Old Dad. New Dad.

Many years to come...

The First Year Has Come And Gone.

The first year has come and gone. There were times when it seemed interminable; the late night feedings, the teething, the looks of disgust from the wife person as I tried to navigate my way through some things. Who made the women the experts in this anyway? The supremacy seems arbitrary and self imposed to me, but then everything she seems to do works and I fight my way through another day of dad/baby stubbornness. Where does this child’s stubbornness come from anyway? I ask myself this on a frequent basis. I decide that I am going to blame the wife person for this hereditary flaw, deal with that.
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There were other times when this year just seemed to go to darn fast. How can my kid be crawling, clapping, saying words, using a fork, holding a bottle, showing emotions like love and anger, frustration and elation, standing on his own, ready to walk any day? The list goes on and on and on. It seems he learns something new everyday, as do I, as we experience this crazy journey together.


There have been so many emotions. The extreme altitudes of fatherhood never seem to disappoint. I am an emotional guy, I cry, I laugh, I get angry and I see it all in my son. There is something amazing about watching a little person become exactly like you, and something a little bit scary too. There is nothing better than knowing that when I am having a bad day he will come crawling over to me and smile and just want me to hold him for a minute. It may make him feel better, but I can’t explain to anyone how it makes me feel. I guess only other dads would understand, and I would bet they wouldn't be able to explain it either.


In the past year there is almost too much to document so I will just highlight some of the moments that stand out the most.

1.

A year of no sleep does strange things to people. There have been at least 4000 nights this past year when I had to stumble out of a deep REM stage and lurch across the house to see what was going on. There were cries, strange noises, coughing, talking and all other sorts of things going on in that room of his. My wife and I started by taking turns, but then I realized that more she got up during the night, the more she turned into some sort of sleep deprived beast during the day, best to let the sleeping beast lie I figured out. Middle of the night feedings became my thing, while the wife person made the bottle I would stumble across the upstairs and risk life and limb (have I mentioned before that we also have an 8 year old?), tripping on legos, blocks, cars, trucks, blankets, clothes, couches, rug monsters, you name it I have slammed my big toe into it in the last year. I would grab the baby and start the process. The diaper got changed, sleeper pajamas zippers don’t operate all that well when you awake from REM I have found out, neither do snaps or buttons. What is it about sleep deprivation that leads to finer motor function regression? The screaming would inevitably begin. The derisive snorts from the wife would begin. Then the bottle would arrive and all would become quiet. I would settle into the horribly squeaky rocking chair we have (I have been meaning to get out the WD-40 for the entire year and never got around to it) and the feeding would take place for the next 20 minutes. I can’t lie I fell asleep many times during that 20 minutes, it was so peaceful. As the year went on and he became able to hold his own bottle and get himself back to sleep I strangely found myself missing that 20 minutes of time in the middle of the night. I chalk this irrational behavior up to the entire year of getting no sleep. It can’t have anything to do with the fact that I am sad my boy is growing up? Can it?

2.

Constantly playing a game of what’s in the baby’s mouth. Our 8 year old never put anything in his mouth so neither my wife, or I, was prepared for this endeavor. In the past year we have found; legos, random pieces of plastic, dirt from the track of the sliding door, leaves, plastic pieces from price tags, dust balls from the sliding door track, a small rock, parts of Christmas Décor, pieces of Styrofoam, small uno cards, a small developing nation and an old carrot in this child’s mouth. The carrot we still can’t figure out since we hadn't given him a carrot in several days and he does not even like carrots. It really is a baffling game. He hides these items in his cheeks like a pro; he can talk with them in there. We are constantly fooled and constantly checking and watching to make sure he is not putting things in his mouth. Yet there he is with stuff in there. He is like some sort of mouth placement ninja; it is so stealthy and quick that as parents we just can’t stop it from happening. He never seems to swallow any of it either, he just puts it in there like some sort of lozenge to sooth his soul for a bit.
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I could go on an on about this whole first year, what father couldn't? However, I have had no sleep and I am nodding off at the keyboard here so I will spare you all of the rest of my gory details for now.


Perhaps the most important thing I have learned in this past year is that time goes too fast and if you blink you will miss something, like your son eating a piece of plaster. Despite all of the sleep loss and the trials and tribulations I would not change any of it for anything, unless of course he could be born again and I could do it all over….

Meet the Dad

Matthew Yerkovich is husband of Ashley Cabe- Yerkovich, Co-Owner of The Learning Cottage in Sarasota, FL. While Matt has enjoyed raising his step son, Cameron, since he was just 2 years of age, he has had an eye opening experience to 'baby raising' with their new son Maxwell and enjoys sharing those experiences with all whom have open ears. In Matt's spare time he is an avid golfer and writer. We enjoy sharing Matt's experiences as a dad with other families- Thank you, Matt!