Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Education of a New Dad

My wife and I spent way too much money and far too much time reading books about what our baby is supposed to do at this stage of pregnancy and that stage of development. For months we scoured the web trying to figure out what fruit or vegetable our little fetus was that day.

-Oh, honey, she is the size of a medium-sized yam today!

-Wow! And to think that not too long ago she was the size of a brandywine heirloom tomato…they grow up so fast.

We needed to know everything that our baby was doing in-utero. There were books telling women what to eat, how to exercise, what music to listen to, when to have sex, and how to remain comfortable despite being 30 pounds overweight with feet two-sizes too big and a sore back.

Since our daughter was born, we have read even more books about what to feed her, how much time she needs to spend on her back, on her belly, in our arms, in the sun, and in the dark; how to protect her from our cats, bugs, skin cancer, even formula, swine flu, loud music, autism, meddling strangers, and polio; and how to make sure she is smarter, faster, stronger, taller, skinnier, prettier and all-around more awesome than every other child who somehow did not win the genetic lottery by having parents smart enough to buy the rare What to Expect In the First Year.

But after all that, after all the reading about what to do when she is colicky (still don’t know what that word means) or how many times to feed her during the day. After all the advice from parents and siblings and friends and strangers and doctors and nurses. After all the preparation, all we really learned once that small-sized version of a human being was home with us was…that we know nothing. We are clawing through this experience in ignorant bliss, enjoying each success and mistake with equal surprise and joy.

-You mean we managed to change her diaper all by ourself? High five!
-Honey, did you see that we weren’t supposed to feed her solid food until about 6 months? Goat cheese and spinach ravioli isn’t really “solid” right?

I actually heard, in the same day, two nurses give us completely contradicting advice about things like feeding our baby…no one knows anything for sure. That is why becoming a parent is such an adventure. If parenting was a roller-coaster it would be Space Mountain – you never know what is coming around the next bend.

So this blog is a little journey for me about MY education as a new dad. It isn’t really meant to teach anyone anything…because I now know there is nothing I can teach that a new dad won’t have to learn on his own. Enjoy the ride.

No comments:

Post a Comment