This is my son, who is 13-days old at the time of this post. He is adorable, beautiful, and I love him to death. But, as a first-time father, there are many things I just didn’t expect.
What did I expect? Based on TV, movies, and anecdotal evidence, I expected the opening of a portal straight to the fiery plains of oblivion which would spit forth a miniature tyrant who would start continuously making noise and bio-hazardous waste, and spend all his days and sleepless nights forcing his mother and I to satisfy his every self-serving need until we became panting, ragged zombies, wearing grim, lopsided (emotionally satiated?) smiles and being covered in streaks of myriad “baby substances”.
This is not what has happened, so here’s a short list of some things that have surprised me these last two weeks.
#1 – Babies do more than cry. Which is to say that he does not spend all of his time crying. He doesn’t even spend half of his crying. Far from the ceaseless cacophony of crying I had expected, he actually only seems to cry when he legitimately needs something, and once he gets that thing (being changed for instance), he shuts off the sirens. He is in fact a very calm baby and spends most of his awake time just looking around.
#2 – Babies poop the rainbow. Ok, maybe not the entire chromatic scale, but in two weeks, I’ve seen diaperfulls of every earth tone I can think of. All we need is some blue and he’ll have produced every color I know.
#3 – Babies smell good. They really do. That “new-baby smell”, as my wife has referred to it, would (in my opinion) make an excellent scented candle. Someone get Glade on the line.
#4 – When he was born, the hair on my son’s head was longer than the hair on mine. I thought babies were born bald, or at most only had a fine covering of short random hairs. My baby came out with a full head of hair – long hair at that. How old is old enough for the first haircut?
#5 – Babies get acne. I always thought babies had perfect skin. When was the last time you saw a picture of a baby with a face looking like pizza? Well apparently it happens due to overdoses of hormones from their mother, and goes away after a bit.
#6 – He actually likes me. I just kind of took it for granted that I would be the kind of dad seen in the sitcoms – the clumsy dad – and in particular that I would be bad at soothing little Matthew. I was surprised and delighted when I found out that I could comfort him and he stops crying in my arms.
#7 – We (she) had a big baby. For those of my readers that don’t ‘do’ metric (about 95% by my estimate), 4.14 kilograms = 9.13 pounds. 51 centimeters long too, which is about 20 inches. Everyone keeps telling us how he looks like he’s older (see also: bigger) than his age. I imagine he’ll keep hearing it until he hits high school, the same way I did.