Quick message from a new father whom is slowly emerging from a self-imposed seclusion.

Monday, our son Xander was born. Since then I've been getting to know who this new human being is. I've been taking care of most of his, and my wife's, needs. We've shared many moments and lived a life without distractions. Like Zen Buddhist monks our only concerns are food, sleep and poop. The first few days I shunned my laptop, but now that my parents are in town we've been able to request and obtain the high technology items that permeate every action performed within the 21st century. Now as my wife, and son sleep I am quickly typing this post. Soon they will be awake and a new set of tasks will be have to be performed.

While I have the time I just wanted to mention one anecdote. Many instances I've heard that the greatest moment of one's life is that first glance at your new born child. To be honest, that moment was surreal, hard to believe, hard to digest. I didn't know quite what to expect and suddenly there he was. It was all very quick, and the sights and sounds of the OR reminded me of being at the lab. So it was in a sense a letdown. But that magic moment did arive ... the next night at 3AM. Xander, after being fed, could not sleep and was crying with a distinct dry scream that babies do oh-so-well. I was calmly trying to ease his fright, and found that the only to sooth him was to stick my pinky in his mouth. There I was the human pacifier. After 20min I tried to let go of him and pull out my finger, but he instantly started to cry again. What to do? I decided to bring his small shaking body to my cot and lay him down next to me. I knew at the time that this was not an "accepted practice", but lying next to me, our two warm bodies comforting each other, I was able to calm him down and get him to sleep. We stay that way until 6AM. I won't even try to describe that feeling. All I will say is that these were by far the best 3 hours of my entire life.

More like this

As I head into each weekend, I start to think about possible topics for Mommy Monday. What will inspire me? What will my readers be interested in? What do I feel comfortable writing about? I debated a couple of topics this weekend, but I think I've settled on an update on breast-feeding a toddler.…
This will be my first foray into baby blogging (technically it's my second, however the first ended up being somewhat accidental). What I hope to explore through these posts will be child development through the lens of anthropology and primatology as I observe my child going through various…
We're taking SteelyKid on her first road trip today, down to Boston to visit Kate's parents for a few days. This ought to be interesting, as the drive is approximately as long as her longest naps. The disruption in her normal routine may or may not lead to an increased need for baby-calming, so…
Yesterday my daughter (the one in my picture, but older now) started sneezing---a lot. Allergy season in this part of the country is brutal. We keep a box of kleenex on every flat surface in the house. But this morning she started coughing, and had a low-grade fever, so we knew she was sick, not…

Don't worry too much about accepted practice. There is a very wide range of "normal", and nothing will be usual for a long time.

Good luck.

Congratulations! Our first child (a son) is scheduled to arrive sometime this week too. I have yet to figure out how to balance parenting and science--be sure to post any tips you figure out along the way.

Wow, you're having a fantastic year so far, aren't you? Best wishes to all of you.

Congratulations, Alex! (and to Xander, and your wife).

Keep us posted about the great adventure, as developments arise.


So far as tips for balancing science & new parenthood:

-sleep will be lost
-your memory and focus will suffer
-learn to write yourself notes to remind yourself of what to do.

I semi-recall the first few sleepless months many times getting up from my desk, walking to my nearby bench and forgetting why I walked there. Keeping track of things with lists and reminder notes written when I could focus helped get me through.

That I still sometimes forget what I am doing only minutes after conceiving of action is beside the point...

hmm. i had the same problem with my mikey when he was young. but i just stuck a hot water bottle and a ticking clock next to him to shut him up.

then again, i guess dogs and babies are a little different... or are they? i smell experiment!

jk! congrats alex! i'll try to hold down the fort while you're gone.

Congratulations I am so happy for you, jenni and Xander!!!

I looking forward to hear all about the best hours of your life. We will call tomorrow...


(1) Congratulations to you and Jenni!!! (2) Excellent choice of name!

I think it's important to set your own 'accepted practice.' Nurses know a lot, but you'll find your own best way. Watching your infant sleep (and co-snoozing) is one of the few purest moments of bliss that one can have--cherish it.

Our daughter never really took to the pacifier, although the finger was always accepted and effective (until the teeth come in). Learn to wash your hands frequently both for the finger and the long slog of colds that are coming your way. I never got as sick as I did that first year.

Thanks everyone.

