Before our son was born, my wife and I watched some movies about babies and parenthood. I particularly remember the movie “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.”
One particular scene cracked me up. It’s when Gary Cooper (played by Ben Falcone) panicked and kept pacing and looking for his car key inside the house. Finally, his wife, Wendy (played by Elizabeth Banks), who was in the throes of labor, threw a magazine or a booklet at him. That helped him get his wits back.
I sympathize with Gary Cooper. When you’re a new father, you face a lot of changes in life, and you may panic for quite a bit.
Here are 6 crazy things I did as a new father. Some of these are pretty silly, some had happened because of accidents and mistakes, but almost all of it was probably because I was clueless and nervous. Or downright afraid of the prospect of taking care of a small human being.
1. Almost missing the entrance of the hospital when my wife was about to deliver our son.
One early morning of February 2013, my wife turned to her side. Then we heard a loud “pop!” I sat up on our bed while she went to the bathroom.
“Is this it?” I thought. But she was due to give birth two weeks from that day. But her OB-Gyne told us that our son could come a bit earlier or later than the due date she set.
After she came from the bathroom, water was still gushing out from her. We called her OB-Gyne, who told us to go to the hospital.
I picked up the bag that we prepared a month before. I called her aunt who volunteered to go with us. We boarded our car and I drove them to the hospital.
After 30 minutes of driving, my eyes must have spotted the entrance to the hospital. But I kept driving. Only after my wife and her aunt alerted me. I stopped, took a U-turn and turned into the hospital entrance.
I know now that the hospital entrance won’t be the last missed turn that I have as a father.
2. Waking up in the middle of the night to check if our infant son is still breathing.
For the first few weeks of our son’s life, I would wake up in the middle of the night to check if he was still breathing. I would bring my ears closer to his nose and chest just to be 110% sure!
Then I will stare at him and marvel at the awesome beauty and mystery of life and fatherhood. A little piece of the wonder of creation that I got to help bring forth.
Then in my mind, I would hear Steven Tyler of Aerosmith sing: “I could stay awake just to hear you breathing…”
3. Feeding our baby too much milk
My wife breastfed our baby boy for a year and a half. It brought some big savings for us! Infant formula is expensive! On some days, though, we also gave our son some formula milk. On one particular day, when my wife went out and I had to feed our son, I ended up giving him too much milk. This must have been when he was 2 months old.
His tummy was so big after my overfeeding incident. But thankfully, he was fine. I didn’t hear any complaint from him except for a loud burp.
4. Getting a babysitter that had Tuberculosis.
My wife and I both work. I work from home and my wife has to go to her office daily. And I need to concentrate and be in my home office for around 6-10 hours daily. We needed a babysitter.
I asked some family and friends for recommendations. My mother recommended a relative. She went to our house in Manila to work and take care of our son.
Unfortunately, after 3 weeks of staying at our place, her cough didn’t seem to improve. We got worried and took her to a doctor.
After some checkup and X-ray, it turned out that she had Tuberculosis!
Everyone in our house got X-ray. My wife and I didn’t have get the Tuberculosis, thankfully. But my son did. For kids, it’s called “Primary Complex.”
He had to go through 6 months of medication and he was just 3 months old at the time! It was a tough time for all of us, especially for our son. We got through this ordeal after 6 months. It’s a long story and deserves a longer blog post.
5. Taking a picture of every single thing our son does
I guess it’s not just me. Every new mom and dad in the world will take photos and post them on social media. And baby photos are the best! Although my son is now 4 years old now, I still look fondly at baby photos that cross my social media timelines.
I just wanted to capture every single thing that our son does–first time to walk, first time to eat solid food, first time to
6. Planning for (and Dreaming of) all the boys’ toys that I can play with (with my son, of course)
The biggest benefit of having a son is the opportunity to relive your boyhood! When he was still an infant, I planned for all the toys that my son and I will buy and play with. Cars, action figures, monster trucks, and maybe even video games.
Our son now has a lot of Hotwheels tracks and cars, lots of monster trucks, Transformers and Marvel action figures, and a whole lot more. But he still doesn’t have a video game console (PS4 or Xbox One). I’m still trying to convince my wife that he needs it. (*wink*)
I still do some crazy things now. But being a father can sometimes do that to a guy. But I don’t have any regret at all. It’s fun and challenging at the same time.