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Admit it, all of my one-post-a-week schedule aside, you keep coming back to this blog because you expect pearls of wisdom from me that you cannot get anywhere else.

I’ll give you one: This whole thing called parenthood is awfully hard.

There she is, just a few days old, lying on a blanket and moving both of her feet and arms according to some inner beat that I cannot hear. She eats, she poops, she sleeps. She is quiet most of the time, but starts crying for no apparent reason at random points in time. Is she hungry? No, she just finished eating not long ago. Does she need to be changed? No, I just changed her diapers a few minutes ago and the new one still looks and smells pristine. Is she uncomfortable? Is she in pain? What does she want? I’ll do anything, just tell me what it is that I need to do.

She can’t tell me.

I’ll pick her up, rock her for a while, make silly sounds at her or try to reason with her as if she could understand my words, drive myself crazy for a while without making any visible impact on the little person’s disposition, and then suddenly whatever bothered her is gone and she falls asleep. Or her mother decides that it’s been long enough since the last feeding.

I only lost a few billion of my nerve cells in the meantime.

I don’t do well to the extreme when one of my children is in any sort of physical discomfort. I feel helpless. I hate feeling helpless. Especially when I don’t know what is going on. And she won’t be able to tell me for a while.

Of course, now is one of the easiest parts. Caring for a newborn is, after all, fairly straightforward and has little variation. Wait till she starts walking [tripping, slipping, falling]. I should know, I already have well-developed examples of my own…

When parenthood first happened to me nearly sixteen years ago, I half-jokingly told everybody who asked that I did not feel ready to be a father. I have a nagging suspicion that I did not manage to get ready in the intervening years. Emotionally, at least.

Somebody is awake. Gotta go.


  1. Konstantin

    Did I promise to point and laugh? I can’t remember. Because if I didn’t, I won’t. But, having just gone through that, I don’t think I should anyway.

  2. mattw

    I’m with you there too. We’re to the point where the little one isn’t walking yet, but she crawls at super sonic speeds, goes up the stairs (especially when no one’s looking), and puts every scrap of lint or anything left behind by the three year old in her mouth.

  3. WendyB_09

    My boss has an 11-month old girl who went from crawl to hang on to everything in the room to weeble wobble at a dead run in about a week. His acting out her first steps across their very large kitchen was a riot.

    You’ll do fine. You’ve been there and done this before, it will come back to you quicker than you’ll realize.

  4. Brian Greenberg

    Look at it this way – you must have felt the same way with the other two girls when they were this age. If that “helpless” feeling left you so completely with them, it will surely do so again.

    Just enjoy the good things about infancy and don’t sweat the hard stuff – they will pass & fade in your memory. If they didn’t, we’d all have one (or zero?) children.

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