J.Atlas continues to be pretty awesome. He’s mostly sleeping through the night now (two thumbs up!), is able to manage a fork for the most part, and seems to enjoy just about everything.
I’M ON A BOAT!
This summer is infinitely easier than last and I would venture to say that the later half of the summer was easier than the first. I’m defining ease mostly by his ability to sleep and the amount of parental intervention required on a moment-to-moment basis. I mostly expect the difficulty levels to increase as he develops a greater ability to voice his preferences.
We were able to get some real vacation time in this summer. We went to a snazzy family resort called the Tyler Place in Vermont, hit up Cape Cod for a week, and have been pretty aggressively using our weekends for local beach visits, bicycle rides, and adventures like the aquarium.
J.Atlas can confidently say three words: “Hat”, “Mama”, and “Dada.” Though in the case of Dada, I’m still curious if he’s referring to me, the avante-garde art movement of the 1920’s, or something else entirely because he uses the word indiscriminately when pointing at any number of random things.
JAtlas on a Pony
Being a Dad is different than I had expected. It’s a very busy time. Though in a way, I suppose I revel in being forced to be more productive. You know that good feeling you have after you get a lot done? It’s kinda like that all the time with an extra bonus of being surrounded by a tiny person that loves/is loved unconditionally – it’s pretty spectacular. Sure, I wish I had more time to practice guitar, exercise, and be crafty. And right after he goes to bed there’s a big sigh of relief in knowing that you finally have some time to breathe. But it’s unquestionably worth it for the fun of exploring the world through a tiny person’s eyes.
In celebration of J.Atlas’ first birthday we hung up 12 pictures, one from each month of his first year. Carrying him in my left arm, I walked down the row of pictures pointing to each one and saying “Johnny!” When we reached the end of his pictures, there was a picture of Jen and me. He touched the picture of me and said “Dada”
It was heart melting! I was startled and touched far more than I ever could have expected.
Then he pointed to a clock on the mantel and said “Dada”
J. Atlas’s smiling face is cartoonish in its expression of joy
He’s been pretty excellent so far. While still not quite sleeping through the night, his consistency has dramatically improved. He has two teeth, eats like a champ and is at the point where he’s cruising around constantly with his walker.
Things J. Atlas loves:
Playing the piano with his butt
Chomping my nose
Stealing Jen’s glasses
Occasionally J. Atlas sounds like a Dinosaur when he’s laughing.
Daylight savings with an infant is completely different. Instead of basking in the luxury of an extra hour of sleep during fall-back, we endure a stressful experiment of trying to determine how we can massage JAtlas’ schedule into sync with the rest of humanity. Then again… that’s kind of the challenge 100% of the time with an infant.
Overall though, the little man is doing exceptionally well. I give him four stars (out of four).
J.Atlas continues to be awesome. His most recent skills include shoulder rides, poking his parents in the face, and concerted efforts to consume all handheld electronic devices.
J.Atlas met his older cousin Harry this weekend. Harry confirms that Johnathan is delicious.
There are those points in one’s life where maturity escalates rather abruptly. Going to college, having bills for the first time, starting a full time job, buying a house, getting married, and of course having a kid.
I think of all of these, only did the arrival of J.Atlas not remotely fit to my preconceived constraints.
Prior to the J.Atlas arrival friends, family, and coworkers were generous with comments. Many were cliche.
“It’ll change your life forever!”
“It’ll be the best time of your life.”
“Enjoy sleep now, while you can!”
“It’s the toughest job you’ll ever love!”
“It’ll be hard, but it’ll get easier.”
“You’ll stop doing all your fancy cooking as soon as that baby comes.”
All those messages sunk in and collected together in my brain into some sort of strange network of assumptions. Now 3 months in, I can admit that nearly all of these assumptions were wrong. Here are my discoveries so far:
- Babies aren’t that hard – Okay, caring for a baby is challenging, but not in the way that I thought. I had assumed that the toughest part would be the baby screaming or fussing while desperation sucks life out of you. Like a Dementor from Harry Potter wearing a diaper. But really, that’s not all that common. It happens, but it’s not the norm. The biggest challenge for me so far has been working in a new environment with Jen. It’s the classic challenge of paired management. For me, as a father and husband, navigating our relationship through his development can be genuinely tough. Being supportive when I need to be supportive and trying to communicate what I think is best for the little guy while being respectful to Jen’s preferences. This is legit hard. The baby’s easy.
- Sleep is not gone forever – there is no question we sleep less than we did before. But it’s not as hard as I thought. It’s just kinda what we do now. That’s it. It’s the new norm.
- We have tons of time – Seriously. We have tons of time. We just can’t really use the time. Boredom is surprisingly everywhere. What do you do after you’ve played with the rattle, read him a book, sang a few songs, bounced him, gone for a walk, and after all that only two minutes have passed? You just kind of do it again. This is the real time sync that people hint at. It’s not that you don’t have time, you just don’t have the luxury of choosing how to use it.
- Overall, life isn’t that different – People say everything changes, but it doesn’t. We are still us. We still have dinner together and enjoy walks. We have a little man that we carry with us, but we are still us.
I think when it’s my turn to hurl broad generalizations at expecting parents, I’m going to put it this way:
Babies increase life’s standard deviation. It’s like the bell curve of emotion has flattened a bit. The lows are lower, the highs are higher, but overall the mean and median remain unchanged. You respond with more maturity; maturity being nothing more than the ability to better handle broadening of our own personal happiness confidence intervals.