I almost forget what life was like before.
This time last year, I was a different man. Looking at my blog, I partied in Vegas; was still off the high from a 2012 full of adventure and being a man about town — I had the freedom to do just about anything my imagination could whip up! Sarah was a few month pregnant, but I was the father — for me, it mostly meant extra support and being a little more present — I didn’t have to deal with the nausea, hormonal changes or anything else that came with the territory.
This morning, I compared that Casey to the one I saw in the mirror — while a changed man, arguably a more grounded version than the one he knew a year prior.
I haven’t fallen victim to many of the stereotypes and horror stories that veteran parents so love sharing with us newbies: I’m not suffering from chronic fatigue — in fact, I probably sleep better now that I’m home more often; my child hasn’t ruined my life — there were rougher patches in the early months, but as we figure his rhythm out, I love coming home to his coos and smiles as he gets ready to play with his silly Daddy (even if it is for only a few hours a day); no, I’d say fatherhood has been pretty good to me so far, forcing me to step away from the world of glitz and swag I was enthralled with as a lifestyle blogger. It forced me to really look at my life and figure it all out.
So when people ask me what life is like as a parent, I never have a simple answer. With my son creeping up on six months since his exodus from the womb, our relationship’s grown, he’s already developed into a very different person, and I’m trying to figure out what kind of kid he’ll be. Here’s some things I’ve already noticed with him…
L’il Mr. Smiley
Most of the time, I can get him laughing without fail (not really a “laugh, but a wide grin accompanied by the tell-tale sign of his amusement.)
Whether it’s shaking my head side to side like a bobblehead, blowing hair dryer-grade raspberries on his stomach, or creating an entire dance routine for him, I’m definitely his comedian parent.
But the laughs only last as long as the distractions keep up — his default look is a quizzical one as he works to make sense of his world
L’il Mr. Grabbyhands
I didn’t fully realize it until one night where I walked the house with him outstretched before me, and everything we came across was — quite literally — up for grabs. And don’t let his size fool you — the kid’s got a serious vice grip, and may the fates be kid to you should he grab anywhere you find especially painful! (If anyone has a name for the infant supermove where they stick their fingers up your nostrils and then hang on for dear life, I’d love to hear it!)
If I was ever worried about the kid’s coordination, I think I’m good now, thanks.
L’il Big Man
I didn’t start appreciating how quickly kids can grow until within months, he went from a little 6 lb 11 oz thing that came out 3 weeks early to a hulking 20-pound beast, outweighing and outsizing babies months older than him!
Needless to say, I’ve been getting my workout with him as he gets bigger!
So who am I now? Well, obviously I’m still a blogger — if this post isn’t example enough, you can always see more of my exploits on my blog and Instagram. I manage to work to live, balancing the job out with a life that lets me enjoy what money I do see from the biweekly paycheque (Rebalancing Budgets with Babies has to be a future topic!)
Calm. That’s what I feel — calm. That feeling where you know that everything will ultimately be okay. That all the stresses, pressures and problems I face today may not be here tomorrow and are wastes of time and energy — valuable resources I could use elsewhere. That it’s okay if I don’t blog for a bit — good content is good content, and if I employ the patience and determination to put it together, it’ll eventually get there. But above all, six months into fatherhood, I’ve re-learned the value of family and friends — the people you keep close, the people who rely on you. In ways, my world’s gotten smaller as a parent, but more enriching at the same time. Interactions that might last a minute or two with my son mat have impacts lasting days. The time I do get with people I don’t see often is far more meaningful, and makes more of a lasting impression on my mind than when it was all lights and all partying all the time. I feared that the universe as I knew it would shatter with the cries of my son, but all it did was change.
And we could all use a little change in our lives.