Well, Jonah just turned three months old this week, so I thought I would take a few minutes to write a few more of my general impressions of early fatherhood.
1) What was the occasional, seemingly random smile has exploded into consistent heartwarming displays of affection. Every time Jonah sees me, particularly after I’ve been at work, or away for a while, his whole face brightens into a huge, toothless smile. It’s a cliché, I know, but it really does feel great to know that such a tiny little person is happy to see you.
2) He’s also slowly discovering his hands, which is fascinating to watch. There are times where he’s just sitting in his little chair staring at his own hands, moving them without coordination. Sometimes I like to take his hands and touch them to things. The other day we walked around the apartment touching all kinds of random objects.
3) He especially loves people, and stares and often smiles at almost everyone he meets. Naturally, he ends up charming lots of people.
4) He also loves mirrors, and will stare at himself with endless fascination. I doubt he understands that he is looking at himself, but it’s possible.
5) He’s also started to talk, which is mostly a series of hilarious grunts and coos.
6) He recently discovered his mobile, which we put up in his crib about two weeks ago. He loves lying on his back in his bed and staring up at it as it spins and plays music which, by the way, is about as irritating as Ice Cream Truck music (damn you Mister Softee!). Still, it’s fun to watch him, and we’re always a little relieved that he can occupy himself with that for 15 minutes or so.
7) The number one question we’re still asked is how is he sleeping. I guess this is the easy “go to” question for new parents, the obligatory “how are you” equivalent. To be honest, he’s doing ok, but doesn’t really sleep through the night yet. He is, however, sleeping in longer stretches, sometimes as long as five hours at a time. Daylights savings seems to have had an impact and he now goes to sleep as soon as it gets dark around 5:30 or so.
8) I’ve been trying to take him outside more, because I think the more he sees of the world, the better, plus he gets a little bored being cramped up in our 2 bedroom apartment all day. He doesn’t care where we go, even the grocery store or the dry cleaners is fascinating to him. I’m a little worried now that it’s starting to get colder that he might not like going outside, and we might not want to bother taking him out as much. We’ll see, though.
9) He’s getting heavier and it’s getting harder to carry him around as long. I’m still able to, but Rachel is slowing down a little, and I imagine in another six months or so, we’re going to have to start using the stroller, if not sooner (right now we carry him, or use a sling). I’ve finally started lifting weights again in anticipation of having to schlep baby and stroller up and down the subway stairs, which I’m really not looking forward to, especially in the heat of summer.
10) I’ve started to develop a very subtle fixation about how messed up the world is. There’s porn everywhere, middle school kids on drugs, teenage sex, endless rampant consumerism, violence, genocide and war. I mean, I know a lot of this is the media-cultivated fear that we are endlessly barraged with, but that’s part of the point. How do I keep Jonah from being corrupted by all of the bad things out there, when there really is no way to escape? I guess we could move to some small town in northern Canada (which might be more appealing if Guiliani wins the election) but right now we live in New York City. I know this is totally neurotic, and it’s not like I can change the world, but these little nagging worries are starting to creep into my thoughts.
11) One of my biggest fears in the weeks before he was born was that I would have no free time for myself anymore. I worried that all of my writing projects would end up unfinished, friendships would stagnate, time for hobbies would all but disappear, etc. I feared that, over time, I would grow to resent Jonah for making me sacrifice all the things I personally enjoy. Fortunately, I have found that that’s really not the case. Sure, I’ve had to reshuffle priorities, and getting writing done now is less about the 3 hour sessions and more about the 15 minute bursts, but the reality is that I’ve still had time to do stuff I like. Plus, the time I spend with the baby also doesn’t feel like time wasted at all. I love hanging out with him, and once he’s a little older, it will be even better. So at least so far, it feels like a good balance.
12) I’m still not sure the reality of the responsibility of fatherhood has truly hit me yet. I did take a major first step the other day and setup a college savings account, but the idea that this little person will someday be a college student is unimaginable. He’s still so little, we barely know anything about him. And the thought that I’m his father, and all the implications that come with that, are just weird and hard to believe. I thought it would have sunk in more by now.