by Pierre le Roux
Tomorrow I will have been a dad for a month. Can you believe it? Since becoming a father I have learned a couple of things that people don’t tell you prior into entering into fatherhood: For starters I have had to make peace with the fact that I will never be completely clean again; Doing things I did before will now take me five times longer; I had learned that I can do so many more things with one hand that I could have ever imagined; and dealing with another human being’s bodily fluids is gross but you get use it.
The first couple of weeks since bringing home our son were a huge learning curve for all of us. Babies don’t come with instructions and they communicate with you in one of three ways – smiling and cute sounds (which is adorable and nice), crying (not so nice) and screaming (the world is ending and we will all die). Luckily for us Michael is a relatively easy baby and he only becomes stabby when he is hungry. Also, apparently if he doesn’t get his bottle after the first three subtle hints that he is ravenous (which I am now acutely attuned to) the apocalypse is upon us and his vocal acrobatics during the perceived end of his world is astonishingly and ear piercingly loud.
During this month I have also realized that your baby’s poop is very important. In fact so important that it is the first thing hubby and I discuss in the morning and several times during the day. Charming isn’t it? You determine your baby’s general health by their amount of poop, times he pooped in a day, its color, its smell and its texture. Frankly, this grossed me the hell out the first two week but then something miraculous happened – I started looking at his poop scientifically and then it all changed. I no longer gag with each poopy diaper and I now can manage to mentally block out the smell. You know that smell that can linger in your nostrils longer than it should. Yes, that smell!
The only time I really got freaked out by poop was when I learned that projectile poop is not an urban baby legend. It’s real people! And it is fucking disgusting! I made this unfortunate discovery last week. I was busy changing Michael’s nappy in which he pooped and as I was cleaning him evidently he was not quite done pooping yet. He let out a fart that was actually a poop and it sprayed all over me. I nearly died! I stood there in total disbelieve and denial while holding Michael’s legs in the air with one hand, a wet wipe in the other and I was totally dumbfounded as what I was supposed to do next.
Do I finish changing Michael’s nappy while covered in shit? Or do I clean myself first and then finish changing his nappy? It was a real profound debate I had in my head that lasted probably three minutes. I decided that even though I wanted to throw up, felt like I was dying due to my OCD and gagging from the smell, that it would be good parenting to first finish changing Michael’s nappy before attending to myself. I remember thinking to myself, as I was soldiering through, that nobody has ever shit on me before and I pray to God that it will never happen again. But, we all know in all probability it will. If poop is not bad enough vomit is worse.
I am not a fan of vomit. This is also the reason why I will never be able to suffer from bulimia. I don’t like to vomit. I don’t like it when other people vomit. And most of all – I don’t like being vomited on. It is right up there with being shit on. Unfortunately babies vomit and in eight out of ten times Michael do it, it is on me. People I am so over vomit right now I can’t even begin to tell you. Apparently it is normal for babies and they out grow it. When I asked our pediatrician exactly when this happens he told me it depends on the baby and they are all different in that regard. Which was totally the wrong answer I was looking for and he probably saw it on my face. Luckily Michael’s vomiting has gotten better, but it still happens every so often. Some days are better than others.
The last important thing I learned was this morning. Michael is on starter solids now. In simple terms for people who don’t have kids, starter solids is basically food that has been totally transformed in a food processor from something that looks appetizing to a rather unappetizing paste like substance. One day when you are old and toothless you will become acquainted with it. Michael has taken to solids quite well. After all he loves eating for which I am grateful. However, timing when feeding your baby is very important; as a parent you need to have a crystal ball handy to be able to predict each and every eventuality before it happens while feeding your baby.
You must be able to predict when your baby will be sticking his hands in his mouth while he has food in it and prevent him from doing that. If you don’t there will be a mess. You have to know when you look away for a split second that your baby will stick his hands in his plate and rub sweet potato purity all over his face and clothes. If you don’t there will be an early bath and wardrobe change. And like what happened to me this morning you have to be able to predict when your baby is going to sneeze while his mouth is full of food. If you don’t you, your baby and everything around you will be covered in a carrot and mince puree. Lovely, and then not only will there be two wardrobe changes but cleaning as well.
I cannot believe I have been a dad for a month already. It is a lot of work, it’s messy work and physical work. I have almost lost 5kg as a result. But that being said it is extremely rewarding work and not a day goes by that I don’t look at Michael with total amazement and pure joy. Not a day goes by that I am not in total awe of this little human and the blessing he is. Being a dad is awesome. Except when it is not, you know that 2% of the time when you are pooped and vomited on.
Till next time.