I have been doing the dad thing now for 41/4 years give or take.Going from normal guy to being a dad has been a pretty steep learning curve. I don’t think there has been any other period in my life where I have learned so much so fast. Likewise I don’t think there has been a time in my life where it was so critical that I learned so much so fast. While I have picked up a lot along the way here are five things I wish I knew before I became a dad;
1. Babies Don’t Know How To Aim At Burp Cloths- I wouldn’t hold Simeon without also having a burp cloth on my shoulder. Spit up sounded gross, looked gross, and smelled gross. I didn’t want it on me, or even really near me so I was going to protect myself with the shield that is burp cloths. The only problem with this plan is Simeon didn’t know how to aim his spit up at the burp cloth I kept slung on my shoulder. He would spit up on my back, hands, chest, legs, pretty much everywhere really. The burp cloth did nothing.
2. Newborns Actually Sleep A Lot, Except When They Suddenly Don’t- I was expecting a lack of sleep when we brought home our kids. What surprised me was how much they actually slept. All of my kids for their first two weeks slept more or less 22 hrs a day. Of course I now know this is the period where babies make sure you like them. But once they figure their place in the home is secure they wake up, loud, hungry, and often.
3. ‘Terrible’ Doesn’t End At Two- Terrible twos I knew about. I heard about them all the time both before and after I became a dad. But doesn’t the term ‘terrible two’ seem to imply that the terribleness ends at two? It doesn’t. In our house ‘terrible’ started growing at three and has really flowered at four. At least I hope this is the full bloom I would hate to think we have a terrible five on the way.
4. 2am Is A Lot Later When You Don’t Want To Be Awake- Before Simeon was born it wasn’t unusual for me to stay up until 2am watching TV (Stargate SG-1) or playing my XBox 360 (Fable 2). 2am didn’t even seem so bad. I half lazed on the couch as I watched or played, then when sleep was about to overtake me I would remember that I ought to go to bed. My experience with being awake with a baby was different. For starters at 2am they might just be warming up for a much longer night.
5. It Really Is Worth It- While I technically knew this before I was a dad I am not sure I always believed it. For a while all I could see was what I was giving up to become a dad and I wasn’t sure I liked the trade. I have long since stopped thinking this way. I without a doubt have less ‘me time’ but the ‘us time’ I traded it for brings me a lot of joy.
Those are five things that I learned the hard way. What about you, what do you wish you knew before you became a parent?