Diaper Duty – A Note for New Daddies (Part 2)
April 15, 2014

In the debut of this series, I wrote about a variety of subjects ranging from choosing a name for your child, to changing the lower arm of your front suspension. To give a bit more focus to our discussion, I have decided to revolve this entry around the topic of “time”.

For centuries, it has been said that marriage marks the end of a man’s time for himself. If you find this true, well I have good news for you. The arrival of a baby changes this entirely. You now have no time for yourself, and your golf buddies.

In seriousness, however, your appreciation of time will change as the little one enters your life. Your days will now be filled with the bright sparkle in her eyes and the beautiful cooing of her voice. This is of course given that she is well fed, her diapers are dry, and you cancel your tee-off with the guys this Sunday.

Sleepy Time

Research has proven that newborns need an average of 12 to 18 hours of sleep. As you can see, there is a six-hour gap in this range. This is an indication of how one baby is unique to the other and that the researchers of this subject are lazy.

In their defense, however, it is hard to pinpoint an accurate estimate because 1) there is a vast amount of possibilities and 2) infants are not known to cooperate with scientific research. So the onus is on you, as the father, to attune your sleeping pattern to that of your child, spouse, and not your football team anymore.

I find that the easiest way to do this is to simply sleep when the baby is sleeping. On a typical day, I reach home around 7pm, take a shower, have dinner, and go to bed by 10pm – about the same as the baby. This is to make up for the time I will spend waking up to her cry at 230am, dragging myself to her crib, changing her diaper, passing her to my wife to be breastfed, going back to bed, and waking up 10 seconds later once I realize that I have actually passed her to the cat.

In summary, there will be a massive change in your sleeping hours so be prepared to alter your body clock. I can’t confirm this but I hear that some doctors do prescribe jet-lag pills for new fathers.

Clean-up Time

If your baby is like mine, who is heavily influenced by our three cats at home, you would soon learn that some babies are not too fond of water. And by “not too fond” I mean they despise it like a film critic at the premiere of Twilight.

In our household, my wife is the Head of Operations while I am the Chief Superintendent. So when it comes to giving our girl a bath, I am in charge of making sure that everything is in place and above all, I do not touch anything.

This system has worked well for us by the dynamics might be different at your end. In any case, it’s good to know how it’s done in the event that you wife is unavailable as bathing a baby is a very delicate process.

The shampoo and bathing cream need to be suitable to your baby’s skin. The bathtub needs to be of certain a shape and size. Most importantly, the water needs to be of a certain temperature, depth and, if you are in Selangor, available.

Sexy Time

Ha ha, you wish.

Social Time

As the only person maintaining an athlete’s physique among my schoolmates, I was the organizer of our weekly futsal sessions after graduation. In the first few years, we had 100% attendance almost every week.

As time passes, however, there was a steady decline in attendance as the guys find a girlfriend(s), get married, and have kids. Progressing in life means reviewing your priorities as well. And that is the right thing to do.

Nevertheless, I personally believe that the arrival of a child is not a deterrence to social activities entirely. It only limits it, and rightly so. Expectations need to be met and I am slowly learning to manage them at my level best. Your wife needs you more than ever this time around so try to be there for her as much as you can.

I try to only get social when things are at ease at home e.g. when baby is asleep and mommy is resting. This is when I would get a quick glass of teh tarik with the guys. When the activity is set to a time beyond my control such as futsal in the morning, I try to get the chores done first and this means breakfast in bed for my beautiful queen from whom I seek permission to dash off to the court.

At times, having a baby works really well to you favor. In the event that you’re hanging out and the MLM guy in your circle decides to show up with his laptop of endless pyramid schemes, having to attend to your child is a solid reason to excuse yourself. If you are the MLM guy of your circle however, I’m afraid I have to go now.


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Photography by Azalia Suhaimi

  • Asrif, b. 1983
  • Subang Jaya, Malaysia
  • asrifomar[@]gmail[.]com
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