Monday, October 19, 2009

Mother Knows Best

Let me begin with a disclaimer: I have a wonderful husband who already has been a shining example of what a dad should be. Whenever I have been even close to my breaking point because of hormones, a crying baby, a neurotic dog, and a house that desperately needs an organization fairy, he has been there to swoop in, grab my son, and say, "you need a break. Go take a bath or a walk or just get away for a little while." He also takes every Friday night with the baby, getting up to change him and bring him to me in bed for a meal before putting him back to sleep. Sometimes this seems ridiculous because why should we both lose sleep, but you would be shocked how much easier it is to fall asleep when I only have to wake up for 15 minutes as opposed to 45. We also have an agreement that when I go back to work, he will actually do this Fri-Sun nights. What a saint. And every time I see the two of them together, I scramble for my camera because I am reminded how lucky I am to have these two boys that adore me and each other.

However, I learned tonight that even sainthood has it's limits. Like fingernail clipping. And the bedtime routine. ::Sigh::

Around 7, Jacob and I were happily playing on the floor, switching between tummy time and smiley time, when I decided that it would be a good time to clip his nails. Mistake...instant screaming and tiny little hands that were moving so fast I may have accidentally nipped skin. My dear husband got on the floor with us and for 7 blissful fingers kept baby boy occupied by talking, singing, and making faces. Then he quit...just stood up without saying anything and got back into his recliner. WTH? Haven't you heard the phrase "when you start something, finish it?" I let him know that I wasn't happy he quit on us, and asked him if he was ever going to do any of the hard parts of baby-raising, and he replied that he'd be happy to cut his fingernails if I would show him how. I reminded him that there was no instruction manual for these things and that somehow I, his brother, and anyone else that has ever had a baby just somehow figured out how to do it, so I'm sure he could give it a try sometime.

I think he was feeling guilty for not doing enough, so he decided to put Jacob to bed while I was cleaning the kitchen. Major FAIL. Poor dad...he tried so hard, but he just doesn't have mom's touch. Or her swaddling skills. Or her breastmilk. He came downstairs with a screaming baby, giving me a look that just breaks my heart. It's part sheepish, but mostly it's all full of guilt and sadness that he upset our son and added to my stress level. Thanks god he wasn't crying, because that would have dissolved me into tears as well. It made me think for the first time that for most men, it's got to be incredibly difficult to be a first time dad of an infant. He wants to be able to soothe Jacob and calm him down, and about 60% of the time he does, but deep down, there really is just something about mom that babies respond to.

I'll try to remember this when Jacob is twelve, telling me how mean I am and then running off to play Playstation with his cool dad.

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