Saturday, November 12, 2005

Our first night home . . . aaarrrrrrggggghhhhhh!!!

I was able to bring wife and daughter home last night from hospital, so the reality of ‘papa-hood’ is starting to become just that much more stark. We stopped off at a local chippy before coming home to eat. Then Andrea needed a couple of hours to catch up on some sleep while I cuddled Janelle and watched a bit of Friday night telly. Of course, as in America, Friday night is the night everyone goes out to be with friends, so the offerings on tv are a bit bleak. I think I watched some sitcom reruns before Virus, a Hollywood flop from 1999 starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Sutherland, came on and I fell asleep. I had stripped Janelle down to her nappy and she was sleeping on my chest, which was nice until she woke up at 1:00 am. It’s amazing how difficult it is to dress a screaming baby when you’re not really awake. After one night of having Janelle home, this is what I look like.

[Janelle laying with the toy 'chicken' generously given to her by Paul and Jen (the inverted commas are necessary; this toy's relation to a real chicken is about as ambiguous as anything you could find at KFC). My prediction is that this will quickly become one her favourite toys, the one we can't leave the house without if we don't want her screaming the whole time we're gone.]

Overall, however, I’d say our first night was a success. Whenever we put Janelle in her Moses basket she would only sleep for about an hour (don't let this picture deceive you; Janelle does not like to sleep unless she's physically imposing upon either her mother or me; it's one of the things I like about her, if I'm honest). After 1:00 am Andrea was pretty well awake, so she mostly took care of her. But at about 3:30 it was my turn to quieten her, a task which was proving impossible. It was round about this point that we realised that she slept much better out of her basket and on one of our chests. This means that if I’m to get any rest at all I have to sleep with her sleeping on top of me. Consequently, I have to stay aware enough of her that she doesn’t fall off of me or that I don’t roll over on top of her. But I was able to sleep from 3:30 to 9:30; with just a brief wake-up so that she could feed at 6:30. All in all not too bad.

So after just over eighty hours of papa-hood my preliminary judgement is that this is all pretty cool. It’s probably a good thing that Janelle is so amazingly cute, because she can be a pain in the butt. (Andrea has a slightly different perspective on this but is in overall agreement.) But I already find myself longing to be closer to her, even if she’s just on the other side of the room with her mother. A (very) small part of me looks forward to when she’s sleeping through the night a bit more and to when she’s babbling incessantly and melodiously. But the overwhelmingly larger part of me knows that she’ll grow up fast enough, so I’m trying to make sure I enjoy everyday for what it presents. The last three have been unbelievable; here’s to the next 6,571 (an arbitrary number; Janelle turns 18 in 6,571 days).


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