I always found the phrase “hey, you’re a dad again!” really weird. After all, it’s not like you stopped being a dad somewhere in between the births of child one and child two. You’ve been a dad the whole time.
Although, I guess “hey, you’re still a dad!” is kind of anti-climactic. Not only that, but had you not had the second child, wouldn’t you have still been a dad anyway? So why bother?
Of course, I say all of this because now that I’ve had my second child, the phrase makes complete sense to me. What I mean is, no, I didn’t stop being a dad…
…But I did stop being a dad specifically to a pissing, shitting, spitting-upping, crying, sleeping (awwww), tiny little blob of innocence. You know, a blank slate that I can ruin with information. At some point from the birth of baby one to the birth of baby two, I graduated from having to get up twenty-three times a night (whatever – dads, tell me it doesn’t feel like it) to essentially answering the non-stop “why” questions of a three-year-old.
From the observational: “Daddy, why do I have so much hair but you don’t have any?”
To the profound: “Why is a boy any different from me? Is it my hair?”
To the ludicrous: “Why is my hair caught in the car door?”
I miss having hair.
“Being a dad again” is super legit when looked at from this angle. I’ve heard some people refer to it with the old tried-and-true “it’s just like riding a bike”. Sure. It is. If by “it’s just like riding a bike” you mean to the extent that you can identify what a bike looks like and discern its primary function.
Oh, and also: your new bike has a penis. And. It. Will. Soak. You.
Additional and new quirks:
- This bike might have acid reflux
- This bike might always cry when awake and might stay awake for more than an hour if it’s half-past three in the morning
- This bike has a He-Man-like grip
And on and on. In other words, it’s not like riding a bike because the last one was a bike. This one is a Caterpillar rock crushing machine.
So, yeah, you remember some of the basics. Baby cries, I feed it. Or check the diaper. Or burp it. Or check the diaper again because he’s been up for two hours and it’s 2 AM and if he doesn’t get back to sleep within half an hour all he’s going to do is poop and pee again and if he does that then he’ll be hungry again and…
That stuff I remember.
Which is why I prefer “why” questions. Just in case my daughter was going to ask.
But there’s other stuff that I had completely forgotten. Like if any of the above doesn’t work, try a pacifier. (Incidentally, I don’t like how they taste). Sing to him. (Addie liked the singing… I don’t think he does). Swaddle him. (Totally easy when it’s 4:30AM and your eyes are half closed and you can’t tell a swaddling blanket from a soft tortilla).
Stress. Exhaustion. Insanity. Chaos. Messes.
The End Of Days!
I’d say that’s what is meant when someone refers to it as “being a dad again”.
But I don’t think it is.
There’s this other thing that happens. When the the crying has stopped, everyone has regained their respective breaths and little baby bicycle-Caterpillar-chaos-machine is wrapped in your arms, peacefully dreaming away as you both relax on the couch.
And then you see it – this little tiny baby smile. It’s very slight, but it’s there. Maybe he’s dreaming. Maybe he’s just plain content.
Maybe he just messed his diaper.
Diaper changes can wait. He’s happy.
And you’re a dad again.