Silence Is a Rare Thing Indeed When You Have a Newborn

I started this post, my first in almost three months, just after 10 a.m. on a Saturday. I got to sleep in a bit, sleep being a relative term. It’s the first time I’ve felt like writing even though I experienced one of the most memorable moments of my life: the birth of my first child. (That’s not entirely true—I *started* a half-dozen posts, but none came to fruition.)

This morning, the house is quiet and peaceful. Not clean, mind you; it looks like a baby registry blew up in our living room. Just peaceful. Friends and family have stopped dropping by quite so frequently. My parents, after having gotten their baby fix, left for home. We’re in between visits from my father-in-law and mother-in-law.

The kid finally settled down to sleep after another restless night and mom, wisely, grabbed a nap, too. But here I am, enjoying a quiet house, my mind suddenly coherent enough to put two sentences together.

As I’m writing this, I’m pulling pictures off our cameras (three cameras is not efficient, I know) and getting ready to organize, color correct, crop and then post them. Our boy is growing like a weed, and these snapshots serve as a reminder. As I’m writing this, my boy is growing.

Born at 6 pounds, 4 ounces, he regained his birth weight by the time we left the hospital (people said it could take two weeks) and was as 6 lbs. 10 oz. just days later. A week after that, he was 7 lbs. 2 oz. Almost a pound. In 10 days. My wife and I wonder how much he weighs now, but we’ll have to wait for his next well-child exam, in four weeks. With these pictures, I don’t need a scale.

Friends and co-workers ask me what it’s like. Having a baby. Being a father. Truth is, I haven’t had much time to think about it. Only time to react. Baby’s crying. Let’s see—is he a) hungry, b) needing to be burped, c) wet, d) poopy, e) cold, f) hot, g) generally uncomfortable or, gasp, h) colicky? Did we pinch his umbilical cord under his diaper and against his skin again?

I remember the first night we brought him home. He was a good boy the whole time we were in the hospital, but that first night, for 90 straight minutes, he cried, then screamed, then wailed. Nothing in my A-through-H reaction list would do anything to pacify him. And of course there was no nurse waiting at the end of a call button. Panicked, frustrated and altogether fried from nearly a week of sleep deprivation, I switched off the lights in the room. He went silent. Whoa.

I love silence. Not as much as looking at this face that looks strangely like mine, but close.

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