Happy Labour Day (Reflections ofa New Father at Three and a Half Months)

I know Labour Day is about another type of struggle but I thought I'd take this pun-based opportunity to talk about how it's been to be a first-time father for the last three and a half months:

– all other milestones (driver's license, graduations, marriage) pale in comparison to the one where your life changes from “don't have children” to “have children”.  (I guess the milestone of alive/dead would be an even bigger change but I haven't heard too many reports from the other side for comparison's sake.)

– your free time evaporates and (for the most part) you don't care.  I think I wrote recently that I watch absolutely no TV these days and do a lot less reading.  Obviously I do still spend time on the Net but that's about the only indulgence I allow myself.  And surfing the Net is definitely something that gets interrupted a lot more than it did before.

– you don't mind being interrupted to change diapers, wipe drool, fetch things for mommy when she's feeding the baby or whatever.

– you quickly gain the ability to ignore contact with bodily fluids that previously would have probably made you puke (uhm, including puke.)

– baby's firsts are all amazing – from first coo to first poo.

– even more amazing than the baby smiling at you (which is unbelievably cool) is when you can tell the baby is trying to communicate with you…you babble and it babbles back, you make a face and it makes a face back.

– when your baby makes the leap from sleeping for 2-3 hours at a time to sleeping for 5-7 hours (around five weeks for us) is possibly the single best moment of the first three months outside of the actual birth.

– it's not as expensive as you think it might be, especially if you're  willing to use second-hand and garage sale clothes, furniture and toys. 

– babies make good free weights.  My arms are probably stronger than anytime since high school.  (The rest of me, not so much.  But I expect this to change too as soon as he gets mobile.)

– according to the photos on Shea's Flickr account, apparently one of the main reasons we had a baby was to dress him up in embarrassing outfits, sort of like a real life Cabbage Patch Doll.

– the best thing we bought was a battery-powered baby swing (aka “the Neglectomatic” (c) – The Poo Bomb web site)

– even if you pick a name that has, just an an example, four letters and is a fairly common English-language word, people will still ask you “how do you spell that?”

Finally, Ask MetaFilter happened to have a thread recently from someone looking for good books for first-time, clueless parents

The thread has lots of good comments and advice including a slight derail as some person named “Jaybo” gets into a brief debate with another poster about whether it's better to think of breastfeeding as being potentially hard and being pleasantly surprised if it's not versus thinking it's easy and being disappointed if it turns out not to be. 

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