, nor have there been regular events like summer/fall/spring breaks to look forward to as a break in my schedule. Time was very continuous, between work and the occasional trip or vacation to punctuate the year. Since we learned we'd be parents, its been back to counting down the days to one milestone or another. First, it was the trimesters during pregnancy, then the agonizingly slow march to the actual delivery day. Now, every month has its little milestones. By the second month, Nicholas was able to follow objects, and recognize voices. In the third month, he's learned to squeal in delight, "converse" and respond with baby babble. Soon, he should be sleeping through the night, which will be a more a welcome relief for Staci than for me, believe it or not.
Besides these developmental milestones, clearly the biggest change is that his health and welfare are our foremost concern. While I may want to squeeze in an hour here or there blogging, pokig at some code or project, or simply playing a game of FIFA, its been hard to come by those hours without sacrificing a lot of sleep. And its no joke how much sleep you are deprived of during the first three months. The first month was definitely the worst, but you get used to functioning with less sleep, or going to bed earlier. For me, midnight or 1 AM used to be the norm, but just last night we were all in bed at 10 p.m. It was a good night.
The first 3 months haven't been all that hard or a very big adjustment, since our main job is to keep Nicholas fed, safe, and stimulated. There must also be an evolutionary reason for pushing the harder parenting years to when children become teenagers. I'm enjoying being a dad, and I"m looking forward to all the new experiences we'll share as a family in the coming years.
Other things I've learned as a new dad:
- Changing diapers isn't as hard or messy as I thought it would be, but he hasn't gotten to a real squirmy phase either.
- LIttle babies can make some big noises.
- You have to be pretty creative to keep them entertained, the funny face or noise that worked yesterday probably won't be as entertaining tomorrow.
- Its nearly impossible to stop grandmothers from buying new toys and outfits for him.