Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Life As A New Father

Last week, I introduced my third son, Luigi, to the world (or at least to the people that read Sean's Ramblings). Today, I'm writing about my worries and challenges. I am 42 years old. I know that I seem quite hip and knowledgeable about pop culture, but it's true that I'm 42. I have friends my age with kids in junior high and high school and there are plenty of others my age with kids in college. When Luigi graduates from high school, I will be 60 or 61. We're probably looking at 65 or so when he graduates from college.* Basically, there's not going to be an early retirement and I'm going to be working for many years to come. Speaking of college, how does one expect to pay for college for three kids? Yes, I already started putting money into 529 plans, but tuition will probably be about $75K per year at the current pace. Athletic scholarships seem unlikely at best. Maybe academic scholarships? That's certainly not something I can count on. Even in the short term, I'm astonished at the costs of preschool, daycare, and before/after school programs. Let's just say that it's more than rent.

(I don't know why this stock photo makes me smile.)

I'm writing much of this post at 4:00 AM, so the tone may be different than much of my other writing. Tired writing is probably not my best writing though I did get a compliment from a college professor who once told me that he doesn't recommend writing a paper in one night and then handed me back the paper with an A- or B+ grade. Luigi has been awake for most of the past 2.5 hours. The doctors say he is a "fussy" baby. It seems like he is hungry all the time, and he freaks out when he wants to eat. Of course, then he is fussy if he doesn't burp and ends up spitting up which is unpleasant for all involved. I worry that something is wrong, but I have no idea what it could be. He's going to need surgery for a hernia in a few months once he gets a little bigger and stronger, but the doctors say that doesn't seem to impact the fussiness. So I worry about that too. He's too little for surgery even though it's apparently fairly common.

I don't remember if the older boys were fussy or when they started to sleep more regularly at night. I may have been in the exact same position and mindset 6 and 3 years ago and blocked this out. The difference now is with the new baby, there's not enough time or attention to go around. After Pedro Tulo was born, one of us could be with him while the other could be with The Moose. Zone defense (2 adults on 3 kids) is not nearly as effective as man-to-man. I know I'm always tired and not as patient as I should be. The Moose hasn't done a great job of listening at times and Pedro Tulo has had several accidents the last few weeks even though he's been potty trained for months. (No accidents in a week, knock on wood. Take that The Mighty, Mighty Bosstones!)

Weekends are so much harder than weekdays. During the week, the older boys are at school for 10 hours. The weekends can be challenging in finding things to do and keeping everyone happy especially since Luigi still isn't venturing outside the house. Pedro Tulo is attending a classmate's birthday party this weekend. We have no idea who this kid is, but we figure it's 2-3 hours where he can run around and play with others his age.

I understand that we're not the first to go through this. Most of this is probably first-world problem stuff as people have had three or more kids for generations with much fewer means. My grandparents and great-grandparents were immigrants or children of immigrants and didn't have much. I know I need to keep things in perspective. I also try to have the mindset of an NCAA basketball tournament team. Survive each day and advance to the next. (Two basketball references in one post? This has to be a first since the Kevin Pittsnogle days.)

So this is where I am. Luigi just finished a bottle and is sleeping in arms as I'm typing this post. This is the Luigi I love, calm and cuddly. I absolutely worry about him and his brothers, but that's being a parent. You just can't let the worries consume your life. I'm excited that Pedro Tulo is taking a field trip to a pumpkin patch this week. He's going to love it. The Moose enjoys school, and his teacher adores him. The boys and I are also excited for Halloween which is only a week away. Our neighborhood throws a party and the kids all run around in their costumes and eat. Just thinking about going the last few years makes me smile seeing The Moose interact with kids at his school and Pedro Tulo walking by himself for the first time.

I'm going to try to go back to sleep now since the alarm goes off in an hour! I know it's going to get better and easier but that's not happening right now.

* After writing this post, I learned that Billy Joel is a new father at the age of 68! I feel a little better now.


Melissa said...

Congratulations on Baby Luigi! You're doing great. The Boy needed to have that same hernia operation when he was a newborn -- he was 5 weeks old when it was done -- and all went fine. Doesn't stop the worrying, though.

Sean said...

Thanks Melissa! Although my post was a lot about worrying, I'm usually not the worrying type.