- Family and Parenting
How Real Men Spend Time With Their Newborns
Hangin' With My Newborn Son
So as my wife says, our son is 10 weeks old now. Men don't generally say how many weeks, or months even, we usually say something like, "this is my newborn son." It's been quite the transition for me. I raised one newborn...thirteen years ago! Turns out, I'm more rusty at this than I thought I might be. However, I am proud to say, I've been able to get up for many of the A.M. feedings, even though my wife gets credit for the bulk of those.
There are lots of little things that I forgot about that I will get to in a moment but first, I wanted to bubble over a bit (as my Father-in-law Russ likes to say) about hangin' with my son. In these past few weeks I've watched his awareness increase a little more each day. I take him on hikes with me, where I live I am privileged to be in range of several nature preserves and some farms. Klaus is quite the charmer. He's named after a Polish-German actor-Kinski, a Lemony Snicket character and also, subconsciously apparently, named after a dream-interpretation book author-Vollmar. His middle name is a homage to two of my Father In Laws. When he finds my eyes, and he's in the right mood, his eyes curl into two huge smiles of their own. His gummy smile is hilarious and all at once: pure, raw, joy. On these hikes, I watch him look at the leaves waving frantically in the breeze. Sometimes he curls up close to me, other times he bobs his head out, reaching to look as far as he can with his fledgling neck muscles. He is not so in tune, that he tracks things like a hawk. He is more like some sort of tiny Buddha, taking it all in, every leaf, breeze, lake and field. The sun shines on us and the tiny and few hairs on top of his head wave back and fourth with the slightest breath of air. He looks at the woods, then at me, then out over a field.
Laughing with my son K-billy.
Diapers, bottles, burps and bjorns
Like I said, there are some little things I forgot about. The biggest, and this is the one everybody warns you about but you just have no idea until it happens: dedicated time. I can get somethings done with the baby around, but not everything. It crossed my mind to saw some wood for a few paintings the other day, while I was watching Klaus alone. It took all of about three seconds to reconsider that idea! Anything even remotely dangerous is out the window when it's just him and I. I can still paint, but mostly I write and prepare to work on art, so that when my wife or daughter are around, I can paint with less interruption. But this isn't the end of the world, as I'm sure many a Father might feel at some point watching his social life get drained by his own squirming progeny. With this newborn son of mine, he has helped turn things upside down, and this is a good direction for an artist to be in if you ask me, at least some of the time. It changes the locus of your priorities. Somethings I no longer do, other tasks I do with even more stamina and vigor.
Me and the newborn kid in action...Click thumbnail to view full-size
- Ben Zoltak on HubPages
I am no longer an innocent man. I am an oil painter and a writer and some days, when the sun shines through the mist in the air and the birds...
One of our hiking grounds...Lake Farm County Park
Solve for Puke
Let's get something straight here and now, changing diapers ain't no big thing. I have a good friend who changed his disabled fully-grown brothers' adult diapers for a few decades, he reminded me, "Ben, these baby diapers are nothing, are you kidding me? It takes like two seconds, hardly smells at all, and you're done."
So when I hear some pathetic Dad whimpering about having to change a stupid diaper I just laugh at him inside. Is that really the worst thing in your life you have to deal with? If that's it, you're in pretty damn good shape Kemosabe. Shut up and change the damn diaper fool.
Bottles? Ain't no big thing, especially now with the internet. Truthfully, sometimes the little guy needs all my attention during a feeding. Somehow my wife reads a book and feeds at the same time (it must be a boob thing) because I can't hold a book and a bottle at the same time. But you can pretty easily click a mouse. Other times, we head out to the front porch, it's good to get some sun on his noggin. He eats anywhere between three to six ounces now, lately leaning more towards six. The little guy sometimes swallows air in big gulps, he makes loud "GOOOLP" sounds as he drinks like it's the last bottle on the planet! So maybe two or three times you gotta tilt him up, so that he's squatting/sitting, and gently pat or rub his back until he lets out a satisfying BUURRRPPP! Ah! We're both really happy when that happens. You see there's an equation at work here:
B + D x S = P (b/N+p)
Where B= Bottle, D = Desire for milk/formula, S = Speed or velocity of nipple intake, P = Puke, b= burp, N = number of burps and p = varying positions to try evacuating burpage.
Solve for puke.
So right now, our big thing is the bjorn. It's a pretty cool baby-carrying-device. I prefer the, over the back, metal-framed version, but he's too young for that. Apparently he needs more neck strength so the Doc said wait until around six months. Meanwhile, we do our walking via bjorn. We use a great hand-me-down Baby Bjorn that loads in the front! I know I don't look necessarily supercool with the thing on, haha. But my days of being supercool must've ended back when I retired my eyebrow ring and blue/white mohawk. Now it's just Klaus and me and if anybody doesn't like it they can kiss my keister. Which brings me to the penultimate point about hangin' with my son...
Gigglin' in the crib with K-billy and Pops
There is a positive vulnerability that soaks you to your core. Even if you haven't thrown a punch in decades (guilty)many men, at least this man, is always ready for a fight. But start carrying around ten pounds of cuddly cuteness, and you kind of guffaw at your inner fire. What are you going to do? Box it out with a baby on your chest? I don't think so Sampson. Now you have become a gentle giant. Big bad Ben is sweet Benny now.
Lastly, it's not always a picnic in the park (try that, with a dagwood 4 Dad of course) but take the occasional cries and screaming with a grain of salt, your folk's must have, or you wouldn't be here reading this today. We all have to work, we all have to get other things done, we all have to decompress once in awhile. Just never take that out on your kid. Enjoy the time that you get to share, make more of that time, get out there and introduce your child to the world.
Check out more articles by Ben:
I was inspired to finish this hub after seeing fellow writer H.C. Porter has written over 100 hubs, and we joined roughly the same time, congatulations H.C.!!!
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