As 2015 comes to a close, it's time for everyone to look back and review the past year. For me, it was a huge year as my Wife and I had our first child. It's been almost six months and I thought it would be fun to recount the surprises I've experienced as a first time father. I remember preparing for fatherhood in spurts. I read one book and scoured tons of blogs and articles on the net, including many titled "The Surprises of Fatherhood". But there were definitely some things that came out of nowhere.
Having your child sleep on you is therapy.
One of the best things in life is having your child sleep on you. You know all those pictures of kids sleeping on their father's chests? Turns out they are not just cute photo opportunities, it actually feels amazing! It calms and relaxes you as much as your child. We do it any chance we get.
Money becomes really huge.
I read about how fathers think about money all the time, but I didn't really think it would be all the time. Turns out, it's true. And it's not just about paying the bills; it's about saving for college and getting life insurance. You're constantly thinking about the future and how you're going to pay for everything. The only time I really push it out of my head is when I'm playing with my son. It's always there, at least in the back of my mind, constantly planning, scheming, and worrying.
Babies are actually gross.
Most babies are the cutest things in the world, when you look them in the face. As soon as you turn them to the side, what is this Frankenstein head? Their heads are so oddly shaped. I never realized this until I had my son. Trust me, when he looks at me witht hose big brown eyes, his cuteness melts my heart but man, don't break that stare. It's kind of starting to change now, but the back has been flat and it looks like a square. They have weird rashes that come and go. Changing diapers is probably the least gross thing you handle in a day with your child and that's saying a lot. There are so many odd things coming out of their body, which brings me to the next one.
They have a seemingly endless supply of drool.
I am constantly amazed at how much drool comes out of my son. It gets everywhere. I cannot believe he isn't dehydrated to the point of death. You have to have stashes of towels around the home.
People are ridiculous generous to you when you have a child.
Maybe my family has just been lucky, but it's amazing how generous family and friends are with gifts for your child. You expect to get things from your immediate family with Baby Showers and Introduction Parties but it ends up being double what you need. And then we had employees from my work giving us clothes and gifts. And everyone was giving money to my Wife at her work. I was really overwhelmed by how much people were willing to give us, to help us raise our child.
Goodbye fist bumps.
Here's something I never saw coming. Other Fathers no longer fist bump or high five you, they shake your hand. I don't know if this is some sort of subconscious thing or just something passed on from father to father, but it is a bit of a twist. Nowadays, there is more respect in a handshake, so this is kind of cool. Friends who've fist bumped me for years are now reaching out with an outstretched hand. I'm not sure if this is an all the time ritual or just on special occasions, but I'm sure I'll figure out the logistics someday.
Babies are stronger than you think.
They can't life up their head, but they can kick you in the balls pretty good. I'm constantly getting smacked around by my son. He has no idea what he's doing but he's doing it with all he's got. Someone should have warned me about this one. Maybe my son is just super violent but the only thing I've heard in regards to this is that babies like to pull hair. And my poor Wife gets to experience that one. Me? I never seem to be ready to get punched in the eye while he takes off my glasses with his other hand.
There you have it, the major surprises I've run into in my first six months of fatherhood. I wonder what the next six months will reveal. Feel free to leave comments on your best experiences in fatherhood in the comments section below.
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