Tuesday, December 12, 2006

So about that Parenting Thing...

I realize that while I've posted some pics, and mentioned what we've been up to with Emelia, I haven't really discussed much of how I'm adjusting to the whole notion of parenting. The quick answer is that I'm truly enjoying being a parent -- sometimes I feel like I could hold Emelia forever, singing her songs with made-up lyrics and silly rhymes.

Given that Kathy is nursing, she's the one who currently carries the bulk of the burden. She's the one who has to get up for the nighttime feedings -- after the first week, Kathy's been sending me into another bedroom so I can get some sleep, and she gets up for the feedings on her own. I've encouraged her to pump, and while she's started to do that, she hasn't been doing it consistently. When she does, I'll be able to pitch in on this front more.

My role has been as assistant, and as soother -- I seem to do a better job of getting E settled when feeding isn't involved. This may be due in part to the fact that I haven't been able to soothe using milk, so I've had to develop alternate methods. The most common position for me to hold her has been over my shoulder while I walk or rock her. Unless she's hungry, most of the time she settles down quickly when I do that, and often falls asleep that way.

Friday night we had our annual holiday beer party, and Emelia was completely overstimulated -- really tired, but too wound up to go to sleep. Kathy took E upstairs to get away from the chaos, and I played host. I knew that this was the most effective combination, partly for Emelia, and partly because I'm the more social one, but still I felt awful that I wasn't up there helping to calm E down. Finally, after most of the company had left and it was safe to bring Emelia back downstairs, I held her for nearly an hour, soothing her until she fell asleep. It didn't make up for the rest of the evening, but at least I was able to help.

I have two minds on where Emelia is now in her development -- I love the moment, her being so small, the amazement that I'm a parent still completely fresh. The fact that she's now smiling regularly, as well as able to focus on us, just adds to how wonderful it is right now. At the same time, I can't wait to see her sit up, to crawl, to talk, etc., even though I know these milestones will come soon enough, and in fact too quickly.

Being a parent hasn't yet become a part of my self-identity. D-A-D needs to be added to (and moved near the top of) the list that includes Aaron, husband, son, brother, friend, government attorney, and liberal, among others. Nevertheless, after five weeks in the role of father, it still feels like a vacation, or something similarly temporary, rather than as the life-altering shift that it is. I guess that I'm still in transition.