Alternative title: This had been bugging me for some time.
I’ve noticed a definite change this week, it’s been a gradual thing over the last seven days but when I come home from work I’ve realised I’m actually looking forward to seeing my little girl.
This I think is directly related to her own developments – she continues to take more and more interest in her surroundings and shows more ranges of facial expressions. Smiles are quite common now and it’s great to come home, pick up our baby and get a big grin from her – the troubles of the day really do melt away.
But on top of her making me happy with her smiles and gurgles – to finally get some feedback after weeks of give give give, I’m relived in myself that those feelings are coming through, that the balance is beginning to be addressed.
It’s all such a slow process that it’s hard to notice. One incident which was quite obvious was a few days ago we went for a walk in a nearby nature reserve. It was a council run reserve and although cheap, was rather disappointing. But I found myself getting very frustrated by bugs and insects flying about, and very protective of our baby if any got near her. One landed on her face and I was infuriated – how dare you land innocently on my baby’s delicate skin! My reaction was so excessive I stepped back and thought “woah, easy there!” After all the self doubt about lack of feelings for my baby, here I am showing rage at a harmless bug!
That made me realise that of course I care a great deal about her, and would do anything to keep her safe. And to me, that sounds fairly normal fatherly behaviour.
There’s hope for this sane dad yet…
I’m three weeks in to parenthood and I’ve got to say, this isn’t what I expected.
I’m not actually a Nickleback fan, but I’ve had a line from “This is how you remind me” above circling in my head for a few days now – “Are we having fun yet?”
I expected the sleep loss, I expected the mood swings, I expected the exhaustion and I expected the relentless care that the baby would need.
I didn’t expect the lack of balance to these feelings though.
Charlie Brooker described his newborn daughter as a “screaming pet rock” and I can heavily relate. Baby does little more than sleep, cry, scream, eat, fill nappies and vomit (ordered by frequency). Every difficulty is the end of their world and is treated as such. Your whole life is now spent caring for them and making their life as comfortable as possible, but the screams and looks of utter despair from them as you prepare a bottle or change their nappy gives me no gratitude.
Even rare moments of activities you used to enjoy don’t give the same pleasure, as you’re so aware that it’s baby’s prerogative to ruin anything at any time with screams of red faced raging hopelessness.
She does occasionally just lay awake, looking at her new world in wonder, and I’ve seen hints of a smile a few times now. But these moments are rare and far between and give little consolation to the sleepless nights and desperate screams which have plagued the last three week.
They say it gets better. I hope so, because I’m not having fun yet.