Welcome to Fatherhood! To be honest, there wasn't really a welcome sign. Just a 6-pound baby born to greet us with smiles and watery eyes. Everything looked like it was going to be perfect. I was touched, moved beyond tears about becoming a first-time dad. Our baby daughter was born without ever crying. She dumbly stared at us, and we thought she was so cute and calm. We thought we got over the hard part... oh boy, what an understatement.
Fast forward four months later -- being a dad is tough. Babies are not easy to raise. During the first 3 months, both my wife and I craved sleep. We took turns pretending to be dead asleep and not wanting to wake up hoping for the other to wake up and calm/feed a crying baby. If it wasn't my wife, it was my turn to feed our daughter with a bottle. If I didn't hear our daughter's cry, my wife would wake up and nurse. Our baby seemed to have a built-in two hour timer. Every two hours, she would cry. And it was on the dot. If we took 1.5 hours to feed her, she would cry 30 minutes shortly after indicating she was hungry. When the crying stopped, we had whatever small sliver of time remained to sleep.
It was like this for the first 4 weeks. And slowly, there would be 3-4 hour intervals of golden blissful sleep. At two months, it was 5 hours... and now we get 8 hours. You would think getting a full 8 hours of sleep is where the fun of being a father begins, but.... no....
Babies get cuter after 3.5 months. They are so adorable that you want to pick them up and hug them. But they are like leaches. Once you hold a baby, they won't want you to let go. If your arms get tired and you try to set them down, they give a loud cry and back up in your arms they go. And so, at four months, we learned not to hug our baby too much. Reinforce them with too much attention and they become accustomed to being held. There are days our baby daughter is like a Siren. So beautiful from far away.. her cuteness temps us to pick her up and hold her. But once we do, she latches on to us and never wants us to put her down. And so, all day she cries whenever our arms get tired and we try to set her down.
So, fatherhood.... it's tough, but it's worth every effort. I'm happy to be a dad. Despite all of the dirty diapers, stained shirts, and drool, coming home and seeing those cute eyes and babbling coos melts my heart. I look forward to our daughter growing older and the future memories/experiences.