As you may have surmised from the dearth of recent posts, things are really good with The Baby right now. This has allowed me enough slack in my mind space to really start to appreciate this fatherhood thing. I'd heard and read that it can take fathers longer to bond with their children because we don't have the immediate intimacy of breastfeeding. When I laid eyes on my daughter for the first time, I thought buuuuuuuuuuull shit. My feelings of love were immediate and real.
I think I kinda sorta get it now. My wife has been working evenings this week, which means I'm the sole proprietor of bedtimes. The Baby has always been OK with a bottle, but now she's a pro, which means she doesn't fight it, is cleaner, and we just don't struggle the way we used to. I've actually started to enjoy feeding time, and even more so bedtime. Earlier this week, I was feeding her, and she kind of nestles into my armpit when we feed, and with my non-bottle hand, I work on keeping her hands from disrupting the process too much. So she's eating, and she's kind of stroking my hand and holding onto my fingers, and she's looking up at me with those perfect blue eyes (that will be the death of me when she's older and knows how to use them), and dammit if I didn't just about explode. And I thought, "This is it. This is what The Wife experienced from the very first feeding." I know our relationship will be evolving for the rest of my life. I know we will drift together and apart and together again over the years. That's the nature of a human relationship. This was just the first time I recognized and felt us drifting together. That feeling is what I was looking for from parenthood. Feels really good.
The slack in my mind space has also allowed a lot of time to reflect on sleep training. I hope to put more of these down in the future, because there is so much baggage that goes along with sleep training you could write a book on it (which of course many have). Bottom line is, things got markedly better as soon as we started and have continued to improve since then.
This question is a rabbit hole down which you can go really, really deep. Did we really sleep train The Baby? Or was she just ready to sleep better? Is she really sleeping better, or did we just decide to stop agonizing and obsessing over her sleep? Did we really do it for her own good, or were our motivations more selfish? The truth, like most reality, is it's likely a combination of all of these. She is sleeping better, but I don't think about her sleep much anymore either. Obviously, good sleep is essential, so doing what we thought we needed to do to get her better sleep was for her benefit, but I'd be a big fat liar if I denied how important getting time for myself back has been. For now at least, I feel like I'm back on top of my life.