Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Father's Rambling Perspective

Hi everyone,

I know I don't post very often (or ever, I guess), but when Pamela (and I) started this blog, it was always our intention that I would also contribute. Work has been extremely busy and blah blah blah so I haven't been adding anything, but I have a couple moments now and something just happened that I think is worth sharing.

I failed.

It's hard to swallow that, being an achiever and generally successful at most of what I undertake.

It's also probably just a gloomy way of looking at the situation, as there really wasn't anything else I could have done to make things better. I guess I'll explain and all Pamela's loyal readers will be the judge...

Thursday nights there is an exercise class at 7:30 that Pamela likes to attend, and this particular evening she was also scheduled to speak at a Team in Training event beforehand. It would fall to me to get Julian ready for bed, feed him his nighttime bottle (which he generally takes without issue) and rock him to sleep. I've done this plenty of times in the past and wasn't concerned.

Pamela left as I was turning down the lights, etc. in his nursery - that's when things went downhill. He started fussing, which I assumed was due to his being hungry. The fussing turned to outright howling as soon as I presented him with the bottle, which he refused. Not good. I tried again, and still no dice. I squeezed a little of the breastmilk out so there could be no doubt of the bottle's contents, but he was completely unwilling to even consider it, howling ever louder. I gave up and stood up to walk around the room, which usually calms him, but that also did nothing.

Long story short, we did this for 30 minutes, and nothing I did had any effect whatsoever. Walking. Sitting. Different rooms. Light. Dark. Tried the bottle again at least ten times. Music. No music. Teething rings, toys, the animals, put him in the Bjorn... he would not stop crying.

Finally, I gave up and called Pamela, telling her that he would not take the bottle and she would need to feed him.

When she arrived home and I saw his reaction, I immediately realized two things: one, that there was nothing I could have done to make things better, and two, that I had failed nonetheless. As soon as I handed him to Pamela, teary eyed and red faced, he quieted and started smiling at me. When she came to give him back so I could say goodnight, he immediately started crying again until he was back with her. Not the best feeling in the world, let me tell you. I know he loves me, and 90% of the time he's so very excited to see me, but tonight was just not one of those times.

Anyway. Pamela is coming downstairs and Julian is off in dreamland, so I'll leave it here. Hope other new fathers (my friends Josh and soon to be dad Graham) can see this and know they're not alone when things like this happen.

Night all.


terri said...

This is certainly not failure! Julian is entering the stage where he realizes that his mother is his lifeline. Increasingly he will become unhappy with others, including grandparents and close friends, as you witnessed last weekend when he was just not happy with me. It's one of those "phases" that little ones go through . . . and this too shall pass. Don't blame yourself or your skills as a father. I know, first hand, you are a fantastic dad. Julian is very lucky to have you (and so am I).

Amy said...

It's difficult for us mothers as well, when our baby "rejects" his daddy in favor of mommy. I have a lot of guilt about that sometimes.

I'm sorry you feel like you failed. You didn't. From what I've read, you're a great father.

Trigie said...

You are not a failure! You are a daddy who did everything he could to help little Julian deal with his separation anxiety. Fortunately, Mommy was able to come back and ease his difficulty. It happens. All three of you will get through it. Of course, he loves you both tremendously. Hang in there!

belleshpgrl said...

It's not your fault you don't have lactating breasts. Soon you will have your own bonding experiences with him that Pamela can't be a part of. Or shouldn't, like talking to him about his first wet dream. Who wants to talk to his mom about that? You'll be his go-to guy then. Super, right?