Thoughts on Fatherhood from a One Month-Old’s Dad

StarGirl turned one month old yesterday, which is a fact I find absolutely astounding. It really doesn’t seem like it’s been a month already, and at the same time, it seems like StarGirl’s always been here. Regardless of perspective though, a month has passed and we’ve learned a lot over the last few weeks.

Baby’s Grow Fast: StarGirl’s growing fast–she’s already outgrown one of her outfits, which makes complete sense, yet was very surprising at the time.

Getting to Know You: She’s also starting to exhibit a slightly increased awareness of her surroundings, and she’s developing preferences. For example, she’s much rather fall asleep in bed with us than in her own crib. That’s problematic for us because Sue and I don’t sleep well when she’s in the bed–we’re always waking up paranoid that we’re going to roll over her.

What Did You Say? StarGirl’s starting to ‘talk’, making sounds that are different from the normal squeals and gurgles that babies expel accidentally. So far, these sounds don’t seem to mean much, though she tends to make them when she’s happy or playing.

Roll With It Baby! We call StarGirl “Squirmy Wormy” sometimes, because she loves to twist and turn. Over the last two weeks or so she’s almost rolled all the way over on to her side. It’s a little disconcerting when you’re trying to change her and think you’ve got her secure.

Pee Diapers Are Evil: I don’t why, but StarGirl absolutely hates pee diapers. Poopy diapers she doesn’t mind, but pee diapers? She?ll fuss and cry if she has one, and then she?ll scream bloody murder when you change her out of it. We tried covering her with a blanket, on the suspicion that she was getting cold while we were changing her, but alas, that didn’t work. She screamed just as much. Distracting her with toys, talking too her and gently massaging her does nothing to relieve her anger/frustration (ok, I did get a bit of a calm from playing with Peter Rabbit, but when I stopped, she re-doubled her screaming). The current–and perhaps only–solution is just to change her out of the diaper as quickly as possible.

Buttons Are Hard: I never knew that snapping buttons together could be such a challenge. All of StarGirl’s onsesies and most of her sleepers have buttons, and some of them have a lot of them. Half the time when I try and button them up I mismatch a button or two and end up with a lopsided alignment. And naturally, this is usually when StarGirl’s screaming her head off because of one of the aforementioned evil pee diapers. The ultimate challenge, of course, is attempting to do this with after a pee diaper at 2 a.m.

The Bunching Effect: The only thing that rivals buttons in difficulty is sliding nightgowns over StarGirl’s head. The nightgowns typically have an elastic button and a top that buttons. When I slide a nightgown over her head, it usually gets caught up around her shoulders, covering her face, which she hates. So I try and get her head through the gown’s top as quickly as possible, which results in the nightgown being bunched rather comically around her neck. Pulling the nightgown down over her body, as she squirms in discomfort, while you try to support her head and neck with one hand while pulling with the other, is one of those unexpected trials of parenthood that no one tells you about.

The Closeness Factor: Over the last two weeks or so StarGirl’s developed a preference for being held. She cries and fusses if she’s put down, and refuses to fall asleep if she’s not rocked first. We’re slowly working on this one, trying to get her to fall asleep by herself by putting her down when she’s in the “quiet alert” phase, looking around and interested in what she sees, but not so interested that she won’t doze off.

Diablo II Kicks Ass: I bought Diablo II for my iBook two years ago when I got the laptop. I played through the first act, but eventually gave it up–I just didn’t have time to play it, and I was a bit burned out on the hack?n’slash RPG genre. But then StarGirl came along, and I found myself spending plenty of time holding her, but without a lot of things to do with my free hand (typing is just about impossible, and channel surfing gets boring fast.) Enter Diablo II, a game that can be played one-handed since all of the commands can be accessed through a two-button mouse and the scroll wheel. It’s made for an excellent distraction at 3 a.m.

Bookmarks and Quick Links Are Useful: I use the Net every day, but I rarely use bookmarks and quick links (those links in most Web browsers that appear below the “location” bar)–it’s always been easier for me to simply type in the url. Of course, that was before I started surfing the net one handed while holding StarGirl. Now I’m using both of these tools quite a lot, and am slowly setting up my Web browsers to point to my favorite sites. It doesn’t eliminate typing, but it makes life a lot easier.

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