A Father’s Observations: The First Year

My brother-in-law, Matthew, makes me laugh every time I see him. He is clever and quick, and now that he has a kid, his brand of humor has a new topic. I’m glad my sister-in-law married a funny guy, because she has the best laugh in the world, and since she snagged Matthew, we get to hear more of that laugh. Not only are Matt and his wife parents to my adorable nephew, they are also members of the Crock Pot Thursday team!

I’ve been begging Matt to guest post, and here it is! Thanks, Matt! 

A Father's Observations on baby's first year.
My nugget of a nephew. Adorable, right?

If my time in junior high with egg babies foreshadows my time as a parent then consider me yolk.

But so far I’ve survived my first year as a parent.

My wife and I brought a beautiful boy into the world a year ago in a rural Northwest Washington town where she’s a teacher and I’m a news reporter. While we feel we’ve done something remarkable, I can only feel humbled knowing billions of people beat me to the parenting punch and succeeded, including cavemen, gangsters and evil dictators.

When Amy, my sister-in-law, approached me (I winked and nudged her hard suggesting it actually), I felt I had some funny experiences and observations that people could enjoy and/or relate to particularly poop jokes, even ones involving the baby.

One year later, he continually amazes me as he discovers new things like venturing under the couch and getting stuck. Shifting from newborn to 12 months (not all at once) clothes into storage bins has become increasingly difficult seeing our little man grow but I wouldn’t trade this past year for anything else.

So without further ado, here is an ample amount of rambling one-liners about my baby and me. My wife makes cameos.

A Father’s Observations: The First Year

• While preparing my boy for a nap, I realized sleep sacks are the first Snuggies. He looks like millions of football fans on Sunday morning except cuter.

• Of course, some baby behavior wouldn’t be accepted by adults from other adults. However, if I had the chance to drool on strangers holding me, I’d do so.

• “Dada” and “Mama” are often repeated at varying levels. Sometimes it’s heartwarming but when chewing on toys and spacing out at the wall I start to wonder if he’s OK.

• I’ve tried several CDs in the car – dance, rock, folk, classical – but the biggest hit is making a clicking noise with my mouth. I’ve got to admit it’s fairly catchy and addicting.

• Even with giant obstacles of teddy bears, pillows and large toys, a baby is determined to go where you don’t want him to go. I wish I shared his determination to climb to the middle of the dining room and eat lint.

• Changing a diaper is nearly impossible. Sometimes I have to hold his legs back or tickle him into hysteria or hold him down with my forehead while trying my darnedest to blindly apply the Velcro tabs. When a tab broke once, I considered leaving it off, but I realized doing that is like letting your teenage daughter go out with that guy who leads a biker gang. You just don’t do it.

• Despite guarantees on commercials and on the box, some diapers aren’t spill proof. I’ll just say some diapers are on my $&*% list.

• This kid loved to stare at himself in mirrors. I think I’ll avoid reading/ showing him Snow White. He might develop a sense of vanity wondering if he’s the fairest one of all. Maybe in complexion (We’re Scandinavian and Northwesterners).

• So far, the worst part of changing a baby’s diaper is changing the Diaper Genie. The self-contained poop and stink container is fine until the snake-like bag breaks in half and oozes a whole new level of disgustingness. It’s happened twice so far (from being too full), but I’m the one who looks like I need a diaper as I squat down the hall and waddle outside with the bag folded awkwardly as I try my best not to drop any “debris” on the ground.

• When I first started buying baby formula, it was near the checkout stand making grocery store visits quick and easy. But a few months in, the baby food and diapers were moved to the farthest corner in the store. I imagine this was a sign that I needed to walk more.

• Albert Camus truly didn’t know what the plague was, but I do. In one year, I’ve had a handful of colds and with a baby in the house it’s easy to see the spread of germs despite my best efforts. When he plays he likes to stick his hands in my mouth, nose, eyes and ears. Babies are the true plague. But so cute.

• As he’s grown, so has his hair. But it’s grown in the back and not on the top a la his father’s high hairline, giving him more of a baby mullet. I branded it the Baby Frasier Crane.

• I’ve seen my eye doctor a few times this year but not for checkups but because baby likes to pull my glasses off my face. The doctor has helped me readjust them from perpendicular back to parallel.

• Funny story one: A week or two into having baby at home, he often woke up in the middle of night. Even though I work late some nights, going from a full night’s sleep to jaunted naps was tough. One night, around 1 a.m., my wife woke me up to say he was crying. She asked me to retrieve the pacifier from the other room. Unconscious, I stood and stared at the door near my side of the bed. Puzzled, my wife asked me what I was doing. I didn’t know, so she repeated herself. Minutes later I returned. “What’s this?” she asked. I had handed her three wooden spoons.

• Story two: About a month ago, we all had been sick with colds and the baby made a loud noise in the middle of the night. Both asleep, my wife awoke asking me what the noise was and if the baby was OK. Sitting up Dracula-style, I had my hands folded in prayer and I said, “Meat.”

• We’ve progressively put eating at his discretion on his plate. But after every meal, there’s half a meal either on him or under him. This baby likes to make his own meat, banana, blueberry pancakes under his high chair.

• Fact: Babies are chick magnets. Misconception: In a retirement community it’s a mixed blessing with so many aunts and grandmas living far from relatives that they are eager to pinch cheeks particularly adorable pudgy children like mine.

• Cute big finale: One day, we placed baby on the ground and asked him to crawl toward us. With a big grin he crawled feverishly to us, put one hand on each of our legs as if reminding us he loves us both equally.

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