Maggie slept through her one week birthday (the nerve!), so I decided to celebrate ten days; seemed like a good round number. Anyway, these first few days of Maggie’s life have disabused me of measurements; seconds, minutes, hours all seem to stretch and bend in this haze of feed, burp, change, repeat.
And so tonight, I made Maggie’s favorite dinner, tacos, guacamole and red velvet cupcakes (ok, not really), and celebrated with my girls. As I slaved in the kitchen (ha ha), I reflected on how much I’ve learned in the past ten days. Take meconium, for example. I mean, who knew? Here are ten more, in no particular order:
1- We’re not in control. This became increasingly clear to me over the course of Abbi’s pregnancy, but even more so now. First, Maggie wouldn’t show her face. Then she wouldn’t flip. Now? Sweet like candy one minute, fiesty like a hurricane the next. Kicking, cooing, sleeping, cuddling, crying… one just never knows.
2- I’m ok with poop. Maggie literally projectile pooped on her changing table today. Abbi and I just laughed, and cleaned it up. I mean, by hand. As in poop on my hands. No big deal. In fact, it’s kinda’ cute.
3- Express is a verb.
4- Watching Maggie is better than watching TV. I think I’ve watched ten minutes in the last ten days. Her ever-changing facial expressions are far-more compelling than anything Hollywood or Madison Avenue has to offer.
5- White noise works. We hit a wall on our second night home. Mags wouldn’t relax. Nothing worked: swaddling, shushing, bouncing, rocking. We were at wit’s end as five a.m. approached. I collapsed on the bed in frustration, and it dawned on me in a flash: water on the shower curtain! She was out the second she crossed the bathroom threshold.
6- Not sleeping isn’t so bad. We’ve been up for 3-5 hours in the middle of the night every night for the past ten days. I close my eyes one second, then am shuddered awake by crying the next. There are moments that are exasperating, to be sure. Usually, though, Abbi and I are having a good time. And in the morning (after a few cups of coffee), we forget all about it.
7- My wife is even more beautiful as a mother. I can’t say enough about how radiant Abbi has looked throughout her pregnancy and into motherhood. Lit from within. And not just in terms of how she looks. She is made for motherhood. Her warmth, patience, and joy is boundless — even when fatigue has made it impossible for her to determine the day, date or time. She is completely inspiring.
8- Life doesn’t end. I’ve watched “She’s Having A Baby” too many times. I always worried I was going to wake up in Kevin Bacon’s shoes, retrieving the paper alongside a dozen other same-looking husbands in some generic suburban neighborhood. Truth is, life has just begun. I don’t care where I am or what I’m doing so long as the girls are nearby.
9- Crying’s not personal. It’s been helpful to remind myself when Maggie’s screaming in my face that wales are her sole means of communication. Generally, her cries indicate just one of four issues: temperature, gas, poop, pee, or feed.
10- The world is more beautiful with Maggie in it. It just is.
I’m a late bloomer. Many friends and family have been parents for years. Suddenly, I feel silly for understating my enthusiasm for the gig. But hey: you can’t know what you can’t know. I have some inkling now, and it feels like someone just turned on the lights; I can see a whole new world new, one far-richer with the love my new family creates.