First times for a first timer

A first time dad tells his parenting story

As a parent for all of twelve weeks, almost every day brings a first. There is the first diaper change. The first diaper change with a pee shot. The first diaper change when the diaper is off and you get the trifecta—a spit-up, a pee, and a poopy explosion all at once. There is the first time you examine the poop as if it were tea leaves, to confirm that the breast feeding is going as the textbook intended.

Speaking of textbooks, there is the first time you throw up your hands in frustration and vow to give up Parenting Style A as presented by Dr. Knows It All and place all your bets with Parenting Style B, written by Ms. Knows Even More.

There is the first smile of course. I had read somewhere that most infants don’t smile till at least 6 weeks of age. Six weeks!? Such a long time! Soon enough, the first smile. Wait, can they really smile that young or is that only gas? Check the book or ask grandma or Yahoo Answers or your doula or Google “gas smile.”

There is the first bath. Ours went not so bad. Not long from now (and everyone assures me it all goes by too quickly), there will be the first word, the first step, first boo-boo.

Recently we were lucky enough to experience one of those firsts that belong in the milestone column. That would be the first time leaving your newly minted offspring with a babysitter.

Before I joined the ranks of parents, I thought of babysitters mostly in terms of movies—for instance, as fodder for the killer in horror flicks. But now I know that when it comes time to contemplate a normal night out as a couple for the first time since the wondrous event that was the birth of your child, the decision of who to leave your precious one with can be cause for some racked nerves.

I thought perhaps I should remind the sitter not to have any boys over, but since she was a late-forty-something friend of ours who graciously offered her services, I decided it was really not my business.

With an infant this new, I don’t think I’d be comfortable with anyone other than a close, responsible friend or relative, preferably one who had experience with a baby or two, as our friend Deb did. Thanks Deb! (I did warn her if someone who sounded like Tom Waits called not to head for the basement or hide under the bed.)


Bye-Bye Daddy


Another big first was taking Steph and our little boy to Stewart airport, to see them off to California to visit the (awesome) west coast grandparents. Never mind the fact of all those re-circulating airplane germs, or that they flew out into a snowstorm. After final hugs and kisses and handing the little bug over at the security gate, I looked back to wave another goodbye.

Unaware of daddy 30 feet away, he turned in mommy’s arms and I could see his profile, his perfect, wonderful, beautiful, comical head bobbing innocently. It made me (almost, a little) cry. Even though I’ll be joining them in less than a week, I know it’s one of the many firsts that imperceptibly, inevitably takes my little guy away into his own orbit. As a parent, though, the distance can never be so far that I won’t always, always feel the tug. At least I know I’m not the first.


Mark Roland is the newest member of the Hudson Valley Parent team.