I remember the fear and uneasiness I felt as I waited to become a father, an uncomfortable dad. It was all so exciting and new, I was basically a nervous wreck from the moment I knew Abigail was expecting through the birthing process and beyond. I wanted to be the perfect dad. I wanted everything to be right. I was scared to death that I would screw something up, break him or drop the baby. That’s not happened yet, so I count it as a win!
My first trips to the grocery store were testaments to my testing new waters as the sole provider of care for my son in public. I vividly remember our first trip to the grocery store, just Mr. Dude and me. He slept in his carseat, set in the shopping cart, the whole time. It was a glorious hour and a half of peaceful price comparisons. The next few times we went shopping he was a little fussy and I was SO self-conscious. I remembered what it was like to go out and “deal with” a screaming child. I looked around nervously in fear of annoying a fellow customer. I didn’t want to be “that parent.” Constantly feeding the little guy puffs kept him calm and he only ever made a peep.
My view of “dealing” with a crying, snot filled, tearful screaming child is totally different now. When Wes is “over it” he is OVER. IT. So far I’ve not had to leave a shopping cart full of stuff behind at a store while I go calm down a screaming child, but I’m sure that moment is not far off. I’m learning to be a dad on a daily basis. It’s about how to deal with my kid. I hear each is different. My siblings are proof of that, but that’s another post for another time.
My kid is 14 months old now. We’ve been through a lot together. So many sleepless nights and beautiful smiles have happened that I’ve lost count. He is awesome if not also unpredictable. It’s that unpredictability that has me learning the most. What little bit of communication abilities he has now make things easier than they used to be. Even if the unpredictable moments are louder than they used to be. His favorite word is “Yeah,” but can now ask for some specific foods or people. Ask him if he’s hungry and you’ll get a reliable answer 80% of the time. Crackers, bananas, chicken, cheese and water are his favorites to specifically request. Although not all at the same time.
I feel like fatherhood fits me now even better than it did last year. I know a lot more than I did, but with that knowledge I’ve also realized there is a lot more for me to learn. I’m down with that. I’m a diaper changing pro and co-sleeping veteran. I’m comfortable with who I am as a dad now. Have I done everything right? Absolutely not, but I’ve learned from my mistakes. Fatherhood will now be part of me for the rest of my life and I cherish it every single day.