Nearly one year ago, Jack entered my life (he had already entered his mom’s life 9 months earlier, but I had been in a bit of denial until that very moment). Twelve hours of labor and an hour or so of pushing (I just held her leg and tried not to faint), and there he was. Jack was now a real person, a tiny little fragile thing. But, he was actually cute. Most babies at this stage are pretty gross, I think. They’re all squished and slimy. But, Jack was rocking and ready to go. The doctors did all of their tests, and were pretty amazed by how robust he was (nearly 9 pounds and full of vigor). They gave him 9 out of 10 on his tests, saying that hated to give 10s even though he was pretty much as close as they’ve seen. Wow, our baby is already excelling! Let’s apply for early decision at Harvard!
Then, we move upstairs, and they actually give us this little creature, tell us what to do, and leave us alone? What, seriously…we have to watch this little guy now? Isn’t there someone who’s going to stick around and help? Sure, he’s cute and was fun to hold for a bit, but really, he’s with us now? What do we do? Jack was a mess that first night. Crying and wanting to breastfeed all night long (this actually became a bit of a theme throughout his first year). The lactation nurse told us to let him latch on and feed whenever he wanted—he needed the comfort. Eventually, I took him and let him sleep on me in the chair in the corner of the room. It worked, and that was the start of a long haul where 99% of Jack’s sleep took place on top of a human mattress, day and night. I think his bassinet got used for all of 5 minutes total.
Over the course of those couple days in the hospital, we started to realize that life was gonna be very different. We had no idea what to do with this creature, but they kept giving him to us and leaving. We both cried when they took him off to get circumcised—being scientists, we of course did tons of research on this, and concluded that it didn’t really seem necessary, but we had them do it anyway. Then, when he came back all bloody and gross, we were horrified, what have we done? Every decision we make is going to influence this little dude forever…what kind of pressure is that? Luckily, my parents helped out those first few weeks, and we started to figure it out. Actually got the hang of it a bit. Eating, sleeping, pooping…well, that’s pretty much all he did for those first few weeks (not so much for us on the sleeping part).
Jack was still mostly just a blob. But, he was already on his way to being the best baby that ever was. He could pretty much hold his head up and look around in those first few days. Everyone thought he was pretty exceptional (even his pediatrician, who does not mince words). Sure, some types of baby birds are actually up and running around following their parents right out of the egg; but for a rather helpless human who would’ve been quickly devoured by any scavenger if he were not for the constant protection of his parents, Jack was pretty OK.