With some very heavy lifting by my wife, our son Owen Michael was born on February 20th, 2013 outside of Philadelphia, PA. With his arrival came a number of changes that were expected, but not fully realized. Nourishment, sleep, and peace of mind have all taken a back seat to Owen’s needs just like the theft of Guido the Italian Sausage that put the entire state of Wisconsin in disarray until its return to the Land of the Brew.
Dinnertime with my wife used to be a simple process revolving around whether we are going to eat in or dine out. And this decision was often subject to change at a moments notice depending upon the day’s events. No matter what we decided, I could always count on ending the day with a meal and my wife. Dinnertime has now become a tactical process of not where are we going to eat, but when. That’s right, a 7 lb. human being who can process food faster than a Cuisinart now dictates our eating routine. Thankfully, our neighbors were quite generous in providing prepared meals during the first week of parenthood. Unfortunately, our luck with the neighbor meal subsidy expired and we’ve been faced with a choice between Kraft Macaroni and Cheese or Campbell’s Spaghetti-Os. We quickly found out that if we hesitated for one moment, we ended up having cereal.
Sleep was once an afterthought in which voluntary functions were easily suspended allowing the body to rest and restore itself. If the day’s happenings required a nap or an early bedtime, my wife and I could simply just fall asleep on the couch or bed. Since Owen, sleep is now like the feature film, Groundhog Day. Instead of waking up to Sonny and Cher’s I Got You Babe every two to three hours, we wake up to the default alarm on the iPhone just before Owen bursts into tears. About an hour later, Owen is resting for his next feeding, while we are resetting the alarm on the iPhone. As an aside, “Ferberization” is not an acceptable option during the baby’s first week of life even though the third shift maternity ward staff had no problem abandoning us at the onset of his first cluster feeding.
Peace, or a state of mental serenity, was always available to my wife and I if we sought to balance the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of life. Unfortunately, our collective anxiety was ratcheted up several notches once we finished playing house in the maternity ward at the hospital. To remediate our elevated anxiety level, we sought out the small victories to help build our confidence in caring for Owen. For me, the small victories ended with an early morning golden shower courtesy of my son during a diaper change. Despite the repetitive nature of diaper changing (and being told by my wife to use a baby washcloth as a penis shield) the golden showers have continued at a relentless pace that not even the nursery walls are safe. I believe the small victories for my wife ended during his newborn photo shoot in which he preferred to model his genitals before soiling his mother and the studio props.
Three weeks after Owen’s birth, we are realizing change. For example, I know my little Cuisinart’s early morning feeding will result in not one, but two pretty nasty diaper changes. I am somewhat confused as to how Owen could defecate twice in one hour through the consumption of breast milk in the middle of the night. We’ve also come to realize that Grandparents, once thought to be overzealous, have brought some order to our life with Owen. Slowly we are eating, resting, and relaxing easier, much like the state of Wisconsin upon the return of the Milwaukee Brewer’s missing Italian racing sausage.