I have successfully lowered the volume on the TV with my foot.
I have typed an e-mail with my pinkie and used my son’s big toe to hit the SEND button.
I have played through an entire Playstation 3 game on mute with just the subtitles.
This is what you do to maintain two very important aspects of your S.A.H.D. life. The first is giving your son every wink of sleep that he needs so that he can continue to grow, be healthy, and one day go on to play short stop for the New York Yankees. The second is giving your son every wink of sleep that he needs so that you can at least go on pretending that you have some semblance of free time in which to accomplish the mostly selfish, time-wasting activities that you did back when you were only responsible for keeping your own heart beating. Both of these are, believe it or not, equally important.
Many people are quick to jump to the natural cliche that “your child is now your life” ideology. This is, more or less, accurate. Nothing is or ever will be the same as it was before, nor should it. However I find it much more healthy to think of your child as “part of your life”. He is assimilated into your existence, he is not replacing it with his own. You are not being forced to give up any aspects of your identity to successfully raise you child. In fact, you’ll find the entire experience all the more rewarding if, at the end of the day, you feel like you maintained your sense of self throughout all the daily trials and tribulations. They’re the ultimate test of whether you are who you think you are and if that person is worth being or bettering. Usually the answer is a mix of both.
I am not really an overly spiritual or new age-y type person, but one thing that I do wholeheartedly believe is that your baby has a sensitivity to its surroundings beyond that of most grown ups. They know when something is amiss. And, perhaps this is just projecting, but I feel like they are keenly aware when it has something to do with them. With this in mind, what good is a parent that (even subconsciously) resents their child for not allowing them the time to be themselves? The time is there, you just have to find it.
Get your shit done. Is Jack’s laundry in the dryer? Check. Is the chicken marinating for dinner? Check. Are the bottles cleaned and ready to go? Check. My baby is asleep, he’s safe and his tummy is full. Now, fuck it. I’m watching an episode of The Honeymooners! In all of the insanity that the modern world throws at you, you need to find your happiness where you can. Rest. Laugh. Learn. Do whatever it is that will make you as bright eyed and bushy tailed as your kid will be when you start to hear him stirring in his crib. Maybe he’ll cry a little because he’s thinking “He was just here! Where the hell did he go?!” and maybe he won’t. There’s no better feeling than just hearing your son babbling to himself in his crib for a few minutes as he wakes up. You know that he knows he’s that everything is gonna be okay.
“Daddy is gonna come in any minute now. He’s gonna open the drapes, but he’ll make sure my back is to them first so the sun doesn’t hurt my eyes. He’ll change me. Feed me. And then we’ll go and play.”
Yeah, I know he’s not that cognitive. But you look into Jack’s eyes and try and not romanticize every glance he gives you. I dare ya.
And then, there are those times as pictured above. The trap. The best possible trap you’ll ever get caught in. His sleep is too delicate for any sort of transitional movement (and you’ll be able to sense when this is so), so you’re just stuck there. It’s like being trapped on a mountain face during one of the most beautiful sunsets you’ve ever seen. You can’t climb up. You can’t climb down. You just have to sit and stare at this marvel of nature and attempt to comprehend where your place in all of this madness is.