Wednesday, October 19, 2011

One Month Old is the New Four Weeks Old

the stolen nap.
A month. It's been a month since our beautiful baby was born. Things will never be the same. I can't believe how much I love her. My heart may explode at any moment. Earlier today I felt cheated because Lucy snugged in on the couch with her curled up on her chest like a giant cuddly beetle, if such a thing even existed. I was jealous because that's my MO — an afternoon nap with my daughter on my chest, snoozing away, a sleeping face impossibly beautiful, just inches from my own. I try not to breathe on her. I think I've got bad breath and I don't want to subject her to that. I don't want to subject her to anything at all. I call her Little Shoogie way too much.

I'm the research guy. I'm Mr. Step'n'Fetch-it. I'm the backup plan. I can't feed her with my body so I try to do everything else. I don't sleep much, but I'm pretty sure I sleep more than Lucy, which makes me feel guiltier than I've ever felt in my life.

I still feel some of the initial folly of "going to bed." I remember the first night home; getting ready for bed (yawn, stretch) and thinking there is no way this is going to happen. And I was, of course, correct. And it's been that way ever since. Which is fine. It's such a great exercise in low expectations, and an even better antidote to a lifetime of perfectionism.

Because: I can't control this little creature, my Little Shoogie. I can't make her do what I want and neither can Lucy. She's pure and primal. Until very very recently, all she's wanted to do — known to do — is eat, pee, poop and sleep. And cry as necessary in the process of executing any of the former. It's important not to take that personally and at 4:19 am it can be especially hard. But I'm in awe of this creature who has no hidden agenda, no grudges, and is operating on all new equipment.

Ironically, she's just the same as anybody else: she's just trying to be happy with the tools that she's got. Mostly this is about hunger and its slaking and sometimes its consequences. Coming off of the boob, Lucy often proclaims her drunk, as we both shake our heads with impossible joy over those eyes lolling around in their sockets, lips smacking when she really doesn't even know she has "lips." It's fucking crazy. Lately, she's come off the boob and launched immediately into crying which we don't fully understand but think it's probably one thing: she hurts for some reason. Her tummy hurts, for some reason that we hope will pass. Quickly.

I hold my girl — my Little Shoogie — in my arms often, so much, every day. Between Lucy and I she's really and truly almost never touched the ground so far. I look at her and I set a foot one more step down that parenting road, maybe slipping in ways that I've criticized others for in the past. I look in her insanely perfect little face and think and sometimes say: I'm your daddy and I love you and I won't ever let anything bad happen to you if I can help it. For as long as I live, I'll take care of you. I'll do everything I can to help you have everything you want. It's a slippery slope, I know. And I don't mean material things, I don't mean that One Impossibly Valuable Malibu Barbie or — you know — stuff.

I mean love.

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