Four weeks into this second parenting go-round, and it's amazing to me how different it is. Most notably, I'm so much more tired than the first time around, but I'm also much more accepting of that exhaustion. Maybe it's because, whereas I was the first-time parent with Jackson and his mom nursed him but watched me take care of the rest, this time I'm the one watching from the experienced parent seat as Sarah dives into the infant-parenting rituals with zest.
Actually, I've really been struck these past weeks by just how much more natural women are at this. Sarah has WAY more of an instinctive feel for what's going on with Max than I do--we men are so clueless about so many things. For instance, today, I came home from running an errand, was greeted by Sarah at the front door, and somehow didn't notice that Max was propped on a pillow--and nearly sat on him! This is something that Sarah would NEVER do--in fact, if she leaves for a few minutes, her first words when she walks in the door are, "Where's my baby!?" (Conversely, my first words are usually, "Can we have sex yet?")
Still, before I make us second-time dads sound like total boobs, there are some things that come back quickly. Like changing diapers. It never ceases to amaze me how afraid of this simple activity many men are. They look upon the diaper-changing table as if it were a sewage treatment plant. This is true even of experienced fathers--I can't tell you how many men I know who judge their success as parents by how low a percentage of diaper changes they're able to get away with handling. What they're missing is that diaper changing is an easy way to bond with baby, relieve mom and earn lots of a brownie points without having to devote a lot of time. It's certainly a lot easier than nursing (which is obviously out of our hands) or doing the laundry (Sarah's handled every load so far--not that I want her to, she's just on top of it like noboby's business).
Not to mention that you really get a feel for how your baby is changing. Like today, I changed two diapers that were absolutely PACKED with poop and pee, and they were quite different from Max's previous, uh, output. The poo is changing colors, and the pee is coming out in larger quantities, reflections of his increasing appetite and the maturation of his digestive system.
If that's not enough, there's also the entertainment aspect. Take the second of those big diapers today--as I was changing it, I had to pick up Max and hold him naked for a moment to help Sarah (who had managed to lock herself in the bathroom--don't ask), and in those brief seconds, Max proceeded to unleash a pee of biblical proportions all over me. To think--I'd never have had that experience if I hadn't been on diaper duty! (Okay, I admit this probably isn't going to convince many men that they're missing out. Their loss.)
I'd love to tell you more about Max's bodily fluids, but it's nearly 1 am, and I'm violating that sacred advice to new parents: Always sleep when the baby's sleeping. And he's been asleep for more than 3 hours at the moment, which means a feeding can't be far off.
In the meantime, enjoy this absolutely beautiful shot of Max that I took a week or so ago.