Something I had always been acutely aware of is that when two people have a baby, there’s a good solid 6 weeks that go by where you stop seeing them in public. But shortly after that, the couple begins to dare to make random public appearances. Like last week, we attempted to take Jack with us to buy groceries. Really, there’s no need for me to paint the details of that story; if you can imagine it, that’s what happened. Therefore, today I went alone to buy groceries. It took just as long being that I’m a guy and we, the male species, don’t have instincts to tell us things like where to find vanilla extract or even at our own house where the cutting boards go in the kitchen.
But with me still not having a job yet and with the cold winter weather, the three of us have spent a lot of time indoors. Now I know what it’s like to be a 29 year-old retired millionaire who gets to stay at home all day in his pajamas and eat cereal for lunch. Minus the million dollars and plus the need to actually make a living. So after a month of constantly looking online for jobs and applying, and taking care of Jack, and watching random documentaries instantly on Netflix through the Wii, we decided we were brave enough to take Jack to church for the first time; out of the womb.
Of course, despite giving ourselves plenty of time to get there early, Jack decided he wanted one last snack of milk right as we were heading out the door. Then we had to change his diaper. So we arrived 10 minutes late and the only place left to sit was up in the balcony. This turned out to be a pretty good location though; since we were right next to the door for the moment he would inevitably start crying. He lasted 35 minutes before we had to dart for the door with him. We were impressed.
It’s a sort of eery feeling getting up at 1:30 AM, 3:30 AM, and/or 5:30 AM every morning to feed and change Jack. While it’s still dark and quiet, while I’m only “awake” enough to put the word in quotation marks, and while my memory barely records the routine actions taking place during the twilight, I’m sure I’m subconsciously looking for something out of the ordinary. As I hold Jack in one arm and his bottle in the other, the dimly lit room casts a strange shadow on his face. Sometimes when I look at him during this time I get a little creeped out. In this situation he reminds me of a baby version of the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz (played by the Jewish actor Bert Lahr); that movie and the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, though they are both wonderful classic movies, have always freaked me out a bit. On a similar note, it also seems like I’m taking care of a little old man, with his receding hairstyle (Jack Nicholson style), his chubby cheeks, and his baby-version-of-cussing-somebody-out cries when he’s really hungry and his diaper is wet.
To make matters more theatrical, there are times when I am taking care of him during the middle of the night when it’s like he peeks around my shoulder and sees something and gets this calm yet curious look on his face. Does he see something? A guardian angel? Jesus? Maybe the ghost of Bert Lahr?
I wouldn’t be surprised if babies can see into the spiritual realm. It could make sense in a way; babies are completely innocent. They are unaware of damning traps like pride and greed. I could see how a baby is naturally closer to Heaven than we adults are. Sometimes I envy the things my baby may be seeing. But then again, it would be just another thing to spook me in the middle of the night. It seems every account I can immediately think of in the Bible where an angelic being spoke to a human, the angel always had to start the conversation out with “Do not be afraid…” But Jack isn’t scared by whatever he is seeing around me that I am less aware; if he’s actually seeing anything supernatural at all.
Bert Lahr as The Cowardly Lion:
Men aren’t supposed to like changing diapers. And I suppose no one truly likes changing diapers, but something I have learned in these 3 and a half weeks so far is that it’s really not that bad right now. He’s still in the “yellow, seedy poop” stage. So I can’t honestly say that the smell is difficult to deal with. The hardest part about changing his diapers is taking off his clothes and putting them back on.
The way I look at it, despite all that my wife does for not only our son but for us as well, if there’s one thing I can do efficiently, it’s to change his diapers. Granted, as much as my parents and sister and her husband have helped out as well, it’s not like I’m changing the majority of his diapers anyway. But if nothing else, I have learned that a dirty diaper is not something I fear or have any valid reason to avoid. Though I do prefer it when he’s wearing a onesie: easy access.
In theory, Jack would spend the majority of his sleeping hours in his nice crib. But in reality, during the day he sleeps wherever he ends up falling asleep. Sometimes it’s his sock monkey bed, sometimes it’s the papason chair, and sometimes it’s somebody’s arms. It’s funny how it’s an infant’s full time job to sleep. When he wakes up, Jack typically goes through a 15 minute stretching ordeal. I love how he is essentially exhausted from sleeping all the time.
I have always secretly wanted a fur coat- the chic yet manly kind like Rocky Balboa had. That appears to be in the genes as Jack loves to be wrapped up in the finest, softest materials. Jack lives such a glorious, pampered life. He has an appreciation for the finer things in life. But he also isn’t above loudly passing gas when people hold him. That’s good- it shows he’s culturally balanced.