And Byron, as usual your comments are always prescient. Today we came back from the hospital, after dinner I had to go to the local pharmacy to pickup my wife's prescription, but I could not find my car keys. The last thing I remember is locking the car and stuffing them into my jeans. I usually keep my car keys in my coat pocket, but the weather was so mild that I was not wearing anything over my long sleeved shirt.

So needing to get to the pharmacy, my parents, Jenni and I sifted through the dozen or so bags we carried into the apartment and then searched throughout the apartment with no result. Finally after two hours of frustration my father exclaims BINGO! It turns out that my car keys were in the pocket of HIS coat, which was hanging in the closet at the time of the discovery. We are guessing that I must have stuffed my keys there after we came in, and that I must have mistaken his coat for mine. But to be honest I don't remember a thing.

Congratulations, Alex!

I honestly wasn't quite sure what I was getting into when our son, your anagram, Axel, came into the world. He was big - over 10 lb - and I am so glad I was there at his birth, though with a C-section, it almost seems odd to call him that. He hated his first bath with a passion. His second bath was much better.

Our experience with the surgeons was great. Our experience with the nurses over the next few mandatory recovery days was a much more mixed bag: sweet, inept, insensitive, curt and/or angels in every combination. Whining at the lazy husband (me) sleeping away when I had been up with the baby all night. Stopping pain medication without telling you. Bringing popsicles to make you feel better. There is really nothing that can prepare you for the first time except the first time itself.

We just don't function all that well with fleeting, nervous snoozes, and there's quite a lot of that for the first little while.

The very first 4-hour-in-a-row sleep your baby has... you probably won't be able to enjoy it. We were checking on his breathing and temperature almost constantly. It's the first true break in the mental fuzz. Well, the first one after your parents, who actually know that you aren't supposed to look like the living dead, offer to watch the baby just so you can get some sleep.

For the first many months of baby life... I would highly recommend an ItzBeen. It was a life-saver in those halcyon hectic very-scheduled days.

Also, don't boil and disinfect the heck out of everything; it's truly not worth more than soap and water.

For those who (or whose wives) are about to go through any of this C-section business, make sure they put the IV drip in the non-dominant hand!

It's 17 months later for me and I am exhausted more from trying to stop my toddler from getting into serial, equivalent trouble, but we have been more than paid back for that by his chicken and dog imitations, giving us hugs when he does something to make us sad, babbling incoherently while reading books, dancing to... well, pretty much anything and sharing his food back with us... even when that's gross. It's all worth it so far, but it's still a long time to be tired ;)

Hope you and yours get their minds back, Alex, and hugs for all.

Congratulations, Alex! Big hugs for all of you.

Welcome to parenthood, Alexander!
In having Xander suck on your pinky and then sharing 3 hours of mutual comfort you have just tasted the big highs that parenthood offers you. Yes, you will pay the high price for this joy ( like many more sleepless nights) but I know that it is well worth the investment.
You and Jenni wil be, and already you are, great parents. Xander is lucky to have you and you certainly have been showered with life's biggest gift in having him.
Enjoy every minute of the ride!
Love to all three!
Zia Olga

Ma Alex! Congratulations, and welcome to the land of the sleep-deprived :) I have to say that having a baby changed my life in ways I couldn't even begin to imagine. Whatever pre-conception I had was so completely off the mark as to not even register. You'll spend the next few weeks (hell, years, probably) asking yourself questions like 'what did I get myself into?' and 'am I doing this right?'. There is no right answer to any of those. The best pieces of advice I can give you is sleep when the baby sleeps and things will get better. The first few weeks are hard, especially if you don't have a few extra helping hands. Sleep deprivation will kick you in the head with a vengeance and make the simplest things seem like climbing Kilimanjaro. It gets better. You get used to it. Colic goes away. Sleep periods get longer. And then they start smiling at you :)

Congrats dude!

-sleep will be lost
-your memory and focus will suffer
-learn to write yourself notes to remind yourself of what to do.


Gets easier with the second one it seems.

Ahhh yes, your blog just reminded me of one year ago when my son was born. I had to have a C-section because he was breech and the moment they yanked him out of me was not what I expected. I expected a huge sense of accomplishment, hormones raging, cries & laughter. nope. I didn't have any of that. (My husband did, though. I looked at him and said "Seriously, that's it?" I didn't feel bonded to him or immediately taken with this little 'thing'. It was not until a few days later that I finally realized that I've done nothing but stare at this little baby for days. Staring in amazement and wonderment. That's when my journey of discovering this little man started.
I wish you the most happiness!