Saturday, July 27, 2013

Mr. Mom

Let me tell you something: It is such a thrill being a dad. Seriously. I always knew I wanted kids but when it actually happens its all so mixed up and exciting. On April 30th, my entire life changed. What happened was my wife woke up that day to inform me that her water had broken. Quick as a flash we packed up all our stuff and drove to the hospital. The hospital was 16 miles away, traffic was mild. My wife was not worried in the slightest. Called my work and officially started my paternity leave.

10 hours and a whole lot of praying later, our daughter was born. I was right their on the front line, making grown-up decisions, having a surreal feeling about the experience. She was a tough one and had some trouble coming out so we had to sign papers for a C-section; a procedure we originally dreaded.

A team of doctors and nurses worked hard and made me proud by being very professional, calm and even joyful. They took our daughter to a table where they cleaned her up.

The doctor working on my wife said, "Hey Daddy, go ahead. You can go over and say hi to your daughter."

So I sat right up and I did.

There she was, the little tyke who was previously kicking around inside my wife's belly.

Naturally, I found the humor in the situation as she turned her head to me and cried out.

"Hi, kiddo. Name's Roberto. I'm your father."

I held out my hand for a shake.

Her transfixed eyes studied me then she cried again.

"I know, I know. It was tough in there, huh?"

Again, she studied me curiously, then let out a small, little, teeny-tiny cry.

"I know. I'm sorry. I know it sounds like I'm shouting. I only have two settings: Loud and Too Loud."

This made the doctor crack up.

The funny thing is, she actually kept quiet whenever I spoke. She was actually hanging on my every word. It was so neat.

They cleaned her up some more then we all regrouped in our own private room. It was a room where we endured what I would later dub hell week. I didn't want to sleep, forgot to eat and always questioned the next checkup, blood test and procedure. She was so small and I was protective of her. In five days I must have racked up as little as 9 hours total.

In the end she had to go into a light box to settle down something called Billy Rubin.

We were able to bring her home, once it settled down and we couldn't have been happier. As we fed her in the nursery, my wife was telling me something funny and I laughed. Then our daughter laughed. Then we all laughed.

Over these past couple months our daughter has grown, gotten chunky, gotten cuter (didn't know that was possible) and totally looks like her mom.

I've played with the idea of writing a Dad-Guide Book. I guess my first chapter would be titled: "Don't panic. Everything is already all kinds of chaos."

Raising this kid has been non-stop fun. It's also been very revealing. She seems to get smarter every day. 

Here's what I've learned about myself while raising our daughter:

  1. Changing diapers doesn't phase me. I used to work sewer and water and have filled my quota for smelling the foulest things of all the land.
  2. I'm always trying to make our daughter laugh. It isn't hard to do. But if you make her laugh to much, she gets the hiccups.
  3. I feel at ease in caring for her.
  4. When she cries I don't get angry or annoyed. It just makes me love her even more. She's crying because she needs me. As a parent, it makes you feel good.
  5. Having a kid promotes the idea of becoming a recluse. I'm a writer already, so it kind of works.
  6. Speaking of writing, you'd think that raising our daughter would cut into my writing time. Quite the contrary. Since I have a 2nd shift job, my duty is to help out where I can. My main deal is staying up until 5am for the midnight feeding. After a bottle, a change and a seat in the rocker, my daughter is out like a light, freeing me up to write sometimes 3 to 4 hours at a time. Talk about a boost.
  7. Becoming a father has filled me up and made me feel accomplished. I don't care about getting rich or traveling the world. As long as I have my wife and my kid to look after, my life is complete.

Thanks for reading.


One Happy Papa

(Sophia Grace Scarlato)

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