Fatherhood Adventures

I am a firm believer in the notion of “baby power” and it should not be underestimated.

There’s no other way to put it – my 9-month-old son rules the house with an iron fist. Sure, a little bit of hyperbole is at work here, but he has a way of dominating all aspects of life for my wife and I, but what’s strange is we love it. It’s a good thing we enjoy having this bundle of joy run our world because it’s keeping us busier than ever, especially now that he is moving around on his own with ease and filling our house with some tremendous babble sessions.

My appreciation and understanding of “baby power” runs deep these days. At no time has it been more evident than the last couple weeks as my wife has been recovering from surgery on a ruptured disk in her back. The injury, which may or may not have occurred while lifting our son, took place on our wedding anniversary. Part of her recovery includes many of the standard orders from the doctor, but there was one that stood out. She could not lift anything over five pounds. This was huge, considering our son now weighs in at a robust 25 pounds.

The reality of the situation hit my wife hard when the surgeon detailed the recovery process in the emergency room two weeks ago. It included no driving or exercising for two weeks and no “BLT” (bending, lifting and tugging) for 12 weeks. As the doctor continued to explain other aspects of the surgery, Pam immediately realized, as did I, what that meant. She could not pick up or hold her baby boy for three months.

I could tell by the look on her face she did not hear what the surgeon had to say from that moment forward. It was similar to the way students are when teachers return graded tests and then try to talk about them. She had a glazed over look in her eyes, but she knew the surgery had to happen. She had not been able to hold Beckett while she was injured. Yet, understandably, she struggled with the realization she would not be able to be alone for an extended period of time with her own son for about 12 weeks.

Prior to her surgery, Pam was granted a few minutes to hold Beckett before the 12-week countdown began. However, that almost did not happen, as some staff frowned on a baby being permitted in certain areas of the hospital. Fortunately, after my wife made it clear she was not moving ahead with any surgery until she got to see her boy, some rules were bent and I was able to bring him back to her. I felt for sure I was going to walk in that holding area and find my steadfast wife stuck in the doorway with both arms and legs spread out, preventing them from taking her anywhere. It was a good thing it did not get to that point and just another confirmation that what a mom wants she usually gets when it come to her child.

The surgery took place two weeks ago tomorrow, and I am happy to say Pam is doing well with the physical recovery. As far as adapting to her new role as a mother with an injury preventing her from carrying on with her life as she wishes, that’s a slower process. Basically, she has to ignore all her instincts.

There are so many things she cannot do today that were common tasks previously. Her independence is shot. She cannot reach down to pick up his bottle if he drops it. She is unable to pick him up if he rolls into a toy and starts to fuss. She is unable to comfort him in the middle of the night if he wakes up for whatever reason. She cannot give him a bath. She cannot pick up his pacifier off the floor if he drops it from his bouncy seat. She cannot put him in his highchair to eat. And the list goes on and grows by the day as we are constantly amazed at what weighs more than 5 pounds. We actually contemplated weighing a full gallon of milk the other day to see if it surpasses the threshold. According to Wikipedia, it does, weighing about eight pounds.

The good news is there’s no time for gloom and doom around our house. We are too busy. There’s a little man that craves attention most of the day and requires supervision all of the day.

Thanks to a wealth of kind and generous family and friends, Pam’s transition from proud independence to a total reliance on others is going as well as can be expected. Beckett and her have a sitter whenever I am working, and these kind souls have been wonderful to step up and help us in a time of need.

As for me, I have it easy, compared to what my wife is going through. I can care for our son just fine and relish having him in “Daddy Day Care,” where we do all things silly including raspberry blowing, barrel roll competitions, laughs over dirty diapers, Eskimo kisses, baby bench presses, baby air tosses, rounds of peek-a-boo, sleeping, eating and all that good stuff.

While in “Daddy Day Care,” some funny things have inevitably occurred in recent weeks. I think most fathers by nature are not as attentive as mothers when it comes to the kids. I try my best to defy that generalization, but I am a guy and can’t help that my mind does wander easily from time to time. Consequently, I have heard my share of friendly requests over the last two weeks from my soul mate. There have been a few “honey, he’s under the ottoman again” or “the dog is still licking his face” or “he threw his pacifier on the floor again” or “do you smell what I smell?”

I joked with her the other day how she went to great lengths to get out of her diaper duties, but I know truthfully she would switch places with me in a heartbeat. The countdown is on.

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