We are six weeks into this experiment of child birth... Well, I can't really call it an experiment, because it's not like I can hand off my child to someone else and say, "Yeah, thanks for the trial. We had a good time; we are done!"
But since we are terming this as a bit of an experiment, it is one that we are learning on every day. I mean, no matter how much you try dressing and undressing a dummy doll or changing nappies in practice classes, till you actually do it on a moving baby, you don't know how easy (Ha!) it really is. And till you've never really been showered with another round of 'blessings' while changing that nappy, you've not really changed a nappy... if you know what I mean.
And then there's the sleepless nights and constantly being awoken for a feed or a burp (not your own thankfully... I've mastered the art of burping and farting pretty much all night long after those delicious dinners of mine). And so, then you wonder that if I can do that, why can't this little thing figure it out as well. Come on man, seriously, how long does it take to burp? Milk in... air out... burp! But since you are learning (and also teaching), you try to figure out ways to speed up this process (seriously, for those of you that haven't tried it, trying to get a kid to burp can take upto an hour sometimes)... Hold him over your shoulder and pat his back... rub the back... stroke the back up to down... down to up... hold him sideways... walk him... swing him... sing to him (yeah, can you imagine)... Anything to make sure you can go back to bed within 10 minutes at 2.20 AM in the morning.
And then, if you are tired, and you've had enough of listening to your own voice (who would have ever thought, eh?), you just decide to plop the kid on the bed next to you and hope that he just burps in his sleep or pass the air out on the other end... Nobody would know... At worst, what is he going to do, throw up on the sheets? Ah well, go ahead and do it... it's not like our laundry hasn't increased 10-fold in the last six weeks anyway... what's one more sheet!
Of course who can forget or ignore that incessant crying. For heaven's sake little man, speak up. Tell me what you really want. Crying doesn't help anyone and it sure as hell isn't going to solve any problems. Thankfully your issues can only be one of three - you're either hungry, you need a change of clothes or you need to relieve yourself... and so I've listened carefully over the last three weeks to try and decipher which cry represents what... And how wrong I have been. "He's definitely hungry", I've told my wife confidently as I've handed over a crying baby, waking her up from her nap. As she goes to feed him, he flatly refused... and so now you have a cranky baby and an unhappy wife! Way to go genius... so much for figuring that bit out!
I also realized that the crying is strategically timed. You're going to be watching the Game of Thrones season finale tonight at 9... alright; I am going to time my cry for about 9.15P just as Cersei is planning to annihilate all her opponents. Oh, it's Thursday night and time for The Big Bang Theory; surely I can cry now so that you miss some of the most important dialogues on the show... Thank goodness for digital boxes and the ability to record shows... you're going to need those (and a lot of time to catch up on them).
And so the learning continues. It's been six weeks since the little fellow stepped into our lives, but I have to admit that despite all the late nights, poops, nappy changes and burp walks, it has been an incredible experience. If there was ever an apt example of 'on the job training', then this is it. You're constantly worried about the smallest of things... "Oh, he sneezed; is he catching a cold?", "Oh no, he's getting a rash... is that bad?", "He's crying all the time... does he have a tummy ache"; "His head doesn't feel right", "His eyes don't look right"... Blah, Blah, Blah...
But at the end of the day, when you come home and hold him in your arms, when he looks at you in the eyes, and gives you that faintest of smiles, you forget everything else. You are amazed at how simple life really is, and how simple it should be; of how complicated we really make it out to be. You look at him sleep peacefully in his crib, cuddled up under his blankets and you cannot help but smile at the beauty of it all, you cannot help but be thankful for him being in your life... and more importantly, you cannot help but marvel at this thing you have created... this tiny little creature that has the ability to turn your world upside down in more ways than you could imagine... I will admit that the last six weeks have been hard; they've been harder than anything else I've ever done. They've tested my limits, and my patience. But, if someone paid me a million bucks, I would do it all over again... and I would do so even if they didn't!