|She's probably much more likely to brew or drink Jai Alai IPA... after surgery|
Making plans is a great way to completely waste your time:Mabel, and I'm guessing babies in general, don't care about your plans at all. They're on their own schedule and you serve them unconditionally. There are a couple ways to look at this.
- Prepping and planning at your house beforehand is essential. It's great to have an idea of where everything is and how you're going to live your every day life. Then you need to be willing and able to completely throw all those plans out the window and do whatever else works.
- Flexibility in general has been the key to any sort of minor success we've had. At first we were trying pre-planned bedtime routines. "We'll do bath, skin on skin, eat, then she'll be so tired she'll definitely sleep for 3 hours." "Okay, that didn't work. We'll try an hour earlier, no bath, three stories, if she sleeps for 3 hours three times in a row we can take turns staying up with her when she's not eating." "Okay, let's just hang out and see what happens." It really just doesn't work. Every night is something completely different.
- Everyone wants to meet the baby, but that also requires plan making. It really isn't easy. You would think that dealing with an infant who eats, sleeps, and pees would be easy to plan around. You, my friend, would be wrong. We learned a couple things about having visitors.
- If you don't sleep the night before, and all you want is for the baby to sleep tonight, you start worrying about any distractions, including guests. We don't know if we want guests, because if she's sleeping, we don't want to disturb her.
- Germs are terrifying. Our friends have been great and even a random small cough has stopped them from coming over, which was great because Tim ended up having Strep. So now we assume everyone has strep and you're all trying to hurt our baby... just kidding.
People react very differently to all things baby:This one is natural. Peoples' comfort levels with new born babies varies wildly. That makes sense, but you'd be surprised where it comes from sometimes.
People who have babies are sometimes nervous around babies.
People who have never been around babies typically look like they are about to hold a live grenade or nuclear device.
The words "breast milk" can make people cringe. Not even the act of breastfeeding, but whatever it is about breasts and milk and a babies need for nutrition sometimes scares the shit out of people. I find this one a little humorous sometimes, on the basest level I get it. Where do I look? What if I see a boob? I don't know what to do!!!
It's okay, it really is. Jenna's not pulling the puppies out all over town and swingin' em around for the world to see. Mabel needs to eat. Act totally normal. The situation is... totally... normal.
Which brings me to-
Ask questions:A lot of people seem to be scared of new born babies or new parents. We've heard a lot of assuming and seen a lot of deer in headlights looks. Our friend Brian is probably best at this, he asks questions about everything. EVERYTHING! It's been great actually. We love sharing this experience. We've written thousands of words about it, we're not shy individuals. If you're wondering, ask us. If it's too private or we're not comfortable sharing, we'll let you know and it's not a big deal, but in general, we're new at this too! We're learning so much every day. Jenna reads baby blogs and websites constantly and teaches me something new and awesome every day.
It's like when I read a new article online or in a magazine and it's so interesting that I want to tell people right away (like it's an original story or something that no one else could have read... did you know DC wanted Ben Affleck to direct and star as Batman in the potential Justice League movie?!?!)
And if you haven't come over to see Mabel yet, or if we've talked about it and it just hasn't happened, keep asking. I'm really sorry, to be honest. Since I've gone back to work, which sucked by the way, I get home and I just want to spend time with the baby and give Jenna a little break. I think we've only had one visitor in the two weeks I've been back to work and that is totally my fault. Selfish dad... not ashamed. We want you to meet Mabel, we want you to love her as much as we do... we're pretty sure you will seeing as she's perfect and all.
A little something about love:I'm a decent writer. I get a kick out of it. I tend to write exactly how I talk and how I think, often more eloquently since sometimes I think too fast and end up just blabbering away (oh shit, I do that when I write too... NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!)
Anyways... I started writing four or five different times yesterday. I wanted to write something sincere and straight forward about how much our lives have changed. How much better they are since Mabel has been a part of them. How much love and joy we've felt. It hasn't all been roses and butterflies between Jenna and I or between our own personal neuroses and insecurities, but when it comes to Mabel herself, there aren't words to describe how intoxicating, hypnotic, and joyous she is. After the worst nights of not sleeping, arguing with each other over the dumbest things, and feeling like absolute trash all it takes is one look or one little baby breath or sigh or sleeping giggle and it's like nothing ever happened.
Time doesn't exist when you're in love like this. At its best it feels like it is standing still. When she catches your eye and just stares through you, your heart stops beating and you never want that moment to end. At its worst four weeks have gone by in a blink leaving elation and utter happiness in its wake. I feel like an addict, telling myself every day is a new beginning. I take it one step at a time, knowing the lessons I've learned from the days gone by and knowing above all that I don't know anything at all. It's terrifying. It grips my heart and rips apart my insides to even imagine my life without that love. This unconditional, evolving, growing, educational love that has brought me to tears and makes me smile differently than I've ever smiled before. It makes me thank Jenna every day for bringing her into our lives and when I see how she looks at our little bean, I fall in love with her too. Every single day. I wanted to type that it was just like the first time I fell in love with her, but it's so much more than that and so much better. I have the deepest appreciation and sincerest sense of awe for who she is, what we have done together, and how much we need each other.
I've written a lot about friends and family and how great the world we've made for ourselves is. Four weeks ago I didn't know what love was. I had no idea how to live my life until right now. I'm so insignificant to the grand scheme, but right now, at this point in time I'm truly needed. I have this opportunity to shape a life and I plan on seizing it. And I never plan on stopping until Mabel is safer, happier, smarter, kinder, gentler, more confident, and better than I've ever wanted to be in every way I've ever imagined. A lot of things about being a new parent are scary, but that's not one of them. It might seem like a tall order, but it isn't, that is the only thing I've been absolutely sure of since she has joined us... my job will never be done and that job is making her world a little better than it was the day before. I know it's easy, because she can't even roll over and she does it for me every single day.