Adjusting to the hectic routine
For most of the first month of fatherhood, I've felt a lot like Phil Connors in "Groundhog Day."
However, for me the alarm goes off every three hours or so and "I Got You, Babe" is absolutely literal.
I've nearly forgotten what it's like to sleep eight consecutive hours. I've now watched enough daytime television to be disturbed by the revelations that Ronnie from "The Shield" is now pitching insurance and someone has gone to the trouble of trademarking "BYOL" - "Bring Your Own Lettuce."
It's a hectic routine of dispensing food, cleaning messes and changing clothes.
Over and over, we're washing and refilling bottles, warming water in the Keurig, heating bottles, feeding John Michael, burping John Michael, changing John Michael's diapers, rocking John Michael, frequently struggling to translate his alien cries and complaints, referring often to our baby bible and, on the rare occasions when that fails, searching the Internet for clues.
Actually, to be truer to my geeky self, I feel more like William Adama in "33," the Battlestar Galactica episode where the fleet has to jump away every 33 minutes to escape the Cylons. In my case, though, the Cylons are replaced by a hungry baby and he grants me at least a few hours of respite at a time.
I gripe a little, but I also have to admit that I wouldn't trade this time with John Michael for anything in the world. And it could be worse. I could be our dog Huck or our cat Sienna.
For Huck, it's actually a bit of a trade-off. He loses a big chunk of the attention he used to get, but someone is (for now) always home with him. He hasn't had a major panic attack or torn through the kitchen garbage during the past month. And he still gets to sleep in the bedroom with us.
For Sienna, it's been devastating. I've had her for 15 years, from my first marriage, and she has always been MY cat. She would curl up in my lap, sleep on my bed and prowl the window sills. Now, she's exiled every night, wailing beyond the closed door until she relents and tucks herself in on my upstairs office chair.
So much change, so quickly. I'm grateful that my mother took an entire week off from her job - unpaid vacation - to help me and Catherine transition the house for the baby during the first week. I'm grateful that Catherine took modified maternity leave, working part time for a while to make sure we share the load. I'm grateful that her mom and aunt have given of their own time to shower John Michael with attention and affection.
For all I might grumble, this little boy really has brought our families closer together.
Totally worth the repetition while it lasts.
Wes Platt can be reached at 919-419-6684 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow on Twitter at @HS_WesPlatt. Connect on Facebook at facebook.com/wesplattheraldsun.