Welcome to Connor’s Corner, where I give unwarranted advice, tell stories I think are funny / insightful, and try not to piss off my beautiful wife too much.
While Jenn has chronicled our journey from dating in LA to marriage and parenthood in Connecticut, I’d like to focus small for my first entry. Looking at the first week we spent with our amazing daughter, I want to focus on what I believe to be the two most important things of early fatherhood: Find a job you excel at, and find a shitty job you don’t mind doing. The second is IMMENSELY more important, but I like them both.
Here are my two:
- SWADDLE THAT BABY
For all my Four Christmases fans out there, I can’t say the word swaddle without thinking about the mega church scene in that movie. As we head into the Christmas season, I highly recommend watching it. Anyway, the job I excelled at was swaddling. We dubbed it the “daddy swaddle” in our house. While Jenn was recovering from the incredibly taxing surgery which gave us a FUCKING BABY (still blows my mind), I was taking in every iota of information from the nurses I could. Like the procrastinator I am, I didn’t read too much of my What to Expect book. I got through about the first month and thought I’d learn from there. I knew babies wanted to be swaddled, but I didn’t understand how important a good swaddle can be.
The first time the nurse showed us how to swaddle, Jenn wasn’t cleared to stand yet, so the duty fell on my shoulders. Maybe it’s my love of burritos or that I was a bit of a stoner in high school, but goddamn can I swaddle. After the first time the nurse showed me, I could get a pretty good swaddle, one more tutorial and I was a machine. I was all in, I swaddled every chance I could get. There were plenty of times where she wouldn’t stop crying, then I got a tight swaddle on her and boom: happy baby. Not only did my swaddling make her feel better, but it made me start to feel confident as a dad. I had almost no idea what I was doing, but I could swaddle and comfort her, and that’s all that mattered in the moment. I HIGHLY recommend perfecting the art of the swaddle for all new dads, but if it just isn’t your thing, find something else. It helped me bond with Emily, gain confidence in myself, and give Jenn a break while she was recovering.
2. Change the Diaper: Shit Ain’t Shit
Since Jenn was still not cleared to stand, the early diaper changes were left to me. I was a little nervous, I’ve always had a weak stomach (sympathetic puker) but I was hoping it wouldn’t extend to diaper changes. When I changed her first diaper, I wasn’t phased in the slightest. The black sludge that comes out in the beginning may be sticky, but that’s all it is. There’s no issue dealing with that. Since Jenn was still recovering, I took most of the diaper changes. Even as Jenn began to recover more, I was quick to take the diaper change. With the amount of eating infants do, I wanted to give Jenn a break by taking the diapers. We had a good system, Emily would cry, Jenn pops her on a tit, I change and swaddle. Like clockwork, Emily went from screaming to warm, dry, and sleepy.
Since time has past and the black sludge turns to yellow mustard seeds, I’ve continued to be the diaper changer. I don’t always change now that I work during the days and Jenn is allowed to walk around, but I’d like to think I take most of them when I can (don’t ask Jenn to confirm). The real important thing to me is that I can take one more burden of of Jenn’s shoulders, while looking like a superhero. Many of my friends asked about how bad diaper changes are, and the answer is they aren’t at all. Of course she’s still only eating breast milk, so ask me again when she’s got McDonald’s coming out of her, but for now diapers ain’t shit. Finding the seemingly shitty job that you don’t mind not only helps your partner, but it makes you look good. And here at Connor’s Corner, were all about looking good.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my first post and I’m looking forward to sharing more of our journey into parenthood, and too all my soon-to-be dads out there, find your two things before you leave the hospital!