The First Month

The first month is over.

Any parent will tell you the most difficult time when you have a new kid is that first month. If you can make it through the first month, then everything will be ok. Because during that first month, let’s be honest, you have no idea who this new person in your house is. He is a stranger that has moved in and taken you spare bedroom which in turn upsets the dogs because now they have no where to sleep.

Is he safe or will he steal the china? Does he pee on the toilet seat and can we leave him alone with Little Hoss? You just don’t know what kind of personality your new kid will have and what things will work on him that maybe worked on his sister.

It’s a whole new learning process. And even though my wife and I have been through this once before it’s a new ball game that doesn’t resemble the first kid that much. You have to find your groove all over again which has bothered me this first month. Little Hoss and I were a team. We knew what the other one wanted. Little Hoss knew that Daddy wanted the remote, so she would always bring it to me. I knew that Little Hoss always wants a bite of my dinner, so I would always give her some. It took us almost two years to work all that out.

There were some rough times but the point is that we were committed to finding a way to make sure that superdad did not lose his mind and still had time to watch football. She’s been great and has been watching with me for almost 2 years. In return, I taught her how to make the sign for touchdown, like every responsible father should.

But now we have to start over and find out what Bubba Hoss is all about. What makes him tick, what are his likes and dislikes? If he had a million dollars, what would he do with it? If he had to choose between saving his mother or his father, which way would it go? And most importantly, what calms him down the most when he begins to cry.

That’s really what that first month is all about. For new parents, let me introduce you to something I call the 8:00 pm crazies. This is the time of the night that my son decides that he no longer wishes to sleep, eat or play monopoly. The only thing he really wants to do is scream his head off. Now this can vary in times and 8:00pm is not a general rule to all children. My daughter did this at 11:00pm, but it was the same behavior.

For some reason, they just want to be awake and pissed at that time. So as a parent you go through your tried and true rituals to see if any thing is wrong. First, check the diaper to make sure there’s no log in there. Second, put him on the boob as that is soothing to everyone. Third, throw a pacifier in his mouth and pray to god that he takes it. And finally, check for any crazy terrorists that may be trying to abduct the results of my uber-patriotic seed. I have given birth to the future Captain America.

But during the crazies, for some reason only known to the cosmos, none of this works. He is not hungry, he hasn’t crapped himself, he spits the pacifier out like it is made from dog drool and there is no terrorists anywhere near the bedroom. He just decides that this would be the best time to test out his lungs.

I don’t know why this is the way it is. I don’t know why it is at the same exact time every night. I do not know why my daughter did this at 11:00pm instead. But there is one thing for certain: there is no other time in my life that I wished so very badly that I was deaf.

I know, it’s a horrible wish, but I kid you not I wished it. I wished that God would strike me deaf and at the same time give me the body of a 20 year old. Anyone who knows about negotiation knows that you ask high first then come down in the compromise. That is where my head was at.

Because, trust me, nothing makes you feel quit so much as a bad parent as when you cannot get your kid to stop crying and you have no idea of why he is crying. You start to take it personal. You assume the kid is crying because he found out that once during college, and only once, you may have cheated on an exam. Or that once you didn’t call the girl that you said you were going to call and the reason you didn’t call her is because you were hooking up with her best friend. You assume that your memory is ingrained into the genetics that you passed on and the reason he is crying is because you are a rotten person and a rotten father.

And now that you are accused, you go on the defensive. You start telling the kid that he didn’t know what it was like back then and how everyone was into free love. You explain to him that you always meant to call but lost the number. You ask him why does he have to judge you, what makes him an expert on this stuff anyway? I mean, come on, just who in the hell do you think you are any way, bub?! In fact, I think you should stop crying right the hell now and maybe you could listen to the reasons I had to do what I did. Sure, they were tough decisions, but who else is going to make them?!

And right there, right at that moment when you are arguing with your brand new son, you realize that you have lost your sanity. You are officially crazy. Of course your kid may be thinking those things but there is no way he is saying them, he loves you, why would he hurt you in such a way. That and he can’t talk, so maybe you have gone a little bit off your rocker because your kid is screaming at the top of his lungs and nothing you have tried is making him any happier. No parent wants an unhappy child because somehow this reflects poorly on us and if Oprah came into this house right now with TV cameras you are sure that the subject of her show would be “Bad Fathers, how to find them and get ride of them. With Dr. Oz.”

This is what the first month of parenthood is all about with a new kid. It’s learning him as he learns us. Sometimes he is just going to want to wail and you have to find a way of dealing with that. With my daughter I discovered something and this is what I am going to use on my son.

She would scream her head off. I would get out of bed and ever so tenderly change her diaper, feed her and put in a pacifier. She would continue to scream. Then, like a loving father I would gather her into my lap.

I would look right down at her, smile, and then throw in my Ipod to a little Rob Zombie. I let her know that she could scream until her heart is content because in my mind she was singing the chorus to More Human than Human. Thus my sanity was saved and my daughter got to appreciate the “repeat track” button.

Looking at my son though, I’m guessing he might be a more Metalica kind of guy. Maybe even some Nirvana, we’ll have to see. It’s very important to get to know what kind of man he is going to grow up to be.

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