It’s 5:38a, and I’m up. I’ve been up for the past two and a half hours, ever since our son’s last feeding. When people ask me what being a new parent is like, I say that it’s like the morning after a great, all-night party: I’ll grip my head between my hands and rub the sleep out of my eyes, but I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat. So, bleary-eyed, we have a good time — all day and all night. And this party clearly doesn’t end in a day.
Isaiah’s seven days old today. He had his first smile on Day 4 — and his first frown. When he’s smiling, Jinhee and I think he’s happy to see us. When he frowns, we think that he’s just testing out his facial muscles. It’s funny how we can rationalize just about anything.
I’ve surprised myself as a parent. I’m the over-concerned, hyper-scheduling one, while Jinhee’s relaxed and taking it day-by-day. I really thought our roles would be reversed. But when Jinhee had trouble producing colostrum, I was worried. When he lost 10 ounces in the first day, I fussed over every feeding while inserting a little tube into his mouth to provide formula. When he slept only an hour before wanting another feeding, I wondered what we were doing wrong. So I demanded that she pump after every feeding, even though her milk had already let down and she was sore from his constant sucking. I thought, we just need to get on top of this. Jinhee had to sit me down: “You just need you to relax.” She’s proven a gifted mother, and it’s time for me to accept my lack of maternal instincts. And with her words, she’s shows how excellent a wife she is as well.
We both want what’s best for him. And when he’s hungry, he lets us know at rocket-ship decibels. At least, that’s what it sounds like to us.
A few days ago, while we were still in the hospital, Jinhee left to take a shower. We weren’t thinking: she left right around his predicted feeding time and within a minute, Isaiah was crying for food. It was terrible: I knew exactly what he wanted, but couldn’t figure out a way to get it to him. He cried until his voice was hoarse. All I could do was hold him close to my chest, and whisper in his ear: “Mommy’s coming, Mommy’s coming.” But that wouldn’t soothe him at all. I knew that Mom would come back. Soon. And he’d be alright. But it was hard for him to see beyond the moment. After all, he’s just a baby. And for me, those ten minutes couldn’t have ticked by any more slowly.
It made me think: I’m sometimes a little baby, wanting some food. But instead of milk, I want … well, it could be anything. Unmet expectations with ministry, family, friends, faith. It really could be anything. And I want them fulfilled now. Not later. So I cry out. Yell until I get hoarse. But He constantly whispers to me: “Daddy’s coming, Daddy’s coming.” He knows exactly what I want and need, and he asks me not to worry. And he’s got perfect timing, though it often doesn’t line up with mine. So I try to trust him. After all, I’m just a child too. And it’s good to remember that I have a great Dad.