Friday, March 03, 2017

T+30 of being a Father

My baby just reached one month recently. In the midst of the showering, feeding, changing diapers routine, I didn't realize that 30 days had just flew past like that. So, how did a first time father feel after a month?


1. Baby is living in blissful zen

I must have mentioned it before. When a baby eat, he eats. When he shits, he shits. When he is uncomfortable, he'll cry. When comforted, he stops crying. I think we can learn a lot from watching how a baby reacts and responds. They are living so much in the present that they are not haunted by the past nor worried about the future. At least not yet.


2. Whoever said "Sleeps like a baby" obviously haven't seen a baby before

I haven't really taken the full load of taking over the care taking part, but my confinement lady is leaving today. D-day! My wife is a little worried over the night duty part. Rightfully, because she is feeding him from the breast at night, so her sleep is disrupted every 2-3 hours if we're lucky. But I think once our short term help is over, it will be suicidal to depend on my wife just for the night duty feeding. I'll have to feed formula milk and do guard duty lol


3. Pain is inevitable, but it need not come with suffering

In the first few weeks, there are short bouts of anger when I couldn't calm the baby. It had arisen out of frustration and perhaps lack of sleep. I recognized it (thank my 100 days meditation!) at the onset and dispersed it. I think after here is where reading Tools of Titan helped. I remembered reading about Tony Robbin's State -> Story -> Strategy. Essentially, it is this: if you encountered a problem, ask yourself if you had enough sleep and food. Settle the biochemical state of mind first. Then you construct a story. For me, the story is that there is meaning behind the pain and frustration of being unable to calm a baby, or waking up in the middle of the night for feeding duties. All these are bonding time. Besides, the baby won't be in this needy state for long, so enjoy it. This story helps tremendously in coping with everything that seems like a chore when I became a father. Lastly, strategy is just the specific hacks that I can utilize, the practice that I had, and the sharing of good habits and routines from experts like my mother and the confinement lady.

The creep in the crib, the nipple nibbler, sleeping comfortably in my laps


4. To build trust, be vulnerable

A baby is so needy and fragile. It depends on you for everything needed to keep it alive and well, and that is precisely why everyone will treat the baby very well and to take care of it. I'm not talking about psychopaths here, just normal well adjusted adults. Can we also accelerate the process of building trust in relationship? When I meet a new student, usually I'll share some of my own story and vulnerabilities, so that rapport is build up fast. In the past I thought I'm wasting their time because I could have taught them more things. How foolish! I'm teaching a person, not force feeding content down their throats, so the more relationship points we get, the more leverage I can use to change my students and make a difference.

A careless mistake admitted by me when doing a math problem is a better relationship builder than a perfectly executed model solution copied from a pre-prepared sheet. It makes me genuine, and human too, so we can close the gap between us. If I'm perceived as a super teacher who can't make mistakes, then they might see my abilities as being too far and out of reach.


5. Expenses shot up like crazy!

Nah, just kidding. Besides the one off, there really isn't much increase. There is a spike in groceries expenses because of all the milk powder and diapers and nappy rash cream, but it's somewhat offset by zero restaurants trip, almost zero carpark charges and fuel, zero cafes trips and so on. What's the actual expense increment? I'll blog about it once I have a 2-3 month average, as it's a bit premature to see the increment now. But it's at most $500 per month increment, and I think I'm pretty generous about it already. We'll see in due time.


6. Work is a relief from care taking

I think it's important to take our minds off our kids regardless of how much we love them. There is caretaker's fatigue to worry about, so that's something that SAHM (stay at home mums) have to think about. For me, a few hours of work where I concentrate on something else is a very welcome break from the caretaking, no matter how much I love spending time with my son.

Are we also working too hard in our jobs? A month or two of a good break in between jobs can clean up all our pent up frustration and negative energy can be a good thing to revitalize our work. That might be all it takes to change from dragging to skipping yourself to work. Thankfully in my line of work I always have 'in-built' 1-2 months slack time, so no complains there lol


7. To have someone sleeping in your arms is such a wonderful thing

Babies are so manipulative. After making them comfortable, they just sleep in your arms. That feeling is better than having a multi bagger, or a job raise, or a promotion at work. For those absent daddies who are not 'into' kids, do not miss out on little things such as these!

If you're ever angry with someone, remember that they are once babies and cute and lovable too :)

11 comments :

Singapore Man of Leisure said...

LP,

Work is a relief for care taking. (Tell me about it! Although for my case mom is the one taking care of me. LOL!)


I can add:

Work is a relief for boredom.

Work is a relief for the unbearable lightness of being.

Work is a relief for not knowing why you get up in the morning.

LOL!

simplefolk said...

you may like to give this holding method a try :)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2C8MkY7Co8

la papillion said...

Hi SMOL,

Haha, so you shed light on the nature of work :) Work is a painkiller for so many things lol

la papillion said...

Hi simplefolk,

I saw that clip before! Just that I don't dare to try it on my baby yet LOL :) But it's true that when the baby is in that position (he's lying on my chest), he is calmer. Maybe that's how the foetus is like when floating in the mum's uterus :)

Sillyinvestor said...

LP,

Time will fly. Supposedly, most couples did rotation of night duties. But I did guard duties with my wife. My wife insist breast feeding, I wake up to help her. The initial 3-4 months not too bad. Thereafter, your baby under slew like a baby or wake up and cry and dun want to sleep anymore

FuzzyView said...

Congrats on your "graduation" from confinement nanny. Now you get kicked into the real harsh world..!

Nah, just kidding. It's good that you are able to recognize that many times frustration arises mainly due to lack of sleep and aggravated by the situation. I only realized it after around one year as my baby grew and required less night feeding. I must have been such an unreasonable monster in that one year :(

And yes, when they just sleep on you, and you look at them, nothing else in the world seems to matter (until they puke or poop or gets hungry again) :)

mrs spoon said...

wow! i love this post. I guess it resonates with me as I am a FTWM of 2 little boys. Yes, its a beautiful feeling when the baby falls asleep in your arms. Watching them breathe. Wait till you see them smile, crawl, play with their toes, or their 2 little lower teeth starting to form. Its like magic. And makes you amazed with life. But sometimes we forget that its these things that make life worth living.

yeh said...

baby is cute:)

la papillion said...

Hi Fuzzyview,

Sorry for the late reply :)

After a week of handling the baby all by ourselves, it wasn't that bad :) We also got used to the sporadic sleeping pattern at night. Haha, I think we're all unreasonable monsters when we lack of sleep!

la papillion said...

Hi Mrs spoon,

Haha, please share your tips and tricks with me when you can :) It's really the simple things in life that matters. These days, my focus is shifted to family, so much so that even if there are unexpected cancellations, I'm all the more happier because I can spend more time with him! :)

la papillion said...

Hi yeh,

Thanks :) My little bundle of joy (and frustration) lol