So, now that I’ve got him home, can someone tell me what the hell I’m supposed to do with him? The care stuff, diaper changes, feedings, I’ve got that. We’ve actually gotten into a nice routine. But how about when he’s wide awake and not screaming his head off? When he’s just staring at me with the widest and most curious blue eyes you’ve ever seen, what am I supposed to do then?
Before he was born, Bex found a parenting book by someone who calls herself “The Baby Whisperer”. Like most baby books, it’s nice in theory but that’s about it. From what I’ve experienced, no book, or blog, or YouTube channel can effectively prepare you for actual parenthood better than living through it yourself. But try telling that to a couple of nervous parents to be. We clung to every nugget of wisdom we could scrape from those pages. Ah youth. Looking back through my oh so parentally experienced eyes, I wish I could go back in time and tell myself, “Look buddy, you can plan all you want, but that kid has plans of his own.”
I’m not knocking “The Baby Whisperer”‘s book, I swear. Actually, just the opposite, we did take something useful away from it that we’re still trying to follow to this day. It’s called the E.A.S.Y. Method. Someone must have the copywrite on that. I certainly didn’t make it up. I’d be a whole lot richer if I did. So, if you’re reading this, please don’t sue me Miss Whisperer Ma’am.
Anyway, this E.A.S.Y. Method thing is an acronym. It stands for: eat, activity, sleep, and you time. If nothing else, it provided Bex and I with a rough plan of how things should go. Now, what is it they say about “the best laid plans”?
Right away we can scratch off the Y. You time is a joke, unless my mother is in town. Then she can babysit while we go grocery shopping for five or six hours, at a nice steakhouse, the kind with cloth napkins, where no one spits up, or cries. I may have cried when we left. But seriously it was a dream. Thanks Mom!
So, we’re left with: eat, sleep . . . and activity. Like I said before, I’ve got the care stuff down. Once I learned how to wrap him up in a swaddle and put some Jimmy Buffett lullaby tunes on YouTube, nap time was a breeze.
It was activity that left me staring at him helplessly. Dude would just lay there staring at me awkwardly. It was like he expected me to entertain him. What do I do with you? I asked him. Can you imagine what he’d say if he could answer?
“Light up a stogie for me, would ya Fat Man?”
“Who says we got nuthin’ in common? How bout your wife’s breasts, huh?”
“I need a favor between pals here. I just dropped a fresh one in my diaper. Waddya say, help me out?”
At first I started reading to him. At least then I could look at the book and pretend he wasn’t staring at me. Trust me, you can only read so much Winnie-the-Pooh before you realize this bear has terrible judgement. He will do anything, and I mean anything for a hit of honey. Do we really want to promote that kind of addictive behavior to our children? Pooh’s friends aren’t much better. When Rabbit, stand up citizen of the Hundred Acre Wood that he is, finds his friend pooh stuck in the doorway of his rabbit hole, the bastard makes art out of his friend’s big yellow ass instead of helping him. Granted, Pooh Bear was breaking and entering to get his honey fix. I guess there’s a moral in there somewhere.
I don’t know which of us got bored with Pooh first but it happened and I switched to serranading Luke with my guitar. We both enjoyed this, a lot. Kid has good tasted in music too. We played everything from southern rock to showtunes. All the while he would kick his legs and move his mouth like he was trying to sing back up. Yeah we loved it. You know who didn’t? The neighbors. So that ended too, at least after nine p.m.
Now, it’s finally happened. I’ve become one of those parents. The one who uses his kid as an excuse to do stuff.
“Why am I reading him Playboy? Gee honey, you know I would never, but Luke said he was interested in the articles. There’s a great one on the other side of that centerfold.”
“Of course I finished a six pack. Just the other day, the baby was bragging that he could out drink me. I certainly showed him.”
And the other day, we baked a cake together, sort of. He dangled lazily from the baby carrier while I did all the work. Typical. But at least I can say we celebrated National Cake Day together.
Finally, a holiday that falls between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I always thought we needed something to break up the monotony of those couple of weeks. It really brings the family together. Only in the good old U.S. Of A. does a Hallmark holiday, manufactured for Pinterest, and Instagram, provide the perfect bonding moment between a father and his four week old son.
And God bless whoever invented the wearable baby carrier. It solved my “what do I do with him?” problem, once and for all. Now, I can do all the stuff I used to do alone before he was born but with a built in best friend. Eating, walking the dog, eating, doing the dishes, having a snack, baking, and eating what we baked are all things I can do that count as “activity time” because we are doing it together.
For now, he’s too little to care if I have the last slice of cake. Best of all, he won’t judge me if I eat it all in one sitting.