Entire worldTue, 24th Mar '15, 1:45 am::
I still can't believe I'm a dad now. It's been over six weeks and both Juliet and I are getting back into the routine of normal life but every few hours we take a step back and go "Wow! We have a child now." My parents had me at a much younger age so it is a bit different to compare our becoming-a-parent experiences. When I was born, there was no robotic space-ship swing or constant health monitoring.
Throughout the pregnancy, delivery, and now Naveen's infancy, I haven't made any specific plans or goals about anything. Juliet's been taking charge of planning everything from his crib setup to feeding schedule. All I have done is made myself available to her and the baby 24/7, doing anything they need. While that sounds easy on the surface, it is anything but, especially because I've always been the take-charge kind of person myself. I have my own ideas and opinions on almost everything but from the moment we found out that Juliet was pregnant, I suddenly felt like my goal was to support and provide instead of plan and decide.
After the first few days of Naveen's birth we realized how critical sleep was for both of us. I need at least 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep. She needs about 8 hours but can handle waking up a couple of times. After a bit of trial and error, we ended up with a schedule that has worked for over a month now. She takes care of him from 6am-8pm and I take over after 8pm until 6am. She gets to sleep at least 8 hours in between and I get about 5-7 hours of sleep before I start getting tech support phone calls. It's not a perfect system nor is it sustainable in the long-term but it works for us, for now.
In a few weeks my parents will be here and Naveen will start sleeping longer than 3 hours at a stretch. So we'll come up with a new routine. Then just when we're all getting used to it, Juliet will go back to work. Then after a month of another new routine, my parents will return back to India. Then we might get a nanny. Or I might reduce my work-hours over the summer to take care of him myself. Then we might put him in day care. And all of this is just in the first six months of his life.
I can't even think beyond the next few weeks at this point. That's why I'm glad Juliet's taken charge. I'd rather not worry about every doctor's visit or baby development tracking. And I kind of like staying up all night in the living room with the lights dimmed while Naveen sleeps right next to or on me. I'm listening (via headphones at low volume) to nature and science documentaries playing on my iPad all night as I code away peacefully. Every few hours I take a small break to feed, change, and soothe him.
I was pretty concerned before he was born about my role in his early life. I was never worried about being a good role model and teacher once he starts walking and talking but I did not know how I'd be able to help out Juliet while he was still a baby. But surprisingly, everything just came naturally. I don't mean I innately know how to feed, bathe, or clothe a baby - Juliet had to show me all of that (multiple times). I mean it just felt natural to me that this is what I'm supposed to do.
Before he was born, I kept thinking that I will only feel like a real father once he starts playing with toys or climbing trees, so I just have to make it through the first few years and then the fun will start. And now, I don't even want this night to end because he's resting on my chest, snuggling like I am his entire world.