Dad Life: Finding You

As I’ve said a few times before here, being a stay-at-home dad, even for the short-term, has been an amazing experience. I’m spending three weeks at home with my son, just as he’s beginning to really experience the world around him.

But I think the most rewarding part has been getting to know who my son is, and who he might become.

Obviously, a four-month-old doesn’t exhibit a vast vocabulary with which he can tell me all of his ideas and questions. We’re still working on consonant sounds.

He is quite vocal, however. He sits in his bouncy seat and… yells… at us, usually when we’re making dinner or something. He’ll just make random sounds until one of us talks back to him, and then he giggles.

His recent favorite sound to make is a high-pitched squeal that sounds more like he’s straining his voice than anything. He probably spent 15 minutes one evening just doing that as my wife, mom, step-dad, and I just laughed.

So he’s a bit of a performer. He likes to laugh, but he seems to laugh more when others are laughing. He’s a ham, as my wife says.

He’s also terrible at admitting when he’s tired. He’ll rub at his eyes and flail his arms endlessly without settling down. And if he hears something going on around him, he always has to see what it is, which distracts him more from being tired.

I remember being the same way as a kid. I always wanted to be a part of the action, to stay up late and talk and play games with the adults.

Once he gives in to his tiredness, though, Nugget is extremely snuggly. He still falls asleep the fastest when he’s on one of us–my wife especially. On Saturday and Sunday mornings, we’ll hear him talking in his crib at 6am–he’s somehow a morning person. One of us will usually bring him into our bed, and he’ll fall right back asleep between us for an hour or two.

There are so many more things I could say about him, and it’s still hard to distinguish between typical baby behaviors and actual personality traits.

He’s startled by sudden noises, particularly the crinkling of paper or plastic. He loves watching our dog, Teddy, although they’re still figuring each other out. He gets excited when we change his clothes or his diaper. And when he’s awake, he’s constantly moving–kicking his legs, swatting at or grabbing things.

Even when he sleeps, he moves. We’ve woken up to find him rotated 180 degrees from the position in which we left him in his crib.

So I still don’t know what he’ll really be like. He genuinely seems happy, curious, loving, sensitive, and short-tempered when he’s hungry.

He seems a lot like both my wife and me, and he seems a little different somehow. We haven’t quite figured out how yet, but exploring the world with him, and watching him explore, have been incredible.

Steve D

Nugget, Teddy, and me enjoying paternity leave

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