Saturday, May 19, 2007

Oh, hello there.

The last six days have been a bit busy. I've been thinking it's Wednesday for about three days now, and I thought it was Sunday on Wednesday. This is the sort of thing that happens when you sleep no more than three hours at a time.

Jack is about to clear his first week of life with fairly good progress. It's an insane cycle of eating, sleeping and soiling, and you kind of lose track of time, as I mentioned. Some hours stretch on for eternities while others slip away before you notice.

I've changed about two dozen diapers now. The first one was pretty spectacular, what with all the meconium. It looked like someone had tried to pave an asphalt road down the middle of his tartan. My technique has been sound from the onset, if not a bit mechanical and inhuman. Still, the efficiency is getting there: I went through about fifteen wipes the first time, I can field the whole operation in one now.

He's more novelty than a person right now. Aside from his nipple hunting head movements, instinct-driven hand clasps and neurological development-related chin quivers, he doesn't do much. He will occasionally look around the room, but I know from my years in the neuro field that his vision is likely still black and white, only good for about 18 inches and he can't recognize faces much less reality as we interpret it. Still, it does a lot for a father's heart, so there's something there.

The dogs have adjusted admirably. Abby immediately stuck her head into the bassinet when Jack got home, gave a cursory inspection and returned to her normal schedule. I detect some changes in her overall behavior, keeping a somewhat reserved distance from us when Jack is on the couch, but she certainly doesn't hesitate to come when called. Rosey actually missed Jack's arrival and didn't realize there was a new member of the pack for almost three hours when I changed a diaper, at which point she went beserk and she was going to shut that thing up. Fortunately, she's Rosey, incapable of executing her rather brutal foreign policy. By the second day, she'd adjusted to Jack's frequent cries and things seem to be going well as the dogs accept him as a member of the pack.

Life has become a pastiche of unfinished things. Unfinished videos, unfinished books, unfinished meals, unfinished conversations. I think that's just what life is like on the plain of true adulthood, full of constant appraisals and challenging decisions. In truth, I don't think it a big deal.

My attractive graphic designer wife, however, has been a big deal. The labor alone was an awesome sight to bear witness, but I was not prepared for the wellspring of inner strength she called upon to begin motherhood. She carries herself with a magnificent sense of purpose that stuns me. Indeed, I've always envisioned my role in these first weeks as a pillar of strength, but she rarely needs such encouragement in providing for our son. It is I who draws needed resolve and strength by watching her.

Details to come.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pat - this is probably your best entry so far. A good assessment which brought back many memories for me. Don't worry - it gets better in about three months.

You're right about the field of vision being about 18 inches. That's no accident (I believe, anyway). That's a distance where the baby can feed and look at mama's face at the same time. We're programmed to learn faces right out of the gate. Although he can't recognize faces now, that's one of his first assignments. After a while, he'll be able to distinguish people.

What's annoying about the first days is they scream and scream because they're hungry, but they don't realize that by sucking they can alleviate that pain.

They also don't know the difference between day and night or realize how efficient putting all your sleep together at the same time can be.

When Gretel had her Christening, I made one last diaper change before we left. Then - BAM! - she pooped again just as I put another diaper under her (they don't exactly give those things away for free). So I said "That's coming out of your college fund!"

She didn't like the baths, either. She peed all over my hand as I held her and screamed for the baby next door to help. She'd scream (in her own little way) "Hubert! SAVE ME!"