Before Frankie Four was born I was told countless variations of the following: “The baby will take over your life,” “You’re never going to sleep again,” “Nothing is ever going to be the same,” and every other version of “Being a parent is great but you are a victim who is totally at the mercy of your baby.”
Now, just after hitting the one month mark, I can unequivocally say that people are soft and terrible at life, because this baby shit is easy. Literally. I change about 600 diapers a day and the shit, it’s easy. He eats, he shits, and he sleeps, not necessarily in that order. What he doesn’t do is present a great many insurmountable challenges. Granted, the sleep schedule is inconvenient but I did what any sensible person would do.
I got my baby addicted to sleeping pills and I’m finding that quite restful.
Obviously I’m kidding. He almost choked to death when I tried to get him to swallow the sleeping pills. Since he was so uncooperative, my wife and I had to figure out our own system which has been working very well.
Lisa is breastfeeding so we’d done a lot of research and every “expert” said, “Don’t introduce a bottle or a pacifier before he’s at least a month old because it will cause nipple confusion.” So I decided to do the exact opposite and realized that it absolutely does cause nipple confusion-
if you have a dumb baby.
Fortunately, my kid, even at two weeks, was able to differentiate between a pacifier, a bottle, and a HUMAN BREAST THAT’S ATTACHED TO HIS MOTHER. If your baby is unable to do this, don’t blame yourself
Four, “So you’re telling me that some babies can’t tell this…”
“Your baby sounds dumb. Does he even know how to read yet?”
Four is so advanced that we were able to introduce the bottle very early on. Thus, we have developed a system that affords both of us a reasonable number of consecutive sleep hours. Lisa breast feeds him all throughout the day, right up until the “final” feeding around 9pm, then heads to the bedroom and closes herself off from the world. I turn all of the lights down low and put Four to sleep in the co-sleeper, which I’ve rolled into the living room. If I’m tired, I crash on the sofa. If not, I watch a little TV until I doze off. Initially he’d wake up around 11 or 11:30pm to eat, although now that’s stretched to around midnight. I put a bottle in the warmer and change his diaper while we wait for his milk to hit booby temp. Once I feed him he’s usually restless for 30–40 minutes then konks out again for another 2–3 hours. By the time he’s ready for his next meal, Lisa has had 5–6 solid hours of restful sleep and I’ve gotten a few winks myself. At that point I wake up Lisa and we switch. She hits the living room, feeds him and naps on the couch. I lock myself in the bedroom for some real sleep. Assuming it’s around 2am, and I’m going to wake up at 7, I also get at least 5 consecutive hours. Now, 5 hours isn’t a full night in anyone’s book, but add to that 4-ish hours of intermittent sleep and we’re just as rested as a lot of people who don’t even have kids.
I told Lisa from the moment we decided to have a baby that he would integrate into our life, not consume it. We would get enough sleep, continue working, exercise, eat right, and not be stuck in the house like prisoners. Check, check and double check to all of the above. It boggles my mind to hear that some people don’t do this. It’s like they’ve brought home a tiny warden who has sentenced them to an ambiguous amount of time in the pen.
Don’t get me wrong, we’re not living our “normal” life exactly as it was before, but we haven’t given up anything either. I’m fortunate in that my bosses are all family people and have been letting me work from home. Lisa’s mom, Susie, is next door and a huge amount of help. But all I heard before this baby was, “Get X in now because you won’t be doing it again for a while.” I thought a lot about that the third day after we’d brought him home from the hospital, while I was at the gym working out. When I got home that evening and was eating salmon with roasted vegetables that Lisa had made for dinner, we discussed how much our normal daily routine had been destroyed by bringing home a newborn.
Lisa: How was the gym?
Me: Great, I’m starving.
Lisa: Don’t worry, dinner is ready.
Me: Cool, you want to watch “Blacklist”?
Lisa: Sure, but I have to tell you, this is already becoming really difficult for me to handle.
Me: Having a baby?
Lisa: No, this situation between agent Keen, her ex-husband, and Reddington.
Now, Four is about to hit 6 weeks old. He’s been to restaurants for lunch multiple times. He’s attended a small dinner party. He spent Easter morning picnicking on the beach. He’s been to the park at least a dozen times to watch mommy work out. He’s been to Target, Trader Joe’s, and the baby clothes store. He’s ridden in the car from Manhattan Beach to Claremont to visit his grandpa. He stayed home one evening with grandma so mommy and daddy could go for sushi. His feet have touched sand, grass, and concrete. Soon he’ll come to watch daddy work out and shortly thereafter attend his first Spartan Race where he will stay in his first hotel. He is living his life by living our life, and will continue to do so because he’s a goddamn baby and doesn’t have any choice. Luckily for all of us, he enjoys it. I know that he enjoys it because he looks me straight in the eye, smiles a lot, and babbles sounds that I translate into him saying, “These are things I like, daddy…”
My Batman shirt.
Lifting weights at the park.
Getting my diaper changed in the trunk.
Doing my turtle impression.
Taking selfies with daddy.
Getting weird with mommy.
Showing off my neck strength like a boss.
Wearing my stunna shades.
Folding laundry (sucks).
Watching my dad embarrass himself .
Showing disdain for other humans, just like daddy.
But most of all, I love…
My mommies kisses.
What it comes down to is that our lives are better than ever. So good, in fact, that it makes me wanna puke.