February 16, 2010

"Hi. My name is Justin and I'm an anxious dad." "Hi, Justin!"


Today, Harper is 90 days old.  According to various research that I have heard about, but not actually read, babies begin to laugh around day 90, on average.  We are anxiously awaiting this development.  My beautiful baby already has an amazing smile and shows her excitement and glee to the point where she looks like she might burst.  I hope this will manifest itself into fits of giggling that are too cute to handle.

Socrates believed that the first laugh was the point when the soul entered the body.  Before that laugh, the baby wasn't a person, only an animal.  This is a wonderfully romantic notion because how could someone who never laughs be considered human?  Unfortunately, various research shows that other animals laugh as well.  Mice laugh when they are tickled, so I've heard.

In any event, the last two weeks have been a bit crazy.  Sara had to go back to work last week and she was not happy about that.  Just in time for her to start, we get blasted with 4000 feet of snow.  School was canceled for me all week, which is lucky because the day care center was closed on Wednesday and Thursday.  Harper and I spent the day together on those days and I got a basic preview of what my summer will be.  I am amazed at how stressed out I was.

Harper was wonderful, but my anxiety was astounding.  At the slightest hint of discomfort on her part, I went into a bald panic, running around the house trying to find a remedy.  Was she hungry? Did she need her diaper changed?  Did she need something to look at?  Did she want to be picked up?  Did she want to be put down?  Did she want a nap?  I know that none of these concerns were immediate or life-threatening, but the sense of panic that flowed through me was absurd.  Looking back on it now, I'm not sure what the big deal was, but that doesn't change anything.  At 4:30-5:00 each day, I picked Harper up and walked to our front room, looking out the window and asking "Is that mommy's car?"

I have no problem doing all of these things and taking care of Harper.  Being alone in the house with her makes me VERY nervous and I have no idea why.  Even if Sara is home napping, I don't have any of these issues.  I just sort of need her in the house to let me know that I'm doing an OK job. 

I HATE that I'm like this.  I want to be happy to have a day home with my daughter and not have that happiness be tainted by feeling of fear that I'm going to do something horrendous to emotionally scar her for the rest of her life.  I've even been taking her to day care slightly earlier than I need to because I've finished doing everything I can think of to do with her and I don't want her to start freaking out on my watch. 

Over this past weekend, we think she had some bad gas and wasn't getting enough sleep.  She was more cranky and miserable than she's ever been.  Normally, she's very well tempered and only cries when she's hungry or needs to be changed.  Even then, it's more like fussing than anything else.  She is a wonderful and content baby.  My fears are completely unfounded.  Logically, I know this, much the way I logically knew that my mother-in-law and aunt-in-law were not going to wrestle and tear her in half a few weeks ago, like I feared.

I think I'm doing alright as a father.  I try to be attentive to her needs.  I keep her entertained, fed, dry, warm and loved.

Why can't I be comfortable just being with her?  I sure hope this passes as she gets older.  Maybe it'll be easier to do this stuff alone when she can communicate a little better...

My brother was going to come up and see his niece and, once again, the weather conspired to keep them apart.  This time, he was as close as Johnstown and couldn't make it out.  Over the summer, when I have the time off, I plan to make a road trip to see several people and take Harper on a nice tour of the east coast.

I had a lot more to say in this post, but I can't remember what it was.  Hopefully, I'll be better about updating more often.  I have plenty of free time to do so...

Thanks to Juliet for the fantastic tye-dyed outfits!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I totally get that panic, and I've raised 2 kids and although they are emotionally scarred I don't think the scarring is horrendous, or one can hope. Scarring is just part of life; the trick is to keep them safe and stay present-she'll feel your love even if you can't figure out what she needs moment-to-moment. A week or two into the summer and you'll be a pro. Looking forward to your East Coast travel, I hope Ardsley or LBI will be on your tour.



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